Sweet sweet summer and all the wonderful local produce that comes along with it. With such a short growing season in Manitoba, I really appreciate and savour our local produce. I find farmers’ markets very inspiring; I love seeing producers so passionate about what they have grown and conversely, people so passionate about buying local goods. There’s always a sense of liveliness, connection, and community…all things I embrace.

Last Saturday I woke up bright and early to make the trek to St. Norbert’s Farmers’ Market. I always visit all the vendors, quickly surveying which stall has the best selection of the various items I intend to purchase, before making my choices. And, of course, there’s always a few items not on my list that make their way into my shopping bags (like the luscious lime basil displayed by one vendor..yum!!).  While I was picking all my favourite veggies, I began envisioning this vibrant salad. I’m proud to say that all of the fresh ingredients in this salad are Manitoba grown and oh so tasty.

Beets, peas, radishes, cucumber, butter lettuce, mint, basil… how could you go wrong? I needed to use up two amazing herbs, basil and mint; hence, the dressing for this salad was born and was so ready to be paired with this summer salad. Basil and mint actually go quite wonderfully together. The simplicity of these raw veggies combined with this full-flavoured zesty dressing was magic. You will have to try it for yourself.

I enjoyed this colourful salad with a side of leftover BC pink wild salmon, while relaxing outside under a canopy of trees shading me from the hot sun. Sigh. Summer please don’t leave, I am adoring you way too much.

So, if you’re heading to a farmers’ market or vegetable stand this weekend definitely stock up accordingly to make this delicious summer salad.

Ciao,

Sarah

Early Summer Salad + Zesty Basil & Mint Dressing

Servings: 4-6
Prep/Cook Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Salad:
1 cup peas, podded
1 medium cucumber (about 1 cup)
5-6 radish, thinly sliced
1 yellow beet, thinly sliced
1 red beet, thinly sliced
2 cups butter lettuce, or lettuce of your choice
Some mint leaves, for garnish

Dressing:
Yield:  1 1/4 cups
Small Handful of mint
Small Handful of basil
Small bunch of chives, or 3 green onions, roughly chopped
1 small clove garlic, roughly minced
1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine vinegar
1/2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp  (15 ml) dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) honey
1 tbsp (15 ml) water
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) kosher salt (or to taste)
A few generous grindings of black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Salad:
Arrange all of the vegetables in a serving bowl. (I used a mandoline to slice the vegetables)

Dressing:
Combine and blend all ingredients until smooth.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss. Note: you will have some leftover dressing to use up over the week.