Seasonal Salads: Fresh and Flavorful Springtime Recipes

By Lisa McCune MS, MPH, RDN, LD

Salads can be a quick and easy meal that offers many nutritional benefits. You can also count on crisp greens to keep you cool as the weather warms up. Check out a few salad tips and recipes from a registered dietitian to see how you can get the most out of your next salad:

Tip of the Iceberg

Iceberg lettuce is a go-to for many people when building a salad. Its crispy, crunchy texture is due to high water content, which is great for staying hydrated. However, there isn’t much room for other nutrients with all that water. If you’re looking for a boost of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), try dark, leafy greens such as spinach or kale. Both are high in fiber, vitamin K and folic acid, which all contribute to healthy eating patterns that reduce risk for chronic diseases. They also provide different textures and colors, which make salads interesting and fun to eat!

Seasonal Sensations

Your salad will be much more satisfying if you use in-season produce. In spring, seasonal produce includes avocados, apples, kale, mushrooms, asparagus and many more tasty fruits and vegetables. Try different preparations of these in your salad (raw, grilled or roasted) to create different textures and flavors. Adding more produce to your salad will help you include a variety of fruits and vegetables from all categories, which is part of a healthy eating pattern per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. Choose high-protein vegetables such as beans and peas, or add eggs or cheese to keep you feeling full for longer.

Check out these sensational recipes:

ROASTED ASPARAGUS CHEF SALAD

Serves: 4

Ingredients

¼ lb. asparagus, trimmed

5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 cups salad mix with carrots and radishes

1 small cucumber, sliced

2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

3 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Place asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. Cool, then cut into 1” pieces.

3. Divide salad mix between two bowls. Arrange asparagus, cucumber, egg, bacon, cheese and avocado on top.

4. In a small bowl combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, then whisk well. Drizzle over salads and serve.

KALE SALAD WITH EDAMAME AND TOMATOES

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

½ lemon, juiced

½ cup edamame, shelled

Sea salt, to taste

2 Tbsp. olive oil

½ cup grape tomatoes

¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries

Directions

1. Wash and tear the kale leaves away from the stem. Stack them on a cutting board and slice into strips that can be easily picked up with a fork.

2. Place the kale in a bowl; add the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Massage the kale with your hands until it starts to change to a deeper green and appears wilted.

3. Add the edamame, tomatoes and cranberries. Divide into two bowls and serve.

CARROT AND RED CABBAGE SALAD

Ingredients

½ tsp. anise seeds

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 Tbsp. lime juice

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup shredded red cabbage

½ cup cashews

Directions

1. Heat the anise seeds in a small, dry skillet over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gently shake the skillet constantly to avoid scorching. Transfer to a mortar and crush with a pestle, or place in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a mallet.

2. In a large bowl, combine crushed anise seeds with vegetable oil, lime juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the carrots and red cabbage and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with cashews.


Dress to Impress

When dressing your salad, choose oil-based dressings or top with healthy fats like avocados and nuts. Studies suggest these heart healthy fats may increase absorption of the nutrients from your salad such as carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins (A,D, E and K). Examples of heart healthy oils are olive, soybean, avocado, peanut, canola and sunflower oils.

Try one of these heart healthy dressing options on your next salad:

LEMON-OREGANO SALAD DRESSING

Serves: 8

Ingredients

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ tsp. dry mustard

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. ground black pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Slowly add in the oil in a thin stream. Bottle and shake well before serving.

AVOCADO SALAD DRESSING

Serves: 16

Ingredients

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup Simple Truth Organic™ Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley leaves

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate leftovers.

If you need help creating healthy salads or managing a medical condition through your diet, our dietitians are here to help with personalized nutrition coaching. Make an appointment in person or via video chat.

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Seasonal Salads: Fresh and Flavorful Springtime Recipes

By Lisa McCune MS, MPH, RDN, LD

Salads can be a quick and easy meal that offers many nutritional benefits. You can also count on crisp greens to keep you cool as the weather warms up. Check out a few salad tips and recipes from a registered dietitian to see how you can get the most out of your next salad:

Tip of the Iceberg

Iceberg lettuce is a go-to for many people when building a salad. Its crispy, crunchy texture is due to high water content, which is great for staying hydrated. However, there isn’t much room for other nutrients with all that water. If you’re looking for a boost of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), try dark, leafy greens such as spinach or kale. Both are high in fiber, vitamin K and folic acid, which all contribute to healthy eating patterns that reduce risk for chronic diseases. They also provide different textures and colors, which make salads interesting and fun to eat!

Seasonal Sensations

Your salad will be much more satisfying if you use in-season produce. In spring, seasonal produce includes avocados, apples, kale, mushrooms, asparagus and many more tasty fruits and vegetables. Try different preparations of these in your salad (raw, grilled or roasted) to create different textures and flavors. Adding more produce to your salad will help you include a variety of fruits and vegetables from all categories, which is part of a healthy eating pattern per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. Choose high-protein vegetables such as beans and peas, or add eggs or cheese to keep you feeling full for longer.

Check out these sensational recipes:

ROASTED ASPARAGUS CHEF SALAD

Serves: 4

Ingredients

¼ lb. asparagus, trimmed

5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 cups salad mix with carrots and radishes

1 small cucumber, sliced

2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

3 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Place asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. Cool, then cut into 1” pieces.

3. Divide salad mix between two bowls. Arrange asparagus, cucumber, egg, bacon, cheese and avocado on top.

4. In a small bowl combine remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, then whisk well. Drizzle over salads and serve.

KALE SALAD WITH EDAMAME AND TOMATOES

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

½ lemon, juiced

½ cup edamame, shelled

Sea salt, to taste

2 Tbsp. olive oil

½ cup grape tomatoes

¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries

Directions

1. Wash and tear the kale leaves away from the stem. Stack them on a cutting board and slice into strips that can be easily picked up with a fork.

2. Place the kale in a bowl; add the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Massage the kale with your hands until it starts to change to a deeper green and appears wilted.

3. Add the edamame, tomatoes and cranberries. Divide into two bowls and serve.

CARROT AND RED CABBAGE SALAD

Ingredients

½ tsp. anise seeds

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 Tbsp. lime juice

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup shredded red cabbage

½ cup cashews

Directions

1. Heat the anise seeds in a small, dry skillet over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gently shake the skillet constantly to avoid scorching. Transfer to a mortar and crush with a pestle, or place in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a mallet.

2. In a large bowl, combine crushed anise seeds with vegetable oil, lime juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the carrots and red cabbage and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with cashews.


Dress to Impress

When dressing your salad, choose oil-based dressings or top with healthy fats like avocados and nuts. Studies suggest these heart healthy fats may increase absorption of the nutrients from your salad such as carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins (A,D, E and K). Examples of heart healthy oils are olive, soybean, avocado, peanut, canola and sunflower oils.

Try one of these heart healthy dressing options on your next salad:

LEMON-OREGANO SALAD DRESSING

Serves: 8

Ingredients

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ tsp. dry mustard

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. ground black pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Slowly add in the oil in a thin stream. Bottle and shake well before serving.

AVOCADO SALAD DRESSING

Serves: 16

Ingredients

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup Simple Truth Organic™ Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley leaves

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate leftovers.

If you need help creating healthy salads or managing a medical condition through your diet, our dietitians are here to help with personalized nutrition coaching. Make an appointment in person or via video chat.

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.