The very first spring harvest brings us strawberries, peas, radishes, arugula, asparagus and more. It’s the perfect time of year to revamp your diet and start eating a little healthier. I know salads get a bad reputation, but people who think salads are boring probably aren’t making them right. There’s a lot more to a delicious and nutritious salad than dumping lettuce in a bowl. I like to get creative with my salads, and I’ve come up with a few great combinations that are anything but boring.
Here are our favorite early spring salad recipes to get you started. Good luck!
1. Strawberry Cucumber Salad
This lovely salad is so easy, and thanks to the strawberries, there’s even a good chance your kids might eat it!
- 2 cups strawberries
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced (or spiralized)
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- fresh mint
- salt, maybe
- No complicated instructions here, just combine everything in a bowl and enjoy!
2. American Potato Salad
The peppery radishes are just the right counterpoint for America’s favorite creamy salad. Potato salad is welcome at every summer meal. It’s hearty and flavorful and compliments anything BBQ or grilled. It’s one of the few salads that can be made the night before because it doesn’t wilt. Take it to your next backyard cookout or make it for your family for dinner.
- 3 lbs boiled potatoes, chilled
- 3 hard boiled eggs, rough chopped
- 6 ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 6 radishes, julienned (or if you have a mandolin, you can make them thin enough to disappear into the mix)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 sprig fresh dill
- There is not really much to say here. Chop all the chilled ingredients, mix 'em up in a bowl, sprinkle the dill on top and keep it cool.
3. Asparagus, Tomato and Feta
Asparagus is another miracle of spring. If you don’t grow it yourself, head to the store to buy fresh stalks. It’ll make the perfect addition to your salads, and you won’t be able to enjoy it 100% fresh for much longer. You might as well take advantage of it while you can.
- 1 bunch asparagus, steamed, chilled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Lemon zest
- Parsley, oregano or thyme
- Steam the asparagus just until it starts to soften.
- Drop into a cold water bath to stop the cooking and preserve its beautiful color.
- Dry spears and chop.
- Add to bowl with tomatoes and the dressing.
- Sprinkle with your herb of choice or opportunity.
4. Arugula, Pesto, and Tomato Salad
This is one of my favorite spring salad recipes to date. It’s fresh and crisp, and the mozzarella gives it an extra great taste. If you can, use fresh ingredients to get this salad’s full worth.
- 5 ounces arugula
- 1 pound small bite-sized pasta (mini bow ties, orecchiette, radiatori, rotelle)
- 8 ounces baby Mozzarella balls, halved
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lemon, zested
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup grated Romano Cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- First, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.
- Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the pesto, tomatoes, and mozzarella to the pasta.
- Serve chilled.
5. Cucumbers with Peas and Mint
This salad is simple and perfect for those spring days when you don’t want to put a lot of work into making a healthy meal. You can use fresh ingredients, but frozen peas will work just as well. The ingredient list is short and simple, and adding the dressing gives you a nice zing of flavor.
- 2-1/2 cups fresh peas (defrosted frozen peas are the best and easiest alternative to fresh)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced and diced red onion
- Lemon Mustard Dressing:
- Zest and juice from one lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, shredded
- If your peas are fresh, drop them into boiling water for 2 minutes and immediately submerse them in cold water bath.
- To make the dressing, puree 1/2 cup of the peas with the juice of one lemon, lemon zest, olive oil, and mustard.
- Dry peas and add dressing.
- Toss the mixture and garnish with mint. It couldn't be any easier than this!