The Recipe Gals: Refreshing salads to help you beat this heat

With the summer heat upon us, the Recipe Gals have a few cool salads to go along with whatever you are preparing for dinner.

A bean and corn salad, beet salad with spinach, cashews and goat cheese — and a honey-lemon dressing to boot, quinoa salad and a kale salad with a warm cranberry almond vinaigrette offer a variety of fresh, nutrient-rich and hearty dishes.

We hope these dishes become part of your recipe library and you enjoy them with family and friends.

Bean and corn salad

1 can shoepeg white sweet corn

1 can pinto beans

1 can black beans

1 small jar pimentos, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped ( white or red)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute

Drain and rinse corn and beans. Mix together with pimentos, celery, and onion. Mix together the oil, vinegar and sugar. Pour over bean mixture and stir together. Let sit overnight.

Hint: You can use other beans for example, black eyed peas, northern beans, kidney beans whatever you like to use. You also can swap out the apple cider vinegar for white vinegar. With the sugar, start out with small amounts according to your taste. You might not need a 1/4 cup of sugar. You just want a hint of sweet. This recipe is a gluten free recipe.

— Pam Rolley

Beet salad with spinach, cashews and goat cheese

This beet salad with spinach, cashews and goat cheese with honey, lemon and olive oil dressing is healthy and gluten free.

Servings: 4 people

Beet Salad

2 beets, cooked, sliced

4 oz baby spinach

1/2 cup cashews, roasted

2 oz goat cheese

Honey-lemon salad dressing

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed

In a salad bowl, combine baby spinach, sliced cooked beets, roasted cashews, and dried cranberries. (You can cook the beets by boiling them in water for about 20-30 minutes, letting them cool, peeling them, and then slicing them). Do not add goat cheese yet.

In a separate small bowl, combine salad dressing ingredients: olive oil, honey, lemon juice. Whisk until combined.

Pour the salad dressing over the beet salad, and mix. Do not add all of the salad dressing at once. Add just enough to coat the salad to your taste. Top your beet salad with crumbled goat cheese.

— Karen Sick

Kale salad with warm cranberry almond vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup dried cranberries

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

juice and zest of a half lemon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 5 ounce container of baby kale

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup crumbled, blue cheese, goat cheese, or feta

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute for at least 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Then add cranberries, red wine vinegar, honey, and lemon juice and zest, stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the kale with olive oil and an extra pinch of salt, and let it sit for 1 minute. Add in the cranberry/shallot mixture and almonds, and toss to combine. Serve topped with your choice of cheese.

Hint: This recipe is gluten free. Again, you can swap out the dried cranberries for dried cherries, blueberries. You can also use different nuts if you prefer. Walnuts or pecans are a nice option. I hope you find these two recipes refreshing during this hot and humid weather. It is nice to eat foods that are on the lighter side when we are dealing with the heat of summer enjoy!

— Pam Rolley

Quinoa salad

This quinoa salad is a delicious side dish or enjoy it as a light main meal. It is nutritious, full of flavor and will suit many people with specific dietary requirements as it is gluten-free.

Servings: 8 people


1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh basil sliced thin

3 spring onions/scallions, finely sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup diced English cucumber, diced

1 12 oz. container of fresh mozzarella balls, quartered


3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse well under cold, running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.

Add 1 1/2 cups of broth to a medium-size saucepan. Add the quinoa. Over medium-high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes, until the seeds are tender. When they are cooked you will notice that they have little curly “tails”.

Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then turn it into a bowl and leave to cool completely.

Add the finely sliced basil, spring onions/scallions, quartered tomatoes, diced cucumber, and quartered mozzarella balls to the quinoa.

Mix the dressing olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour over salad gently tossing the ingredients together.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper as required. The salad should have a bright, lemony flavor but adjust it to your personal taste.

Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

— Karen Sick

The Recipe Gals, Pam Rolley and Karen Sick, together have more than 60 years’ experience as nutritionists in the public school and university settings. You’ll find their delicious offerings every other week in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette’s section, The Taste.


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