Oh, summer. Sometimes it’s 100 degrees and humid and you have a mysterious insect bite/rash on your ankle (hint: last week). And sometimes it’s perfect.

This weekend I struck gold. My family hosted cousins for a backyard picnic complete with late afternoon breezes, red wine, and tales of Italian relatives growing figs in North Providence, R.I. (it can be done!). Best of all, an early visit to the farmer’s market inspired many delicious dishes for the evening, all of which were light, fresh, and reflective of the summer season. You really can’t ask for more.

It all started in the morning when my mom and I shopped the town farmer’s market. Asparagus had never been part of the dinner equation, but who could resist these beauties?

These green asparagus tasted delicious with a quick grill on the barbecue. With just a hint of char, the stalks retained their crisp, juicy bite. Do not underestimate freshly-grown asparagus. When I was little, these grew wild behind our house. I’ve loved them ever since.

Also at the market: ruby red radishes. I was tasked with creating an interesting salad to share for the evening, and decided to go with quinoa, my personal favorite. As a vegan, I often seek out this protein-packed seed — it cooks like a grain and really satisfies. A quick survey of the kitchen revealed ripe avocados and edamame I’ve been itching to use, so I threw it together into a delicious salad, complete with a drizzle of homemade lime dressing.

Quinoa, Radish, Avocado & Edamame Salad with a Lime Dressing

1.5 cups dry quinoa

4-5 small radishes, chopped

1 ripe avocado

1 cup frozen edamame

1 lime

Olive oil & salt

To start, prepare the quinoa according to the instructions on whatever box it came in — the general rule of thumb is 2 cups water for every cup quinoa. Once all the water is absorbed and the grain cooked, fluff that pot o’ quinoa with a fork and put it in the fridge to cool for at least half an hour.

While the quinoa is cooling, cook your edamame in a pot of salted, boiling water. Important Note! Do this only briefly, and dunk them in cold water immediately afterwards so they don’t get mushy — the salad relies on the combination of crisp textures. The satisfying pop of the edamame is key.

When the quinoa is cooled, toss in the edamame. Add the chopped radishes.

Make a quick lime dressing: the juice of 1 lime, a splash of olive oil and salt to taste. Drizzle over the whole thing. I didn’t add any this time, but I think a light addition of cumin to the dressing would also work really well.

Toss the avocado on top and serve — easy!

And just because I can’t help myself: here’s the baguette from Provencal bakery that we also purchased from the farmer’s market. An all-around tasty complement to the entire meal, with a beautiful knotted and cracked-top crust.

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