Spring is such a wonderful time for salads. Garden leaf lettuces are tender and sweet, an entirely different eating experience than the head lettuce I grew up eating. There are also plenty of other garden goodies to add to your salad. And if it’s a hot day, you can combine these ingredients for a wonderful meal without ever turning on the stove.
Here’s one way to think about creating a spring salad.
Step 1: Choose lettuce, spinach, arugula or a combination. If cutting from your own garden, remember it’s best to cut it in the morning. I sometimes water mine the day before cutting to add to its goodness. When the summer sun begins beating down on it, the lettuce will get bitter so cut it all or cover it.
Step 2: Choose a fruit. I’ve been adding strawberries since they’re in season. Later I’ll try blueberries, apples, peaches, whatever I can find.
Step 3: Add something acidic. I like throwing on Kalamata olives. You might also try capers.
Step 4: Add cheese. This can add another texture to tempt your tongue. I typically use cheddar, Parmesan, feta or goat cheese. I was thrilled to find the delicious Bluegrass Chevre at Marksbury Farm Market.
Step 5: Add more protein. The cheese will give you some protein and staying power, but you can also add tuna, chicken, bacon, whatever you like. I oftentimes only add walnuts or almonds to make it more filling.
Step 6: Top with croutons or another grain if you like. I often skip this step.
Step 7: Finish with your favorite dressing. You can easily make your own or squirt on something you already have.
For this salad, I used a variety of leaf lettuces, strawberries, Colby cheese, walnuts, Kalamata olives and Italian dressing. It was the perfect lunch for a warm day.