Obviously running a site about food and kids means I’m slightly biased but it feels like everyone I know is inspired to be in the kitchen these days. After a long dry spell without many guest posts, our in-boxes are jammed with the coolest recipes from our fantastic community of parents. It’s easy to be full of great meal ideas when the markets and stores are full of such great local produce. The only splotch in the pretty picture I’m painting here is the heat. The vegetables filling up my fridge want me to cook up a storm. The heat wants me to have a popsicle for dinner.
My compromise? Salad for dinner. I’m not talking about a little green side salad. I mean a salad that’s a meal. We’ve been making lots of them on the site lately but Salad Nicoise is one of my favourites. It’s great for a weekend lunch or an easy weekday dinner. So easy to make – I bet you have half of the ingredients right now. You can make this dish with a grilled piece of fresh tuna – and that’s delish – but you can also make it more simply with canned tuna. You can serve this while the green beans and potatoes are warm or serve the whole thing at room temperature.
When I went on my inaugural trip to buy groceries at Walmart, the salad options were what surprised me the most. When you think of shopping at Walmart, you think of stocking up on paper towel, laundry soap and maybe some packaged foods. Or at least that was my impression before actually going. But the selection of fresh produce at its 143 Supercentres across Canada is extensive. I picked up little red potatoes, slender green beans, peppers, tomatoes, berries and lettuce. Everything I needed for my Nicoise and then some. The prices are extremely competitive – as you’d expect – particularly with the berries, which are usually so pricey.
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1 head of lettuce (I like Boston but a salad mix would work, too)
1 can tuna (I like the Italian canned tuna but you could use something lighter)
8 small red potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
2 handfuls of green beans, washed and trimmed
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup black olives, pitted
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place your potatoes in the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the trimmed green beans to the pot for another 3 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Drain well and set aside.
Wash and spin your salad greens. Tear or chop into bite sized pieces. Toss the greens in a bit of salad dressing, coating them lightly.
Spread your dressed greens on a platter. Arrange your ingredients in small mounds, tuna in the middle (broken up into chunks), beans together, potatoes together, olives together etc. Drizzle salad dressing over (unless you have sauce-averse children in which case people can dress their own).