Summer is almost here! It’s hard to believe, I know. The frost we got this past week and the fuzzy pajamas I’ve been living in lately feel more like winter than like the tail end of spring. However, with the first two weeks of May behind us already (I don’t even know how that happened), we’re careening down the calendar pages right toward the height of summer. That means our produce is bulking up and our greens are a-growin’! You may find yourself like me, with a refrigerator full of beautiful looking greens and only so many ideas on how to fit them into your day. For this, I feel it’s important to remember that I don’t have to re-invent the wheel. And instead, I turn to my standard Salad-As-A-Meal outline (feel free to alter the portion sizes):
1 cup greens + ¼ cup protein + antioxidant boost + toppings
● Greens - We have lots of greens available at our weekly farmstands/CSA pick-ups: salad mix, arugula, spicy mix, braising mix, spinach, many types of kale, chard, etc.
● Protein - pasture-raised chicken, wild-caught salmon, hard-boiled eggs, beans
● Antioxidant boost - carrots, peppers, snap peas, radishes
● Toppings - experiment with different nuts, seeds, cheeses, and dried fruits. Nuts and seeds can also be stored in a bag or small container for a quick on-the-go snack (or at least are a better snack option than chips during that long quarantine Hulu binge). Toppings to try could include: crumbled feta, goat cheese, gorgonzola, or farm-style cut cheddar, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, sliced almonds, hazelnut halves, cashew pieces, walnut halves, peanuts, dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.
Of course, I’m biased but I think our bagged greens are not only delicious but are also easy and convenient for on-the-go lunches or last-minute dinners. They can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or longer - I’ve definitely stored mine for a little over two weeks in the past and they still looked and tasted great! And when you combine them with a few other produce items and on-hand pantry goods, they make satisfying meals that will leave you feeling full and fueled!
The following recipe is a new favorite I found by April Bloomfield:
8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
4 cups arugula, thick stems trimmed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves plus more for serving
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves plus more for serving
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
Flaky sea salt
1 pound burrata or fresh buffalo mozzarella
Cut pea pods in half lengthwise, leaving some peas on each side of pods. Combine peas, arugula, 1/4 cup basil, and 1/4 cup mint in a large bowl. Add oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and toss to coat. Season salad with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.
Tear open balls of burrata (if using buffalo mozzarella, slice 1/2-inch thick) and arrange on a platter. Top with salad and more basil and mint.
Don’t forget, you can always experiment with different cooked vs. uncooked ingredient options.
What are some of your favorite spring salads?