Serve This Summer Spinach Salad When It’s Too Hot For Real Cooking

The temperature has been steadily rising here in my state of Oregon with the highs sometimes hitting 95-degrees. Like many homes, we don’t have central air conditioning, so I avoid using the oven or stove top whenever I can. We still need to eat, though, so what do I do? I make this spinach salad that has a mix of flavors and textures all perfect for sweltering summer evenings. Since it’s a salad, specific measurements aren’t really necessary. Here’s what I start with when making salads for four people: 

One container of pre-washed baby spinach

One pint of fresh blueberries

One generous handful of pecan halves

Deli chicken slices or cold leftover cooked + shredded chicken

Each person gets a generous serving of spinach. Toss in blueberries, pecans, and chicken. The combination of blueberries and pecans does wonders to spinach, which I usually don’t like raw. Any bitterness from the green is masked by the berry’s sweetness and pecan’s nutty, natural roasted flavor. Adding chicken makes this salad more of a meal and gives you a serving of protein.

To serve, add a spoonful of good bleu cheese dressing. I like the kinds that have a few chunks in them. If you don’t like bleu cheese, you can use ranch instead. You can also substitute other nuts for pecans like walnuts or almonds. If you really like a good crunch to your salad, I bet a sprinkle of sunflower seeds would be amazing, too. That versatility is what makes this salad so great!

Last week, it was still around 90-degrees at 6:00 pm, and this salad let me eat well without turning a single knob on my stove. I sat on my couch, fan blasting away, and gobbled up my greens with a cold, crisp peach-apple Cider Boys close at hand. If you find yourself facing a heatwave anytime soon, consider letting this summer spinach salad save the day.