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Summer Salads - The Joy of Feta

With summer temperatures encouraging many restaurant and home chefs to reduce heat in the kitchen, no-cook meals like salads can provide welcome relief. The standard house salad of mixed greens might need a bit of a refresh to help diners beat the heat. Tangy, healthful feta cheese might be the key ingredient to give any salad new life.

Feta, a soft white cheese made in Greece from sheep and/or goat’s milk, is usually cut into blocks and sold in containers with brine at the grocery store. It is also available crumbled without brine but we prefer the former as it seems to last longer in the fridge.

While many cooks reach for the Parmigiano-Reggiano or Cheddar to add savory creaminess to a salad, feta cheese offers more than its tangy, salty flavor. Feta contains probiotics and vitamins A, B12 and K, folic acid, pantothenic acid, iron and magnesium. Additionally, feta has fewer calories and less fat than aged cheeses and feta’s calcium and phosphorus aid in bone health.

Here are two summer salads that are simple to make, tasty, healthy and keep the heat out of your kitchen.

Pear & Feta Salad
We love this salad for its combination of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. The tender components - mixed greens, pear and cheese - are complemented by the crunch of the bacon, raw onion and almonds. The dried cranberries add a sweet chewy element. Voila - all gastronomic aspects are covered in a simple salad!

Salad Ingredients:

  • Mixed baby greens
  • Bosc or red pear
  • Feta cheese
  • Dried cranberries
  • Crispy bacon
  • Vidalia onion
  • Slivered almonds (dry roasted in a pan first)

Simple Dressing:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Minced garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cucumber, Tomato & Feta Salad
This salad is as elegant and satisfying as it is simple. You can toss all the ingredients in a bowl or arrange on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and dried spices. To make this salad a little more hearty, chick peas are a nice addition. There is truly beauty in simplicity!

Ingredients:

  • Chopped or sliced cucumber
  • Tomato wedges
  • Feta cheese (crumbled)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Oregano, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper


Photo credit: Stacey Sears

Although you can enjoy these refreshing salads at any time of year, the fresh produce available during the summer months gives these dishes a cool edge to beat the heat.

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