Um, excuse me? Where did Summer go? I mean, seriously! Just one minute ago it was… and now it’s.. holy crap!

This happens every. single. year.

The funny thing is that I kind of hate summer, especially in New York City. Don’t get me wrong, it has it’s perks (concerts in the park, ice cream, long walks, ice cream, drinking on the terrace, garden seating at restaurants… ice cream) but the intense heat and humidity mixed with seemingly never-ending concrete makes this particular season (in this particular city, especially) almost unbearable.

It also makes turning the oven on seem like a distant memory.

Summertime is the best time to scour the markets for deliciously ripe fruits and vegetables, which makes for the perfect time to throw together amaaazing salads. I’ve been dying to share this recipe, because it is seriously the most amazing salad I have ever made.

Seriously.

This comes from the food bloggers over at Big Girls, Small Kitchen, fellow NYC foodies that cook up a storm whenever they can find the time…plus, they are extremely vegetarian-friendly to boot! This recipe does require you to turn the oven on, but only for 10 minutes and I swear you will you thank me for making you do it afterwards.  (Two words: cornbread croutons.)

Cornbread croutons, perfect addition to any salad.

I have made this delicious salad on many occasions and I’m pretty sure I’ve finally tweaked it to exactly the way my taste buds prefer. Try it. Tweak it. Love it. You won’t regret taking the time to make this bad boy, I promise!

Colorful Summertime Salad (with a kick!)

adapted from BGSK

3-4 cups fresh greens

1/2 cup corn (frozen is fine, just defrost)

2 scallions, light green parts only, chopped

1-2 avocados, depending on how much you dig ‘em

1 each of red, yellow and orange pepper, sliced thin like matchsticks

3-4 slices jalepeño from a can, diced

1/2 tomato, diced, or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup fresh cilantro, diced

3 thick slices of store-bought cornbread (I used

¼ cup jalepeño jack cheese, shredded

Tomato-cilantro dressing (see below)

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First start by making the cilantro dressing:

Tomato Cilantro Dressing

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped

1 small clove garlic, minced

juice from 1/2 a lemon

dash cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 tablespoon agave nectar of 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup canned tomatoes, preferably fire roasted

1 tablespoon olive oil

In a blender or mini food processor, combine the cilantro, salt, scallions, lemon juice, cayenne, and yogurt. Blend until smooth, adding 3-4 tablespoons of water as needed. Put in the sweetener and the tomatoes, and continue to blend until very smooth (the mixture will turn a balsamic-vinaigrette-type brown). With the motor going, slowly add the olive oil. Taste for salt. Keep covered in the refrigerator until serving.

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Next up, cornbread!

Slice the cornbread into 1-inch squares. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and toast the bread chunks for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and place back into the oven until melted. Remove and set aside.

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Final Step: ASSEMBLY!

Cut the avocados into large chunks and toss carefully with a few spoonfuls of the dressing to prevent browning.

Arrange the greens in a bowl with the corn, scallions, avocado, pepper, jalepeño, tomato, and cilantro artfully arranged on top. Add the warm or room-temperature croutons. Sprinkle with the dressing and toss just before serving.

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