horiatiki3The minute the weather turns hot and humid, my food cravings change. I no longer want homemade soups and stews, and the comforting carb-filled foods of winter. I want salads!

Without a doubt, my very favorite, go-to summer salad is a Greek peasant salad, or Horiatiki. Unlike the Greek salad more frequently found in restaurants here in the U.S., the peasant salad has no lettuce. It’s just chunks of feta, tomatoes, and cucumbers (absolutely fresh and crispy are a must for me), and Greek olives.

I generally add some white beans to it for a bit of protein in addition to the feta. Many restaurants add peppers, and I’ve even seen beets in one restaurant, but I don’t add either to mine. When I had this salad in Greece, the feta was served in a big slab on top of the cucumbers and tomatoes. I like the feta in cubes throughout the salad, so do it that way instead.

A number of the recipes I’ve seen for Horiatiki call simply for a dressing of olive oil and oregano. That’s a bit heavy for me, so I generally mix in some red wine vinegar with the olive oil, and sometimes add some lemon to it.

Another favorite summer salad is quinoa and black bean salad. I saw someone make a variant of this on a cooking show years ago, and have been adapting it ever since. At this point I don’t even have a recipe, but this one at recipezaar is pretty close to what I do. No matter how I make it, this salad will always have quinoa, a can or two of black beans (well drained), tomatoes, and corn (missing from the recipezaar recipe). Sometimes I add cilantro, while other times I do fresh parsley. My dressing might be based in lime or lemon, depends on my mood.

I’ve recently become interested in pasta salads, and have been experimenting with recipes sent me by friends. So far, I’ve done an interesting — and very simple — salad with whole wheat shell pasta, tuna, celery, peas, and a dressing that’s half mayonnaise and half Russian dressing.

I long ago had a wonderful chicken salad recipe made with fruits — mangoes chief among them. Somehow, I managed to lose the recipe in one of my many moves. So, this summer I’m on a mission to recreate a delicious chicken salad with mangoes.

Do you have any favorite summer salads? If so, would you be willing to share?