Recipe: Spring Salads

spring salads

Spring is a great time to start increasing the amount of greens and other raw veggies that we include in our meals. Balancing a variety of whole organic locally-grown plant foods as the greatest percentage of our meals, along with a good source of protein and good fats is the best way to ensure that our body receives the necessary nutrients it needs to be healthy and strong. Real food makes us feel alive and healthy.

Leafy greens are often the basis of our salads – the more familiar milder choices like spring mix or bibb lettuce; the crispier choices like romaine and kale, and the more bitter choices like arugula and radicchio.  All greens contain a surprisingly high amount of nutrients – besides fibre, water, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, they also contain protein and good fats.

Another source of highly nutritious greens grow in our own yards or local (pesticide-free) park.  Besides dandelions, consider adding chickweed, stinging nettle, miner’s lettuce, chicory or lamb’s quarters to your salads. Although more pungent, bitters are extremely beneficial to our digestive systems. They trigger the production of digestive enzymes and balance hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach.

Many wild and cultivated flowers are edible and look so pretty in a salad – like elderberry blooms, lilacs, red clover, wild violets, lavender, peonies or nasturtiums.

Massaged kale salad

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt/pepper, to taste

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 8 cups kale, chopped, de-stemmed
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 apple, cubed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or your favourites), chopped, toasted
  • 1/4 feta cheese, crumbled

Pour dressing ingredients into a jar and shake until well mixed. Put kale into a large bowl; pour dressing over it. Massage dressing into kale until leaves becoming tender.  Add rest of ingredients; serve immediately.

Spring Trifle Salad

  • 1-2 heads butterhead lettuce, trimmed, torn
  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup pecan halves

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt/pepper, to taste

Place half of lettuce in a trifle bowl; top with half of the raspberries, blueberries, goat cheese and pecans. Top with rest of the lettuce and another layer of salad ingredients. Whisk dressing ingredients together; drizzle over salad.

Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch sea salt

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  •  Pinch sea salt

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 1/2 cup fresh dandelion greens, chopped
  • 1 cup peas, lightly cooked
  • 1 cup cooked salmon
  • 1/2 cup feta or goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped

Place quinoa, water and salt in a pot. Cover; bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat to cool. Place dressing ingredients into blender; blend for 30 seconds. (Don’t completely puree herbs) Place cooked quinoa into a bowl. Pour dressing on top and lightly toss. Add the rest of the ingredients; lightly toss – and serve.

Rebecca Mullins RHN is a North Bay-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist.