Summer is the perfect time for salads especially garden salads. Whether it’s a bowl full of leafy greens with some grilled chicken or garden fresh veggies tossed with your favorite dressing, summer salads are quick, easy and refreshing dishes. They can be hearty enough to be called a meal or light enough to be served as your favorite side dish.
With summer in full swing and both tomato and zucchini season almost here, I wanted to share with you a light and refreshing summer salad made with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, onions and ricotta salata (the Italian version of Feta). These ingredients are all available throughout the year, but their flavors really peak during summer. It’s also a great salad for using up the abundance of seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs that we may find this time of year. Dressed in a light lemon vinaigrette this Tomato and Zucchini Salad with Ricotta Salad is sure to make a great addition to your summer table.
As far as getting this salad on the table there is really not much to do, but the prep work can be slightly tedious. You will want to halve the tomatoes which not only makes the tomatoes easier to eat, but it also helps flavor the salad as it releases some juice. Additionally, you you will need to slice the zucchini into thin rounds and the onion into thin slivers (at least that is how I prefer them). In the end however, the prep work you put in will be well worth the effort (in both flavor and presentation).
The only caution I have here on this salad is to go easy on the salt. The ricotta salata is salty by nature, so start with a small amount as you can always add more if needed.
The different combination of flavors in this dish really work well together. There is sweetness from the cherry tomatoes, saltiness from the cheese, fruitiness from the olive oil and a slight tang from the lemon juice, all these ingredients combined with the fresh basil really create a flavorful and aromatic dish.
Whether you pick these ingredients up at your supermarket, local farmers market or even your very own garden, the simple ingredients in this dish describe the most aromatic and quintessential flavors of summer with a hint of Italian cheesy goodness. So now that you’re ready to take on the flavors of summer, make this salad and let me know what you think. Stay cool my friends and enjoy!