A few years ago, my sister and I were walking out of a spa visit in Harvard Square when we happened upon a farmer’s market. We both oohed and aahed over the tomatoes and other wonderful items on display, and she suggested that I put together some of the items to make a panzanella.

Panzanella???, I responded. She then went on to explain that it’s a bread salad that can be used to showcase some of the wonderful seasonal items you can get during the summertime. Of course, with kiddos that love bread, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese, this is a great dish all year ’round. You can use this as a light entrée or as a side dish, and it’s easy enough to make in bulk to have as a side for parties. It’s also easily scalable; if you don’t want a lot, just get a smaller bread and half everything else (one pint of cherry tomatoes instead of a quart, 1/2 lb of mozzarella instead of a full pound, etc.).

Note also that you can substitute chopped tomatoes for the cherry tomatoes and cubed mozzarella cheese for the mozzarella pearls; I use them because they’re time-savers. For the cherry tomatoes, I strongly recommend either doing this when they’re in season or getting some of the NatureSweet ones; flavorless cherry tomatoes do nothing but add color to the dish, so you want ones with flavor.

Given that the flavors here all pretty much stand on their own, also make sure that you’re using an olive oil that you really LIKE. We tend to use Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if that’s any help.


OM NOM all year long, but especially in the summertime!

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 0! None! Zilch! (yeay)

Serves: 6 as a main dish, more as a side dish


1 loaf fresh ciabatta bread (or other similarly large, crusty bread)

2 pints (1 quart) cherry tomatoes (or 4-5 large tomatoes, cubed in 1/2″ cubes)

1 english cucumber

1 lb mozzarella pearls (or 1 lb mozzarella, cubed in 1/2″ cubes)

8-10 leaves fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Make it Happen

1. Chop the bread into roughly 1/2″ cubes. Place them in a large serving bowl.

2. Wash the cherry tomatoes and dry them carefully. (I use a paper towel). Add the dry tomatoes to the bread and stir to combine. (Drying them prevents them from turning the bread into a soggy mess.)

3. Wash and chop the cucumber into 1/4 – 1/2″ cubes. Add them to the bowl and stir to combine.

4. Separate the mozzarella pearls and add them to the serving bowl, stirring to combine.

5. Wash, dry and roughly chop the basil leaves until they are in no more than 1/4″ pieces. Add them to the serving bowl and stir to combine.

6. Drizzle some of the olive oil over top of the mixture and stir to combine; add the remainder of the oil and stir to combine further.

{At this point, you can season further and serve or cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator, to bring out at a later point in the day. This is a perfect item to prepare in advance of a party. If you want to do most of the prep in advance of a big meal without taking up space in the fridge, simply move the mozzarella to the LAST step.}

Edamame Salad

There are times when you just need a go-to side dish for a party, whether you’re hosting or merely bringing. This is just one of those dishes, and it has the added benefit of being vegan – which means it can go for just about any crowd. It’s also possible that this is a gluten-free dish, but don’t quote me on that; I’m not an expert on gluten-free dieting. At least upon first glance on the mighty interwebs, it looks as though it may just be.

I’m also in love with this dish because it’s stupid-easy to make and it’s best made in advance of a party, which also takes some of the pressure off trying to make EVERYTHING the day of. For regular lunch/dinnertime eating, I’d recommend just halving the recipe, or (what we often do) making the full recipe and taking leftovers as a side for lunches.


Edamame Salad

Simple + Tasty = WIN

Prep time: 10 min. (+ overnight sitting in fridge)
Serves: 8

Salad Ingredients
1 lb frozen shelled edamame
3 cups frozen corn
1 (15 or 19oz) can black beans
2-3 small shallots or 1/2 cup red onion, chopped finely
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb parsley
1 Tb marjoram
1 Tb basil

Dressing Ingredients
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tb dijon mustard
1 Tb olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Make it Happen
1. Rinse and drain the edamame. Make sure to shake the colander well to release any extra water. Place the edamame in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the corn to the mixing bowl.
3. Rinse and drain the black beans; add to the mixing bowl.
4. Add the shallots, garlic and herbs to the bowl. Stir well to blend the ingredients.
5. In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing by adding all five ingredients to the bowl and stirring quickly until all dressing ingredients are mixed.
6. Add the dressing to the mixing bowl with the salad and stir well to coat the salad with the dressing.
7. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.


  • This salad can be prepared same-day IF the edamame and corn are well thawed so that they’re not completely frozen. However, the dressing gains a little strength & oomph by being left to sit overnight, so preparing the night before is preferable. If you want to throw it together the same day you’re eating it, I recommend putting the frozen corn and edamame into the refrigerator the day before, so they can thaw before you construct the salad.
  • You can substitute fresh herbs for the dried ones noted above, but if you do make sure that you chop finely.

Root Vegetable Chips

A number of years ago, I stumbled across Terra Chips at a grocery store and realized I’d found something BRILLIANT AND WONDERFUL that I couldn’t afford to eat on a regular basis. When we got potatoes, turnips and beets in this past Friday’s veggie box, the first thought that came into my head was: I MUST MAKE MY OWN TERRA CHIPS. At first, dh was totally on board. Then we sorta ran out of time and he was completely against it. Still, I managed to have my way…and it was a good thing I got what I wanted, because these turned out SO NICELY.

We also learned, really quite by accident, that we were slightly off in our assessment of the potatoes; turns out they were purple potatoes – a fact we didn’t discover until we put them in the food processor and there was suddenly purple juice in the bowl. Needless to say, purple potato chips >> potato chips. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE PURPLE. Of course.

Now, this recipe does call for the use of a food processor. If you don’t have one, or if you don’t have a slicing blade and can’t acquire one, this can be done with a mandoline or similar slicing tool. I wouldn’t recommend doing the slicing by hand…the equipment is needed to make the slices a relatively even, consistent thickness (in a short amount of time).


Root Vegetable Chips

nom *crunch* nom *crunch*


Prep Time: 20-25 mins

Cooking Time: 30-35 mins

Serves: up to 3 people, fewer is a distinct possibility



3-4 small or medium-sized purple potatoes

1 bunch small turnips, greens removed

1 bunch red beets, greens removed

2 Tb canola oil, divided into three 2 tsp servings

salt, to taste


Make it Happen

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Wash the potatoes, turnips and beets. Peel the turnips and beets, set aside.

3. Put your slicing blade into a food processor and add the turnips. Pulse until all of the turnips are thinly sliced.

4. Place the turnips into a bowl and toss by hand with 2 tsp of canola oil.

5. Place the turnips onto a large cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, in a single layer.

6. Repeat steps 3-5 with the potatoes, then the beets. Make sure to rinse the food processor parts immediately following the slicing of the beets, to keep from staining the plastic.

7. This process should probably cover two large cookie sheets (one for the potatoes and one shared by the turnips and beets).

8. Place the cookie sheets into the oven, on separate racks, and bake for about 30 minutes.

9. When the chips are cooked to your desired amount of doneness, remove them from the trays with a spatula and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle a small amount of salt on top and toss to coat lightly.

NOTE: the turnips and beets will be a little softer than the potatoes and may not be crisp after 30 minutes. If you want to ensure crispness of the turnips and beets, I recommend slicing them thinner than the potatoes and/or putting the sheet with the turnips and beets into the oven about 5 minutes before the one with the potatoes.