In the winter I tend to cook hot dishes—chili with frozen peppers and tomatoes from our summer garden; stir fry with overwintered carrots, spinach, and green onions; hot soup with potatoes, kale, and garlic. But in the spring, when I can see tiny little lettuce and carrot and spinach and beet leaves pushing their way out of the soil, I want to eat directly and immediately out of the earth.
So we’re going to start this spring with a series of salad recipes, ways to eat your produce fresh and raw. We’re going to try to keep it simple. We’re busy, like you are, but we never want to be too busy to share and enjoy a good meal.
Start by mixing together 4 cups of greens–baby salad mix, baby spinach, baby beet greens, Asian greens–whatever you prefer. Put the greens in your favorite salad serving dish, and set aside.
Next, get those toppings ready. Trim and chop a green onion or two, slice an avocado, and grab one handful of cashews, another handful dried lo mein noodles. Evenly sprinkle these over your greens.
Before you dig in, don’t forget the dressing! Almost any dressing works with this versatile salad, but I like to use a recipe for Oriental Dressing, given to me by Sarah Oudman. Mix together rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and a touch of sesame oil in a jar (or, in my case, a recycled Grolsch beer bottle) and shake well. This dressing is delicious but strong—advice from Farmer Dan: Dress lightly to enjoy the full flavors of the greens!
This salad works great as a side, but you can easily make into your main dish by adding more protein like sliced fried eggs, bleu cheese, grilled chicken, or chickpeas.
What’s your favorite salad recipe? What kind of salads would you like to see featured on the blog?
Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma