When I think of spring meals, I almost always have to include some type of spring salads.
The greening up of the garden and the sight of the first fresh onions and herbs makes me just want to have a green salad of some type.
Make this a creative spring with the wonderful options that salads bring to the table.
Strawberry Salad is a spring salad with fresh strawberries, spring mix, juicy red grapes, dried cranberries, candied walnuts and feta cheese with a citrus vinaigrette or salad dressing of choice.Your taste buds will literally dance to the five flavors of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and savory.
Citrus Salad Dressing
Spring and early summer are peak seasons for strawberries and are the best times to make strawberry salad. An easy addition to any meal whether it be soup or steak.
2 tablespoons orange juice, plus zest of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Using a small glass bowl, add fresh juices. Then using a whisk, blend in the Dijon mustard, syrup and olive oil. Add pepper and salt last so as not to get too much. Add zest last.
A great dressing for fresh spinach salad, a strawberry green salad and to top off fresh steamed broccoli.
German Potato Salad
in a Skillet
Nothing says spring like potato salad. If you can make it in one skillet, then it saves time and energy. Great with barbecue or a pork tenderloin.
1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes, must use red small potatoes
4 slices bacon
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium sweet onion chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In large pot, boil red potatoes for 15 minutes. Place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Cut into large bite-size chunks and set aside.
Place bacon on cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 375°F for 7 minutes. Turn bacon and cook for another 7 minutes or until crispy.
Remove from cookie sheet and place on paper towel to drain. Keep the bacon grease.
In medium bowl whisk vinegar, sugar, water, olive oil and Dijon mustard.
Place 2 tablespoons bacon grease in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes. Add chopped potatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes or until starting to brown on the edges.
Add additional bacon grease when necessary to keep things from sticking to the pan.
Whisk vinegar mixture and pour in 1/3 at a time cooking 1-2 minutes after each 1/3.
Stir in chopped bacon and parsley. Serve warm for best flavor.
Another thing I like about summer and spring are the different flavors.
From strawberries to fresh herbs, a good salad just adds zing to any meal. It also adds texture, color and new flavors to your table.
Sweet Potato Summer Salad
This is one of my favorite recipes. I love sweet potatoes.
2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in bite-size chunks
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups corn
2 stalks celery chopped
1 red bell pepper diced small
3 scallions chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup salsa
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine sweet potatoes, 3 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and crushed red pepper in a large zip-style bag, shake to coat. Place on parchment covered baking sheet, roast until fork tender; 30-35 minutes. Cool completely.
In small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, salsa and lime juice.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat, swirl to coat pan. Add onion and corn to hot skillet; flip every 2-3 minutes with a spatula. Cook 7-10 minutes until corn is light golden brown, cool completely.
In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, corn and onions, celery, red bell peppers and scallions. Add the salsa dressing and stir gently to combine.
One of my favorite salads is the congealed salad. It offers a multitude of ways to use gelatin, whipped topping, a variety of fruits and even vegetables. You can use fruit juice instead of water, and try creative bottom layers like pretzels or crackers.
One 6-ounce package apricot gelatin
Small can crushed pineapple and the juice
1 small can peaches, drained, chopped into small pieces
2 cups buttermilk
One 12-ounce carton whipped topping
Mix together gelatin and pineapple, along with juice, bring to a boil. Let cool.
Add peaches, buttermilk and whipped topping with first two ingredients. Refrigerate. Serves 8-10.
MARY KATE RIDGEWAY, a retired Extension leader, is a freelance home economist and educator.