Enjoy A Meal With A Simple Spring Salad

Enjoy A Meal With A Simple Spring Salad The arrival of spring means that seasonal fruits and vegetables are in season. Produce like asparagus, strawberries, leafy greens and rhubarb among others.

We look through some of our favorite past cooking magazine issues and possibly yours as well to find the perfect spring salads.

Your family will love these vibrant, colorful and delicious salads. If you want to make a meal out of them, just add some chopped cooked chicken, or fish, like salmon, halibut, or tuna.

Both featured salads serve a table of four.

Arugula Salad Topped with Walnuts Strawberries and Parmesan Cheese

Vinaigrette 

1 cup halved fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar *see recipe notes below

1 tablespoon EV olive oil

1 teaspoon raw local honey (local to your area)
Add ingredients to a blender and blend until well mixed.

Recipe Notes

Aged balsamic vinegar may not be economical for you, as I thought it wasn’t for me. Unless you plan to regularly use it. A bottle of 12 year old aged balsamic vinegar is around $40 a bottle.

What we did, is brought a 1/2 cup of regular balsamic vinegar infused with strawberry (you can also opt for blueberry or pomegranate) to a boil over high heat in a small ceramic coated skillet. Cook until the vinegar begins to thicken and becomes syrupy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool then follow vinaigrette recipe above.

Salad Ingredients

1 cup walnut halves

We found a cool way to candy the walnuts, and credit goes to private chef Chris Crary  with his candied walnut recipe featured at California Walnuts.

1/2 cup California walnuts

1 egg white

1 ounce sugar

2 tablespoons walnut oil

Salt to taste

Beat egg white until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and mix in to peaked egg white. Next add the walnuts and coat with the egg mixture. Place in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Once mixture is cool, toss in walnut oil. Set aside.

16 ounce bag of arugula

2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup candied walnuts

Shaved Parmesan

Arugula Salad Topped with Walnuts Strawberries and Parmesan CheeseIn a large salad bowl, combine arugula, strawberries and candied walnuts. Plate salad and drizzle with vinaigrette and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

To make salad a meal, when mixing salad ingredients, add a cup or two of your choice, chopped cooked chicken, salmon, halibut, or tuna.

Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

1 grapefruit with white flesh, peeled, pith removed, and dice segments

5 ounce package of mixed greens

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

5 ounce package smoked salmon, flake with a fork

Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of sweet garlic mustard (we found this at Whole Foods Market)

1 tablespoon of EV olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon Avocado and Grapefruit SaladMix lemon juice, mustard, oil, salt and pepper to a large salad bowl.  Next add mixed greens, grapefruit, avocado, and smoked salmon. Toss until well coated with vinaigrette. Plate and serve.

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Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Basil is an herb, and all of its plant parts, leaves, seeds, and flowers, are used in herbal medicine, particularly “Holy Basil“. Basil is also used in desserts, including ice cream and sorbet, and custard. Depending on the variety of basil, it is used in Italian, Mediterranean, and Thai food. The essential oil is used in the preparation of perfumes.

Verities basil include the Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, and the two just mention, the Thai Basil, and Holy Basil.

Basil is a member of the Lamiaceae family, and included with the plant species is the mint, oregano, catnip, rosemary, and sage.

Holy Basil is related to the common Sweet Basil and is used in Ayurvedic traditional practices. The leaves are used to support healthy upper respiratory tract function, and research has shown that Holy Basil includes the benefits in helping to support a healthy immune system.

In our featured recipe – Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce – we will be using the common Sweet Basil. This meal can be prepared in 30 minutes, and here is what you will need, starting with the pesto recipe.

 

Traditional Pesto SaucePesto Sauce

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves
½ cup grated Romano/Parmesan or Asiago cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, except oil, and pulse. Start to add oil slowly, pulsing until ingredients form a smooth paste.

If you do not use right away, or there are left overs, store in a jar container with a layer of olive oil on top to prevent discoloration.

Prepare the spaghetti pasta according to packaged instructions. Just as pasta is done, place a large frying pan on medium heat. Then drain and rinse pasta. Set aside.

Pour about 1/8 cup (1 ounce) of olive oil to the heated pan, let warm and then add the pasta to pan.

Mix to coat the pasta and add pesto sauce, starting with a one half of a cup (1/2 cup) and mix to coat the pasta adding more pesto if needed and as desired.

Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce (close-up)Plate the Italian Pasta with Pesto Sauce and serve.

 

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Enjoying the New Main Dish Salads

Enjoying the New Main Dish SaladsWith all the latest information we have on the nutritional value of different fruits and vegetables, salads have become more than just a dinner salad. With the introduction of vegetables that include leafy greens and root vegetables, like black radishes, endive, kale, arugula, purple, white, and yellow carrots, just to name a few, and with an array of different fruits as well, like figs and pomegranates. They have always existed, but not common to the produce section, as in recent years.

close up for detail of Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad – Click to Get Recipe

If anyone can remember, kale always adorned a salad buffet bar, but was never part of the salad you would put on your plate.

As we mentioned at the on set of the article, salads have become more than just a dinner salad, they have now become a Main Dish Salad. Sure there has always been a Caesar Salad, and if you asked, they added chicken. But now there are a lot more dressed up salads, than just a Caesar Salad.

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad...close up

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad – Click to Get Recipe

Because of all the new options available to us, salads have become front and center as meals of their own. Main Dish Salads can prepare in 40 minutes or less. By the way, the term salad is even changing, the in thing is”leafy greens.”

To make Main Dish Salads, does require planning ahead to make sure you have all of the nutritious ingredients. This means working out a meal plan for the week, prepping, shopping, stocking your pantry, and cooking. It isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Sunday morning with your coffee, tea, or juice in hand, think what you and your family want for dinner the coming week. Once you have thought it out, make a list of the leafy greens, fruits and vegetables you will need, as well as the meat you want to top or mix into the Main Dish Salad.

Chicken Avocado and Watercress Salad - close-up

Chicken Avocado and Watercress Salad – Click to Get Recipe

Having a main dish salad is both healthy and time saving as they are prepared with vegetables and require little cooking and prep time. A main dish salad can be prepared to reflect the season (though with world trade, most produce is available year round).

Such as preparing main dish salads with produce that is naturally harvested in Spring (like beets, fava, leeks, herbs, peas etc.), Summer (like bell peppers, berries, corn, eggplant, peaches, zucchini and other summer squash etc.), Autumn (like cabbage, apples, figs, pears, broccoli, sweet potatoes etc.), and Winter (like endive, watercress, celery root, fennel, citrus, winter squash etc.).

Spanish Chicken Salad

Spanish Chicken Salad – Click to Get Recipe

As for the meat, use shredded rotisserie chicken, cooked chicken breast, breaded chicken, tuna, cooked beef, turkey, turkey ham, and pork ham. Include some cheese like goat, feta, Romano etc., and croutons if you wish.

Once you find the salad recipes you like, you can use the ingredients to create your own combinations of a Main Dish Salad.

Link here for more Main Dish Salad ideas: Salads as a Main Course 

 

 

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