Crystal Valley Blog

Scrummy Summer Salads!

POSTED July 21, 2020

We are hitting highs in the 90s friends, and you know what that means? Lots of swimming, iced tea and scrummy salad days! To help you find a new taste treat for this hot and sultry weather, we gathered together some of our favorite recipes in one place: veggie, pasta, grain and fruit salads for backyard barbecues, impromptu picnics or just sensational sides for grill-a-burger nights.

Pasta Pepperoncini Perfection

Inspired Taste published this mashup between a Greek and Italian pasta recipe last month and received an immediate five stars from five testers. Not only is it easy and quick, this recipe covers three of the five food groups – fats, dairy and complex carbs! You can watch the video for instruction or just follow the recipe using rotini (or whatever you like – penne, fusilli, farfalle – doesn’t matter!). The heartier shapes trap lots of yummy dressing and cheese – both parmesan and mozzarella). 

You can add an assortment of veggies: orange peppers, scallions, olives, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and even radish, carrots and cauliflower. The more color, the more flavor. The dressing uses red wine, champagne or white wine vinegar plus dried oregano, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of juice from the pepperoncini jar! Frankly 

If your tastes run more to the creamy side, here’s another highly-rated pasta salad from Carlsbad Cravings loaded with petite peas, bacon and smothered in lemon Dijon dressing (with parmesan and plenty of herbs and spices!). Be sure to check out the other pasta salads here – from Po’ Boy Shrimp Pasta Salad to Southwest Tortellini Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing!

Gimme Some Grain Salads

With a whopping 4.9 out of 5.0 stars, this personal Favorite Quinoa Salad from Cookie and Kate is a refreshing, crisp and delicious way to eat all nine essential amino acids! Quinoa is also high in protein, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin E! Whew, right? But don’t let all that healthiness turn you away from this tasty grains recipe. With fresh cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, chickpeas, fresh parsley and a garlicky olive oil and lemon dressing, you’ll be chiming in with the reviewers to rave about this gluten-free bowl of yumminess.

For 21 more quinoa salads, click over to Simply Quinoa for your grain of choice for a salad to suit you!

A Mediterranean-inspired grain salad from The Kitchn made with farro, roasted eggplant, caramelized onions and pine nuts, is another surefire sensation. Farro is a nutritious “ancient” grain, around for thousands of years and full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The caramelized onions add sweetness to this aromatic salad — with fresh and dried mint — plus white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a combination of red chile pepper, hot green chile (like serrano) and Aleppo pepper.

For 12 more grain salad recipes using brown and white rice, bulgur, cracked wheat and farro, check out thekitchn’s other summer salad concoctions from Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Cherries, to another Middle Easter, Tabbouleh.

Fave Fruit Salads

Another winner in the summer salad category is this crunchy, tangy, refreshing fruit and vegetable salad. From Kristin’s recipe collection at Dizzy, Busy, Hungry, this salad combines chopped cucumbers, strawberries, grapes, red bell pepper and basil leaves plus a tangy lime dressing. Topped with crunchy sunflower seeds, Kristin serves this salad on crisp iceberg lettuce leaves.

When it’s our turn to bring the fruit salad, we head to Costco and buy whatever we can find, chop it up, blend and serve. But some people are a little more intentional! Like a contributor to Taste of Home, whose Melon Berry Salad combines orange sections, blueberries, raspberries, cubed cantaloupe and watermelon and is laced with a creamy yogurt, coconut milk and orange juice dressing. There’s also a topping – sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted and added just before serving. Sounds a little like dessert!

For 39 more easy fruit salads for summer, check out Taste of Home’s collection – whether your palate prefers something like the avocado, mango and berry salad with tangerine vinaigrette, or more tropical like the pineapple, kiwi, mango and starfruit combo!

Some Kind of Summer in Crystal Valley

The pool, the park, the paths – they’re all open in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley. And the kitchens here – as well as the backyards – are perfect for cooking, grilling, eating and chilling during the summer. There’s never been a better time to buy a new home set in natural surroundings in this fast-growing Castle Rock community. So, visit one or all 16 models here — ranch and two-story designs — priced from the $300s from Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton. 


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