Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Rainbow Summer Salad #recipe by Leslie Budewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  Nothing says summer like a great big salad you can spoon up for days and not tire of. This one is bright and colorful and super simple, and the only cooking required is a few minutes to broil the peppers.

This is a great party and picnic salad. I adapted it, heavily, from a source that actually called for THREE cans of white beans. Make that much and you’ll be sharing with the neighborhood, tucking jam jars of the stuff in your friends’ hands or mailboxes. Do it quickly, though—in my experience, cooked or canned white beans keep about five days. I’ve given both the amounts for four servings, and the amounts for a crowd in brackets.

A good salad is a flexible salad. Add a poblano or two to the charred peppers if you like; omit the soppressata; stir in pickled jalapeno slices. Radicchio, which totally baffled the young bagger at the grocery store, can be bitter, but we like the flavor and it’s a nice compliment to the sweetness of the peppers. 

This is a great side salad or meal salad, maybe served on a bed of torn greens, with a chunk of fresh bread and a glass of crisp white wine or rose. 

Rainbow Summer Salad

serves four; amounts for a crowd in brackets

1 [3] large bell peppers, cored, halved, and seeded (use halves of different colors, if you can) 

1 [3] 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 

1-1/2 to 2 (4-5) ounces very thinly sliced soppressata, cut into very thin strips 

1 [3] cloves garlic, minced 

1-1/2 teaspoons [1-1/2 tablespoons] dried oregano 

½ [1] teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper 

dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons [1/4 cup] chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2/3 [2] cups radicchio, cut in 1/4-inch ribbons 

2 [6] tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons [4 tablespoons} sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon [1 tablespoon] lemon juice

Heat your broiler. Place your pepper halves, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, until charred on all sides, 10-12 minutes Leave on baking sheet to cool to the touch. When cool, use a paring knife to pull off the skins. Cut into thin strips and cut strips in half. 

In a large serving bowl, combine the beans, soppressata, bell peppers, garlic, oregano, salt, black pepper, optional red pepper, parsley, and raddichio. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Toss to combine. 

This salad can be eaten right away, but is even better if allowed to marinate an hour or two. 

Serves four [or a lot more]. 

What's your go-to summer salad?

CARRIED TO THE GRAVE AND OTHER STORIES: A Food Lovers' Village Mystery (May 2021 from Beyond the Page Publishing in paperback and ebook): 

Return to Montana’s Food Lovers’ Village with three-time Agatha Award winner Leslie Budewitz in this collection of five contemporary short mysteries and a historical novella, tales of secrets, envy, revenge, and murder, seasoned with humor, good food, and creative problem-solving.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by Leslie's website and join the mailing list for her seasonal newsletter. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. Very pretty, indeed.

  2. Looks great, Leslie! I live on salads during the long hot summers. Favorites are tabbouleh (with lots of lemon juice, tomatoes and cukes); any pasta, rice or potato salad, and I usually make tuna, chicken or shrimp salad about once a week. I look through my Pinterest board frequently for inspiration. But I must say I love making big bowls of cold food that we can eat on for a few days!

    1. Thanks, Lynn. Love tabbouleh! Love all your salad suggestions!