Apple, Blueberry, Bean, Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese 苹果蓝莓黄瓜杂豆沙拉

This summer, I made more salads than any other last summer(s). Not because it was unusually hot (it is always hot in summer); but because I was unusually "lazy" - looking for ways to make quick and easy meals out of salads.  The type of salad which is "made-ahead-instant-the-next" and importantly, able to stand alone as a meal.

With a basic bean salad, build on it by adding more greens (e.g. broccoli, lettuce, arugula, cucumber, avocado) whenever possible, and throwing in seasonal fruits such as blueberries and stone-fruits e.g. nectarines and peaches. Towards end of summer, start thinking about organic apples for the added crunch (and its health benefits of course!). Call it shoulder-season salad, or summer-fall salad.

Look at these other fruit-inspired side-salads e.g. Blackberry, Cucumber, Radish, Orange Salad and Cucumber, Carrot, Dried Mulberry Salad-Pickle.

Why "made-ahead and instant the next"? The bean salad can be prepared the night before, store/chill in the fridge and the next day, add the freshly prepared greens, and carbs (the fastest one for me is whole-wheat couscous).

An instant healthy lunch can be put together in no time. It is also a balanced meal with vegetables (fiber), beans, egg and cheese (protein) and pasta/couscous (carbs).

Apple, Blueberry, Bean, Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese  苹果蓝莓黄瓜杂豆沙拉
Make ahead: Prepare bean salad with canned beans (rinsed and drained), minced red onions, diced tomatoes plus basic salad dressing: extra-virgin olive oil-apple cider vinegar-minced garlic-cilantro-salt and pepper. Store/chill in the fridge, overnight.

Instant the next: Add boiling water to whole-wheat instant couscous. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then cool to room-temperature. Alternatively, you can also use cooked pasta (just remember to cool it down to room-temperature)

Meanwhile, finely dice cucumber and apples, add in to make-ahead salad, squeeze of lemon and add fresh herbs to freshen up everything, top with feta cheese. Serve with hard-boiled egg and/or avocado.

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