Tag Archives: salad ideas

Spring Microgreens Salad with Beet Vinaigrette

 

As spring slowly begins to win the seasonal fight with winter, tender crops begin to appear in the local markets.  Radishes, greens and lettuces, root crops, winter squash, carrots, onion and potatoes both old and new along with greenhouse grown herbs, eggs and meats and dairy, and mushrooms abound.  Take advantage of fast-growing baby greens and all the chlorophyll and concentrated nutrients they offer with lots of fresh spring salads!

photo 3

Basically any meal starts off right with a heap of greens of any kind, topped with various seeds, nuts, vegetables, or proteins of your choice.  Choose darker or colorful varieties for the most nutrition, including kale, spinach, sprouts, arugula or rocket, and watercress.  You can also whip up your own salad dressing at home in the time it takes to mix & shake, and it will be far tastier, healthier, and cheaper than a plastic bottle full of chemicals.

photo 4

All  you need is a mason jar, an oil, an acidic (vinegar, lemon juice) and flavorings (fresh or dried herbs/garlic/pepper).  This recipe is for a beet juice vinaigrette, which has tons of delicious flavor, liver-cleansing benefits, and as a bonus is a lovely pink color!  I’ll bet you topping any salad with this will automatically make you smile.  For the beet juice, you can either roast and juice fresh beets, or you can use the juice from canned beets, no judgment here.

photo 2(5)

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups salad dressing):

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beet juice
  • 1 heaping tsp miso

 

Step 1: Put all ingredients into a mason jar or other jar with a lid, and shake it up until emulsified.  The miso may take a bit to dissolve, but it’s worth it.  It adds a salty depth of flavor and a healthy boost of probiotics.  Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

photo 5

To make this lovely salad yourself:

  • 2 cups fresh mixed baby greens
  • 1/2 can sliced beets
  • Handful of almonds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3-4 tbsp beet salad dressing

Place the greens on a large plate.  Add the beet slices (save juice for the dressing), artichoke hearts, nuts, seeds, and berries.  Shake up your vinaigrette and pour over all.  Smile, and enjoy!

Feel free to experiment with your salad dressing.  Try using lemon juice or lime juice, add chopped fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or cilantro, add crushed fresh garlic or peppercorns, use any kind of vinegar or oil you want.  It is so quick and easy, you are bound to find recipes you enjoy, and may never go back to store-bought dressing again!

 

Have you made your own dressings?  What is your favorite recipe?

Kale & Wasabi Pea Caesar Salad

 

Are you getting in the spring of things? Have you begun a whirlwind of cleaning out rooms, old clutter, elbow greasing the bathroom, and sorting through wardrobes? Do you day dream about tender green baby lettuce, the first sweet juicy strawberry, or delicate spring peas that pop in your mouth? I know I am!

Spring is a time of freshness, rebirth, and growth. The world re-awakens after a long, cold, terrible winter.

Though it is hard to believe now, with the still-cold, hard earth brown and bare, soon rain will drench everything, sun will warm it again, and greenery will burst forth! Birds have begun singing, small furry animals are emerging from hibernation, and gardeners all over are just itching to get outside and play in some dirt!

Now might be a good time to assess your food preservation options. If you don’t have canning jars or could use some more, I recommend at least a case of pint jars (wide-mouth can fit more in easily, you can can or even freeze them), as well as a case of quart jars, and if you make lots of different flavored jams, jellies, or salsas, maybe a few tiny 4 oz jars too. These also make great gifts!

Don’t forget the lids, regular mouth lids and  wide-mouth lids. These cannot be reused (they lose their seal) but the rings you can reuse.

Even if you don’t have a garden yourself, canning is an excellent skill to begin learning. You can get steals and deals at the end of the day in farmer’s markets, pick-your-own bushels of fruits at an orchard, or on-sale in-season produce at the grocery store.

Canning is a great, non-electricity-using way to store these seasonal delicacies for the future dreary winter, that we don’t even want to think about yet. Read my earlier foray into canning beans for more information, directions, and especially important safety information to consider if this is your first time (or hundredth).

In honor of this season of green, here is a lovely salad recipe using fresh greens, wasabi peas, sunflower seeds, and other fresh veggies. Feel free to make it your own based on your tastes and what is currently in season near you.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups assorted greens (romaine, kale, spinach used here. also try arugula, watercress, chard, or endive)
  • 1/2 cucumber, washed and sliced
  • 1/3 cup wasabi green peas (use fresh peas if you have them or don’t like wasabi spice/flavor)
  • 1/2 cup homemade croutons
  • 2-3 tbsp Caesar dressing (or Ranch)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • Optional: grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese

Step 1: To make croutons, cut 2 slices of old bread into cubes. Toss in 2-3 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle on seasonings (I recommend Italian). Toast on a flat cookie sheet in an oven at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Or use store-bought, or omit entirely. Up to you.

IMG_7598

Step 2: Shred or slice the romaine, spinach, and kale, and pile on a plate. Top with cucumber slices, sprinkle on the seeds, peas, and croutons, and add dressing. Toss lightly to coat.

IMG_7600

I had this for lunch with an apple, a piece of homemade corn bread (with canned corn in it) and a big glass of water. Just a perfect amount of crunch and spring flavors to perk you right up. Now if only there was no more frost danger so I can set out my seedlings…

 

This post contains links from the Amazon Affiliates program. If you purchase these items through these links, the price you pay is not affected yet a portion of the proceeds go towards maintaining this blog (and my gardening addiction!). Thank you.