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The days grow longer and spring is in the air–well, almost. With the promise of warmer weather comes the urge to change the menu, eat lighter and snip fresh goodies from the garden. If cold weather calls for salads with cheeses, nuts and winter berries, spring shouts out for ingredients like baby greens, mint, asparagus, new onions and fresh herbs. A citrus-based dressing and a splash of spring fruit can turn an everyday salad into a celebration of the season.
Asparagus, Orange and Basil Salad
This salad combines some of spring’s best ingredients to create a tangy, refreshing and healthful salad. Young asparagus provides one of spring’s first harvests and is satisfying as a side dish or as a salad element. Serves 6-8.
Mix dressing well and toss with remaining ingredients until coated.
Simple Peas and Prosciutto
The sweet baby peas and mint in this recipe give it real spring pizzazz. Sweet baby peas can be sprinkled over almost any salad to add color and character but in this dish they are the stars of the show. While many pea salads call for a mayonnaise dressing, this one offers a much lighter approach, letting the flavor of the fresh ingredients shine. Serves 8.
Blanch the peas and submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process. They should pop a little when you bite them.
Mix the olive oil with the salt and pepper. Toss the peas in olive oil mixture. Gently add mint and chunks of prosciutto to peas until coated.
Strawberry, Avocado and Spring Onion
These flavorful ingredients are a must as soon as the warmer weather arrives. Depending on where you live, avocado and strawberries may not be available until later in the season or even until summer. As soon as they come to market, nab them for a delicious and colorful salad that can be served as a light lunch or for a side at dinner. Serves 6-8.
Toss with your favorite balsamic or poppy seed vinaigrette.
Fennel and Orange Salad
Refreshing and scrumptious, this salad can be tossed with all the ingredients to integrate the flavors or it can be assembled on the plate with the fennel and orange atop the lettuces for a pretty presentation. Serves 6.