“Welcome to the annual Crunchy  Summer Salad contest. Today we have some amazing amateur chefs presenting their version of the best summer salad,” said Cassie. “There are five principal categories of salads; green, vegetable, pasta, legumes or grains, meat, poultry or seafood, and fruit. Each provides nutritional benefits unique to its ingredients. Today’s salads can be a main dish on a hot day when you’re not up to spending a lot of time in the kitchen. All are using the first crop of this summer’s fruits and veggies and created to keep us healthy, hydrated, and satisfied. So, let’s get started; our first contestant is Kate. What are you preparing for us?”

“Hi Cassie, I love a tasty salad that excites the palate with its textures, flavor, and crunchiness, so I am making a Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad.”

Cassie nodded, “that sounds appetizing. What do you like about your salad?”

“Each of its ingredients, the radicchio, romaine lettuce, red onion, and celery, supply the crunch factor. The chickpeas are munchy, and the cherry tomatoes are tangy. I’m going to top it off with a savory Italian vinaigrette. This low-cal salad is delicious and chock full of fiber which is healthy for your digestive system and fills you up.”

“Good to know. Thanks, Kate. Next is Mike. What’s your salad?”

He smiled at Cassie, “I’m putting together a satisfying, crunchy Spring Panzanella. It originated in Tuscany and was created to use old bread. Carbs in bread are a healthy energy source, and iron which supports the work of our red blood cells. The other ingredients, asparagus, mustard greens, and radishes, are all in season now. They each contain vitamins A, C, and K, which have anti-cancer properties and support the immune system.”

“I’m looking forward to trying your salad, Mike. Hi Kamal, you’re using cabbage in your salad?”

“I am,” he continued chopping. “I am creating a mouthwatering crunchy Cabbage Tabbouleh. The onion and cabbage in my salad are both healthy sources of potassium, which provides cellular, muscle, and nerve support. The mint has weight loss benefits as it stimulates our digestive system, helping it absorb nutrients more efficiently. Bulgar is low-carb, whole grain wheat. It supports digestion, the immune system, and weight loss. I’ll drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice to bind it together.”

“That sounds scrumptious. Hi Vidya, of course, someone was going to have avocado as an ingredient, and it looks like you’re making a dressing with yours.”

Vidya laughed, “you can count on me to bring the avocado. I love it; avocado is so versatile. My creamy dressing is perfect for a dairy, soy, and nut-free  Crunchy Summer Salad. It will go well with the red cabbage, asparagus, radishes, and romaine hearts.”

“Sounds like you created a salad to go along with your salad dressing,” laughed Cassie. I’m looking forward to the results. Hi Emily, welcome to the contest. I see lots of cucumbers. Is that the main ingredient in your salad?”

“Thank you, Cassie. I have two main ingredients in my cooling, crunchy Cantaloupe, and Cucumber salad. Its deliciousness is in the combination of the two. I scrub my cucs well and leave their peel on because it is the most nutrient-dense part of the fruit. Sweet melon and crisp cucumber combined with heart-healthy basil and rich, tangy low-cal feta cheese is a savory first place winner!” declared Emily.

“I feel your enthusiasm and can’t wait to sample your salad. Our final contestant is Sam; wow, it looks like your salad is all about the leaves, lettuce, cabbage, and kale.”

“Hi Cassie, yes, my low-calorie Crunchy Summer Salad is seriously crunchy and delicious. It is loaded with fiber, minerals, and vitamins that support our digestive system. In addition to the red and green cabbage, baby spinach, and baby kale, it includes red onion, radish, carrots, and pumpkin seeds. My salad is so versatile you could eat one every day and add or subtract ingredients, such as exchanging pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds or using curly kale instead of the plain-leaf variety. I drizzle it with a homemade olive oil-based dressing with honey and balsamic vinegar for a tangy sweetness.”

“I am now officially hungry,” exclaimed Cassie. Let’s find out what our judges, Annie and LJ, have to say.”

LJ smiled at Cassie,” and the winner is….

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.



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