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!
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.
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.
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.
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?