Kitchen Focus

Spring brings us a wide variety of fresh produce that is just dying to be used in creative salads. This month, I'm sharing some of my favorite fun salad combinations. The following toppings only require a bed of greens to complete the dish. Choose your favorites and let the salad-building begin!
  • If you like fruity flavors, try combining dried cranberries, drained mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and grilled chicken with a fruity vinaigrette over spring greens.
  • Asparagus is a great springtime food. Try lightly steaming some and combining it, shelled sweet peas, crumbled goat cheese and steamed shrimp with greens and a citrusy dressing.
  • Combine at least two hues of sliced pepper, red and green onions and thinly sliced beef. Add a spicy dressing and chopped peanuts for a Thai-inspired salad.
  • Roasting baby beets and having slices of them along with crumbled blue cheese makes an excellent accompaniment to steaks or grilled roasts.
  • Mixing corn, black beans, tomatoes and onions makes a nice base for a southwestern style salad. Add seasonings, grilled or fried chicken and your favorite shredded cheese for a taco salad. Serve it with tortilla chips.
  • Sometimes combining all of the fresh produce you can carry in one salad is the best way to make a garden salad. If you need something else, try adding some nuts or croutons and finish it off with a creamy dressing.
  • Take chicken salad to a different level by adding curry powder, raisins and a little lemon peel. Plain chicken salad becomes Indian chicken salad in minutes!
  • Try layering slices of pear, apple and roasted pork over coleslaw for an interesting twist. For something very special, consider a tangy apple cider vinegar based dressing and candied nuts as the finishing touch.
  • Chopped sugar snap peas, matchstick carrots, bean sprouts and shredded chicken get a special Asian kick with the addition of fried chow mein noodles and a soy sauce based dressing.
  • Combine half white wine and half honey and microwave to make a quick and simple fruit salad dressing. Add poppy seeds or shredded coconut for extra texture.
  • Nestle a poached egg in the center of a bed of mixed greens for an elegant salad. Drizzle it with specialty oil and vinegar and sprinkle some shaved cheese over the top.