Creamy Potato Salad with Cashew Dressing and Fresh Basil

Creamy Potato Salad with Cashew Dressing and Fresh Basil

Potato salads are well loved favorites anytime of year, but I think especially during the hot summer months when most of us don't feel like fussing too much over a hot stove. In addition, they are portable and easily transported to potlucks, barbecues or packed for a picnic. The advantage this particular creamy potato salad has for taking along for a gathering is that it's dairy-free, so it won't spoil in the heat, especially if packed into a cooler.

I originally was going to go with an oil-based dressing for this salad, but instead went with cashews for a burst of protein. The result was a creamy dressing with some olive oil, zesty fresh lemon juice, nutritional yeast for a bit of cheesy flavor, some almond milk to thin it out, some zingy mustard and fresh herbs. Combine this dressing with baby potatoes, fresh peas, plump and salty Kalamata olives and freshly torn fragrant basil leaves. You end up with a refreshing and filling salad for any occasion. I assure you the mayonnaise won't be missed.

The only complaint from those who got to try the salad — "you should have doubled the recipe"!

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Broccoli and Chickpea Rice Salad

Broccoli and Chickpea Rice Salad

It's been a very hot summer thus far, so salads have been appearing more often than not on the table. This earthy summer salad has everything you need for a complete meal. Lightly sautéed robust green broccoli florets, plump buttery soft chickpeas for protein, and nutty brown rice and sliced almonds to fill it out. I dressed it up with zesty dressing of lemon juice, pineapple juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, a bit of garlic and tamari.

It's a snap to make up and substantial while not too taxing on the digestive system or the cooks patience — it's pretty common for our appetites to melt away along with our desire to cook anything fancy in the heat and humidity. But easy never means bland — just try this salad and see what I mean.

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Cherry Coconut Milk Smoothie

Cherry Smoothie

Breakfast is an important meal of the day as it provides the necessary nutrients and fuel to get us going in the morning. I have never been a big breakfast person though, so instead I often have a power-packed smoothie with fruit, almond milk, sometimes a bit of protein powder and various other delights.

This smoothie might just be one of the tastiest yet. Cherries are coming into season here and that means they are bursting with flavor and affordable too. Of course, pitting cherries is not my favorite activity, but it's well worth the effort when you have a bowl of glistening red cherries to use however you please. They star here in a creamy beverage with coconut milk, some almond milk, frozen banana and a dash of vanilla. Apart from a blender, that is all you need.

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Summery Tomato Soup with Pasta and Chickpeas

Summer Tomato Soup with Pasta and Chickpeas

I've called this recipe summery not only because it is easy to make and satisfying without being too filling — if you resist the temptation to go for a second bowl — but because it has a fresh colorful vibrancy in taste and appearance that comes from cooking with fresh herbs from my garden and fresh local summer produce. While salads are often preferred during the hot months, I enjoy soups all year round. This also happens to be a new favorite vegetable soup and I'm certain this will be a staple on the menu, no matter the time of year.

The texture of this soup is phenomenal. Each bite is a different taste experience. Tangy tomatoes make for a lightly spiced and herby broth, and the buttery soft chickpeas, along with some quinoa pasta, fresh garden peas that pop in your mouth, and some diced carrot make up the rest of the bowl along with the fresh herbs. My only regret is that I did not double the recipe as it makes for a nice lunch or starter or side for dinner. Serve it up with some crusty bread if you like, but I enjoyed the soup just as is — it's that good.

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