May 6, 2016
Spring greens are popping up all over and it’s the season to look for healthy salad recipes to add to your menu. To help, Eco News Network offers these ideas for turning an ordinary salad into an extraordinary one.
1. The Base
For your healthy salad recipes, ditch the tough, bitter lettuces such as Romaine and use lettuce varieties that taste best during the springtime. Grown year-round but thriving in the cooler temperatures of the spring and fall seasons, lettuces such as arugula, Bibb, Boston, mache and mesclun (a mix of lettuces usually including chervil, arugula, and endive) harvest best in the spring. Their light, leafy and crispy features make them perfect for mixing. Spinach serves as another great salad base that is most tender in spring. Epicurious.com offers a visual guide to salad greens that is really helpful.
Look for these lettuce varieties for your healthy salad recipes in your local farmers’ markets, to not only taste the fruits of spring, but to minimize your impact on the environment. Watch out for blemishes and opt for leaves that look bright and fresh. The USDA offers a directory of farmer’s markets nationwide.
2. The Toppings
Whether you’re looking to add one, two, or a dozen ingredients to the mix, for your healthy salad recipes, check out which ingredients are tastiest during the spring season in order to optimize your salad experience. Artichokes, peas, watercress, chives, papayas and turnips are each harvested in spring, and with a little taste-testing and pairing can create a one-of-a-kind salad.
Orange slices are another great ingredient for spring salads. Before you add this citrus punch, however, know which type of orange you’re using and whether you’re looking for a sweet or sour taste. Mix navel oranges with moro (blood) oranges for rich and unique dish.
3. The Dressings
Sprinkle your salads with homemade dressings that blend the best flavors and complement your salad’s spring taste. Lemon juice, garlic, oil, salt and pepper combined create an easy and zesty dressing for any salad. The Meyer lemon, a cross between a lemon and orange that is native to China, can be used in a variety of dressings, including this creamy lemon and shallot dressing and this lighter lemon, orange and ginger one.
Whether you’ve spotted the fruits of spring in your grocery store or local farmer’s market or not, the ingredients for an all-new, fresh salad are out there. Research which spring harvests might hold the key to your next spring salad and get tasting!
To make your healthy salad recipes tasty and eco-friendly, try to buy locally grown ingredients. Tools like the Sustainable Table’s sustainable food finder can help you find which products are available in your neighborhood this spring. Or, join a local CSA and benefit from healthy, locally-grown produce all summer long. To learn more about CSAs visit localharvest.org.
Photo Credit: Flickr/SweetOnVeg, Flickr/minwoo, Flickr/ccharmon, Flickr/Nick Harris 1