Grazing with Gary

Summer salads and slaw

By: Gary Gilligan
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Well, I am not ready to give up on summer yet. Pay no attention to the stores piled with Halloween candy, decorations and commercials on TV have turned to fall and Halloween. Today we offer a few more summer salads that will impress your friends and neighbors. Remember to follow us on Facebook.

Pearl Barley and Feta Salad
This summer salad is bursting with fresh ingredients including cherry tomatoes and cucumber all topped off with a zingy lemon and mint dressing.


  • 10.5 ounces pearl barley cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1/2 cucumber chopped
  • 7 ounces cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 7 ounces feta crumbled
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • bunch parsley
  • bunch mint leaves


  1. Place all of the dressing ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Toss together all the salad ingredients with the dressing and serve


Lemon Basil Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 Turkish cucumbers, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful baby arugula (optional, or substitute with baby spinach)

Lemon Basil Dressing:

  • 1 cup basil (packed down tight, about 2 ounces)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • zest from one medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • Optional additions: cheese (goat, feta, shaved pecorino or Parmesan), seeds, micro greens, chickpeas


  1. Cook orzo in generously salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water, until cooled.
  2. Place basil, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse repeated until uniformly chopped. Add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pulse a couple more times, until combined, but not smooth.
  3. Place cooled orzo into a bowl and toss with the flavorful basil lemon sauce. Add any additions you like — arugula, cucumber, chickpeas, snap peas, feta, asparagus, or shrimp and toss (see notes).
  4. Orzo will soak up much of the salt after it sits, so make sure to taste for salt right before serving. I’ll usually add another ¼ teaspoon. Adjust lemon adding more to taste.


Asian Slaw
This easy Asian slaw recipe crunchy and tangy. Cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and green onions are tossed in a delicious sesame vinaigrette.


  • 6 cups Napa cabbage (shredded and loosely packed; roughly 1/2 a head)
  • 1 carrot (shredded)
  • 2 bell peppers (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup green onions (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Sesame Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Shake together sesame dressing.
  2. Toss all salad ingredients in the dressing.
  3. Serve immediately.
  4. To prep ahead, veggies may be chopped up to four days ahead. Keep separate from dressing until just prior to serving