One of the many things I love about summer is having a garden. Granted, my garden is only a 4’x4′ self-made garden box, but it works for our tiny suburban back yard. Last night I was talking with my neighbor Bethany who planted several items in planters and like us, had several items grow like crazy and others that haven’t done much at all. (Bethany has a bumper crop of basil, and I had only two small sprigs that haven’t grown more than two inches. I’ve had a decent amount of tomatoes, yet the squirls have got most of hers.) Between Bethany’s basil and my tomatoes, we were both happily willing to trade one for another. I love it!!
My experience with Bethany, it not unlike the millions of other neighbors across our country. I would like to think that having a garden provides ample opportunity to build our communities from the inside out. It gives us a great excuse to talk with the lady down the street with beautiful mums, or the retired gentleman that has amazing heirloom tomatoes year after year. Gardening, for many people, is a passion – get to know those neighbors, and share your love of growing new and wonderful things. You may after all yield more than just vegetables, you might find a new friendship!
Enjoy my recipe for Garden Salad with Pesto Grilled Chicken. Its perfect for a summer lunch or dinner and makes plenty to share with your neighbors and new friends.
Garden Salad with Pesto Grilled Chicken
1 5.5 oz bag of salad mix (or 1 large head of your favorite lettuce)
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
8 oz. grape tomatoes
1/2 large green bell pepper, washed and sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, washed and sliced
2 scallions, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled
1 mango, peeled and cut into strips
1 can black beans
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar prepared pesto (found near the pasta sauce)
Dressing and Croutons to top salad
In a resealable container, add your chicken and pesto sauce. Marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Grill at medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side. Discard any remaining pesto marinade. Let chicken rest for a few minutes, then slice.
Wash all vegetables. Using your largest salad bowl, put in your salad/lettuce mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, scallions, carrot, mango, and black beans. Give these a nice toss. Plate salad and top with the grilled chicken.
Serve with your favorite dressing and croutons.
Let me know how you like the salad, and better yet, let me know of your summer garden triumphs that bring you closer together with your neighbors and community.
Blessings for a beautiful summer,