Welcoming Salads

If you're like us, the thought of spring brings with it the urge to bring fresh produce and other ingredients to your table. Few things do that as well as salads do. So grab your salad bowl and get ready to enjoy the first freshness of the season!

This first salad has a lot of crunch to it with celery and lots of nuts and seeds in it. The dressing is both sweet and tangy and a perfect way to wake your taste buds up from a long winter.

Californian Salad

  • 1 small crisp lettuce, torn in pieces
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds or unsalted cashew nuts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Juice of 1 small orange
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Put all of the salad vegetables, almonds or cashew nuts and seeds into a large bowl.

Put all of the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar, shake them up well and pour over the salad.

Toss the salad thoroughly and divide it between four small salad bowls . Seasoned and serve lightly chilled.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

A classic chef's salad seems to have lots its appeal as restaurants everywhere present it as a lump of lettuce with some random vegetables tossed on. Well, fall in love all over again with a taste and texture sensation! This salad is brimming with vegetables, beans, crumbled eggs and a dressing that is creamy and smooth.

Chef's Salad

  • 1 lb new potatoes, halved if large
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • Small green or red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked pulses, e.g. red kidney beans or green lentils
  • 1 Boston or red leaf lettuce, or 1 head chicory
  • 2-3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered, and/or grated cheese, to serve
  • 4 tablespoons salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Put all of the vegetables (except the lettuce) and pulses into a large mixing bowl.

Line a large platter with the lettuce or chicory leaves, creating a nest for the other salad ingredients. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad in the mixing bowl.

Toss the salad thoroughly with the dressing, season it well, then pile into the center of the lettuce or chicory nest.

Top the salad with the eggs, cheese or both.

Put all of the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar, shake them up well and pour over the salad. Serve lightly chilled.

  • Yields: 5 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Grilled vegetables are a great way to get yourself feeling like summer is already here. This great salad combines grilled veggies, tender pasta and a roasted garlic dressing that is enough to make you swoon. It's hearty enough to be a meal. Just add some crusty bread and a dry white wine. Salad days are here again!

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing

  • 2 red and /or yellow sweet peppers
  • 2 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash halved lengthwise or 8 to 10 yellow sunburst or patty pan squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups packaged dried rigatoni or mostaccioli
  • Roasted Garlic Dressing (see below)
  • 3/4 cup cubed fontina cheese (3 ounces)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons snipped Italian flat-leaf or curly parsley

Halve the sweet peppers lengthwise; remove and discard the stems, seeds, and membranes. Brush the sweet peppers, eggplants, and squash with olive oil. Grill the vegetables on an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals for 8-12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, turning occasionally. Remove the vegetables from the grill; cool slightly. Cut the vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Drain again. In a large bowl, combine the pasta and grilled vegetables. Pour the Roasted Garlic Dressing over the pasta mixture. Toss gently to coat. Stir in the fontina cheese. Sprinkle with snipped parsley. If desired, garnish with parsley sprigs.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Roasted Garlic Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon bottled roasted minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a screw-top jar combine all of the ingredients. Cover and shake well.