Spring Salads – Loving Those Greens!

Spring Salads – Loving those Greens!

Spring salad greens are here!  If you don’t like salad, maybe you just haven’t tried the right greens yet!  There are many great varieties that have more nutrition and flavor than those boring iceberg leaves!  Try them alone or make your own mix.  Of course, if iceberg is your thing, that’s alright too.  You may wish to start out by mixing a few new flavors into your usual salad.

Greens to try in salads:

  • Arugula – also called “Rocket” – this dark green adds a nice spicy/peppery flavor
  • Baby field greens – usually a mix of red and green lettuces, may contain other greens and fresh herbs
  • Endive – the curly kind is more common, it tends to be crisp and slightly bitter
  • Frisee – feathery and pale green, frisee adds texture and bitter flavor
  • Escarole – looks like leaf lettuce, with a mild spicy and bitter taste
  • Radicchio – purpley red with white veins, adds crunch and “bite”
  • Mizuna – spike-leaved and spicy flavored

amazing grace lettuce

Washing and Storage

Most greens will store best unwashed.  If you plan to eat the greens within a few days, you may want to wash them ahead of time and have them ready to go.  (Ready-to-eat greens may be more likely to actually get eaten.)  The key to storage is to keep the fresh greens dry.  Swish the greens in several changes of fresh water, then use a salad spinner or towels to get most of the moisture out.   A salad spinner with a solid bowl is great for washing and drying.  Add a splash of food grade hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar to the wash water on the first or second wash.  Finally, spin or blot dry.  Store in a refrigerator container or zippered bag.

Dressing and Serving

Homemade salad dressing is a quick and simple way to ensure that you are eating fresh, high quality oils while avoiding unnecessary additives.  Both the oil and the vinegar help with digestion and absorption of the nutrients in your salad.  Store your fresh dressing in the fridge for up to a week, but bring it to room temperature and shake well before serving.  If purchasing a pre-made dressing, look for one made with extra virgin olive oil.  Avoid canola and soybean oils, artificial additives, msg and excess sodium.

Basic Salad Dressing (recipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions)

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (Paeleon Olive Oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red wine and rice vinegars are all good choices)
  • 1 tablespoon expeller-pressed flax oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Place all ingredients in a pint-sized mason jar.  Put the lid on tightly and shake vigorously until emulsified.  Serve immediately or re-shake as needed.

Salad with Blue Cheese

Dressing Add-ins/ Variations

  • Garlic: 1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
  • Herb: 1 teaspoon finely chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, tarragon, basil, oregano)
  • Creamy: ¼ cup creme fraiche or yogurt plus ¼ cup quality mayonnaise
  • Blue Cheese: 2-4 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • Sun Dried Tomato: 1 tsp. sun-dried tomato flakes and 1 tsp. chopped chives or green onions.

Healthy “Ranch” Dressing

  • ½ cup whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup quality mayonnaise or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Whisk everything together with a fork and serve over greens or as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies.

Upcoming Wellness Wednesday Classes at Basics Cooperative

Think Outside the Box with Local Mac & Cheese, 6 – 7 pm, June 17th

June is dairy month, and we think you’ll be inspired to get creative with local cheese in a favorite comfort food.  Dairy and gluten free recipes will be included.

Preserving the Harvest with Fermentation, 6 – 7 pm, July 15th

Learn to make your own live, fermented vegetables.  We’ll cover sauerkraut and its variations, along with some fermented veggies that may be new to you.

Join us at the Janesville Farmers Market Saturdays 8am – 1pm
on West Wall Street in Downtown Janesville.

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