JOPLIN, Mo. —
What's better than a fresh, crisp, cool salad on a warm summer day? With all the delicious varieties of summer produce in season, making a fresh salad from locally grown produce is a summertime must.
An array of produce -- including lettuces, mint, strawberries and red onions -- is currently in season, and it's easier than ever to prepare fresh and healthy salads.
Local farmers markets are loaded with varieties of lettuce such as green and red oak leaf lettuce, romaine, butter lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce, bibb and frisee lettuce.
Susan Pittman, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, is one of several experts serving as a market lady at the Webb City market.
The Market Lady project celebrates the fresh produce grown locally in Southwest Missouri. As a dietitian, Pittman is an advocate for eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
"The wonderful part of salads is that they can be individualized for a person's taste, or what vegetables are available at the market," Pittman said.
"A salad is a great way to be creative in finding different combinations of vegetables that provide a variety of texture and flavors. But sometimes the most important aspect of creating a salad is to make it pretty. So find a variety of colorful vegetables that complement one another to make an eye-appealing mix. The deep-colored vegetables that are dark green, red, yellow and orange provide antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body."
There are infinite possibilities for creating fresh summer salads. Additions such as radishes and sugar snap peas -- both of which are now in season -- can be a great addition to a salad. Including in-season berries can add a bright pop of color to your summer salad, too.
Lettuce medley salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Start to finish: 10 min
1 pint strawberries, sliced
4 cups variety of lettuces
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped in half
1 red onion, diced
Fresh mint leaves, torn
Raspberry vinaigrette dressing (See recipe below)
Feta cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, add the strawberries, lettuce, raisins, olives, pine nuts, red onions and mint. Top with dressing and feta cheese.