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My Top Tips for Amazing Spring Salads and Recipe

Even though Spring is always late in the Northland, It never stops me from enjoying fresh produce, even if it's not from the local garden. I am ready for greens, tender shoots, and delicate leaves that Spring brings to us.

I always say convenience increases consumption. With this in mind, I try to stay on top of my salad prep to have the products to pull together a big, toothsome salad that's filling and nutritious at a moment's notice. It makes life soooo much easier in the kitchen when I am in a hurry to eat healthily. Here are some of my top tips and tricks to have salads on the fly-





  • A Spiralizer is a new age mandoline of sorts, except it turns out strings of zucchini, potatoes, and other firm vegetables that are functional and pretty as well in a salad. I spiralize my zucchini and put it in between paper towels and store it in the fridge for a couple of days, the towels keep it from getting mushy. If you are looking for a good Spiralizer cookbook, I recommend this one from Williams Sonoma, it's a great tutorial.




  • Store sliced radishes, celery, onions, and other vegetables that stay crisp in water in the fridge. They last longer and taste crunchy.


  • Cucumbers that are peeled, seeded, and sliced can be made into a salad chilled or you can give it a quick saute in olive oil for a couple of minutes to add an interesting texture to a warm salad.

  • Add boiled eggs to your list of prep, they can be added to a Caesar Salad for extra protein, made into egg salad, and served halved on a Green Salad as a garnish.

  • Wash your greens in a spinner, store them in the spinner with a paper towel on top to keep them fresh. It's easy to pull out what you need and they stay much longer with better airflow.

  • Cooked lean protein or Tofu at the ready makes it easy to put together a full meal by adding some croutons and a tasty dressing. Most grocery stores sell fully cooked chicken breast these days.

  • Spread Hummus or soft cheese spread on the bottom of your salad bowl before you make your salad for a special taste treat.

  • Use leftover roasted vegetables from dinner on salads, it's filling and you rarely need dressing, just a splash of olive oil and balsamic and you are good to go.

  • Have a good supply of your favorite dressings you love. I like to make my own from scratch, that way I can control how much oil and sugar goes in. My current favorite is Salad Girl Dressings from the store, but I love to make my own creamy Caesar too. Here is the link for the carrot dressing I LOVE to make.



A few years ago, I had the pleasure of dining at Harrod's Tea Room in London for lunch and I had a Spring inspired Salad that still intrigues me. The kicker was a base of Hummus on the bottom, it was a genuine surprise to see how well the savory creaminess of the Hummus matched so well with the rest of the dish. It was simple, yet elegant and delectable.




Harissa Spiced Roast Cauliflower Salad with Baby Spinach and Pickled Onions

Serves 4


Ingredients:


1 head Cauliflower

1 teaspoon Harissa spice

1 Tablespoon olive oil ( a bit more for finishing)

4-6 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup prepared Hummus or see video recipe link below

1 cup Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed



Pickled Onion

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Mix the sliced onion with the red wine vinegar and heat in the microwave for one minute until the onion changes to a lighter pink color.


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F

  1. Cut or break the head of cauliflower into small pieces. In a large bowl, mix the Harissa, Cauliflower florets, and olive oil together coating the cauliflower evenly. Place on a half sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes until brown, mixing halfway through to ensure even browning.

  2. On a plate or large shallow serving bowl, spread the hummus evenly between the 4 dishes.

  3. In a bowl, mix baby spinach, warm cauliflower, and a slosh of olive oil about 2 teaspoons. Spoon the vegetable mixture on the bed of hummus and garnish with the garbanzo beans and pickled onions. Serve warm or chilled.

If you want to make some Sweet Potato Hummus from Scratch which would be great in this salad, Watch me make it here.




Here's a little inspiration for you





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