This summer, you’re probably doing something intense–interning at a high-profile company (or two) in a sweet city, backpacking through foreign lands, doing a triathlon–something like that.

But I still think of summer as a time spent largely lounging on couches and beach chairs, each day blending into the next to form a deliciously blurry haze. My summers aren’t exactly like that anymore, but I’ve found the perfect food metaphor to capture the same idea.

This is summer in a salad: It’s got avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers–the ultimate refreshing summer produce–all hanging out together, and the longest part of the recipe is the part where both you and the veggies are literally just sitting around doing nothing. Through a process called “maceration,” the salt- and sugar-coated vegetables end up soaking in their own juices, and the result is a blended liquid mixture of fresh, vibrant flavor. Then, you pour and eat. Minimum effort, maximum reward. You’ve just concocted the ethos of summer in a Ziploc freezer bag.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Wait Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 4

2 cucumbers, peeled
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
2 small tomatoes
24 sprigs cilantro
¼ cup peeled ginger
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1.  Chop cucumbers, avocados, tomatoes, ginger and 1/4 cup cilantro (if desired). Lay a large knife flat on top of garlic cloves and use the palm of your hand to lightly smash each clove.

2.  In a large Ziploc freezer bag, combine 24 cilantro sprigs, ginger and garlic.

3. Whack sealed bag with a skillet to mash ingredients together. Garlic and ginger should be mashed and slightly juicy.

4.  Add cucumbers, tomatoes, salt and sugar.

5. Seal bag and shake to mix, squeezing bag to slightly smash cucumbers and tomatoes.

5.  Let bag sit for about 35 minutes, turning it once halfway through.

6.  Empty the bag into a large bowl and discard cilantro sprigs. Mix in avocados, oil and lime juice.

7.  Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro and basil, if desired.