With the sheer abundance of produce available now salads can be an amazingly healthy, quick and supremely tasty option for lunch and dinner. Spring is especially good for getting baby versions of veggies which are often sweeter, crisper and make for better salad fixins’ than their adult counterparts. Use this bounty as a time to explore new flavors, kick start healthier eating and cut down on your time in the kitchen while still preparing fantastic meals. Get started with these top salads that make the most of the spring harvest.
If you like things a little bit salty, a little bit sweet and absolutely tasty all over then this Cherry, Goat Cheese and Pistachio Salad could be just the thing for a fast, fresh meal. The pistachios add crunch, the goat cheese is creamy and salty, and the cherries are a burst of tangy-sweet flavor enrobed in a honey spiked mustard dressing. Make this salad in late spring through summer for the best cherries.
Asparagus is known for its delicate, slightly sweet flavor and tender stalks and North Carolina is lucky enough to have it in season throughout spring. Grown in sandy soil, this messenger of spring is one of the first vegetables to sprout as winter recedes. You can make the most of this green goddess of a vegetable by grilling it for a Grilled Asparagus Feta Salad
Or you can even use it raw for a satisfying crunch like in this Asparagus, Pecorino and Red Onion Salad which is especially good for making ahead of time.
Fennel is an often underutilized vegetable and can be slightly intimidating if you’ve never tried it. However, its crunchy texture and mild licorice flavor make it an ideal match for salads with a citrusy dressing like this Arugula, Fennel and Apricot Salad. Fennel is actually in season in North Carolina from the fall through the spring and arugula is a year round leafy, green veggie that has a hearty, peppery taste. If you find yourself making this salad in late spring or summer consider substituting peaches in place of the apricots. Peaches are in season at this time in NC.
Cultivated mushrooms are available year round in NC, but during the spring there is a special treat for fungi lovers when a plethora of wild mushrooms are pushing up from the earth. Celebrate this harvest by making a Wild Mushroom Salad which combines caramelized mushrooms with sherry vinegar and delicate, creamy mascarpone cheese. Another way to enjoy a warm mushroom salad is with this Frisee, Wild Mushroom and Poached Egg Salad which uses the delicate yolk of a poached egg in place of a formal dressing.
Radishes rarely get to be the star of the show and sometimes barely even get a bit part but that might change in your kitchen once you try this Raw Corn and Radish Salad with Spicy Lime Dressing. This recipe combines the freshness of raw sweet corn with the mildly spicy crunch of radishes and a zesty lime dressing for a south of the border flair. Add grilled or broiled shrimp to this vibrant mix to create a complete entree.
To have best tasting and vitamin-rich produce in your spring salads, follow the tips from our Guide to Spring Produce.
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Photo Credits: Freeimages.com, Wong Mei Teng, Konrad Baranski