Spring is the perfect time to start eating more salads! With a variety of fresh greens, fruits and vegetables in season, the possibilities are endless. Of course, why would you top all that fresh goodness with store-bought bottled salad dressing when you can make your own delicious vinaigrettes right in your own kitchen? Here are some of our favorite fresh salad ideas for spring that are quick and simple to make!
Spinach and Strawberries with Honey-Poppy Seed Dressing
As the first fruits to ripen in spring, strawberries are the perfect complement to fresh spinach. Start by rinsing and slicing your strawberries and set them aside. Wash baby spinach leaves and add them to your salad bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of honey, 1/2 cup of canola oil, 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss your salad with the dressing, and top with sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, and a sprinkling more of poppy seeds.
Spring Mix with Apricot Vinaigrette
Mix peppery arugula with mild greens like butterhead and red leaf lettuce, or choose a spring mix blend that contains different young salad greens like mizuna, tat soi, frisee, red chard, radicchio, and mustard greens. Cut a ripe pear of your favorite variety into thin slices, toss with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning, and add to your lettuce mixture. Top your salad with Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles and fresh pecans. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of apricot preserves, 1/4 cup of canola oil, 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, ¼ teaspoon of dry mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle your salad with your homemade apricot dressing and savor the sweetness of spring.
Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette
This salad makes a wonderful side when paired with pasta or even burgers, or make it a meal by topping your salad with lightly seasoned, grilled chicken. Start with freshly washed romaine leaves, torn or chopped. For added color you can include some radicchio as well. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves of pressed garlic, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. If you are not a fan of fresh garlic, skip it and add garlic and onion powder instead. If you have your own herb garden, you can also add fresh basil and/or oregano to the mix. Toss the romaine lightly with your dressing, and top your salad with freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes.
Bibb Lettuce with Lemon Dressing
Bibb lettuce is known for its delicate, flavorful leaves, but you can also substitute Boston or green-leaf lettuce for this salad. Start with freshly washed greens, torn or chopped. Start by lightly steaming fresh asparagus and set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 cloves of pressed garlic, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Again, if you are not a fan of fresh garlic, use garlic powder instead or cut it down to one small clove. Cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces and add to your salad. Drizzle on the dressing and top with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes.
For most of these salads, you can save any remaining dressing in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Enjoy!
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