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Savory Spring Salads

Along with the pleasant spring weather and longer days, come a variety of new options in the produce department. If you have had your fill of winter’s heavier comfort foods, now is a great time to enjoy the fresh, lighter tastes of spring. By combining fresh produce with lean grilled poultry, meats or veggies, you can create a delicious, healthy meal easy to put together even on a busy weeknight. Toss in beans, chick peas or cheese for added protein and flavor.

While it is a little bit extra work, making your own dressing is a key element in a really excellent spring salad. You can avoid the preservatives and additives used in most bottled versions, and the taste is far superior. Dressing can also be customized to your taste or dietary requirements. “Light” versions of homemade dressing are delicious and don’t have the off taste that you typically find with the bottled variety.

Here are a few of my favorite spring salad combinations. Enjoy!

Lemony Arugula Salad

This is a great salad as a starter for a spring dinner. I prefer using very little oil, keeping the texture of the arugula fresh and slightly crunchy. The nutty flavor of the greens is complimented by the tanginess of the lemon. The result is a simple, yet elegant presentation.

Balsamic Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Salad

This salad comes together very easily in a few steps, and offers a nice complexity of flavors. To add a Mediterranean flair, top with crumbled feta cheese and sliced olives. One the dish is assembled, the balsamic mixture on the eggplant and the juices from the tomatoes mix together to make a tangy dressing.

Steak Salad with Creamy Greek Dressing

This is a great main course spring dinner. The dressing is rich and flavorful, and a little goes a very long way. Keep it light by using reduced-fat feta, with all of the flavors you’ll never miss the fat. Serve with warm pita and a side of hummus for a complete meal.

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Ingredients

Lemony Arugula Salad

Yield: Serves 4 (appetizer portion)
8 oz fresh arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
2 TSBP olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Balsamic Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Salad

Yield: Serves 6
8 oz spring mix
2 large eggplants, thinly sliced
4 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TSP salt, divided
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 TSP fresh lime juice (or to taste)
Optional: crumbled feta cheese & sliced olives

Steak Salad with Creamy Greek Dressing

Yield: 4 Servings

Greek Dressing
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 TSP dried oregano
1/4 TSP freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP minced green pepper

Salad
1 lb flank steak
Cooking/Grill Spray
8 cups romaine lettuce
1 tomato cut into small wedges
1/2 red onion – thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper – thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber – thinly sliced
8 large greek olives – pitted and sliced
Salt & Pepper

Instructions

Lemony Arugula Salad

Place arugula in large salad bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Top with shaved parmesan.

Balsamic Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Salad

1. Place sliced eggplant, oil vinegar and 1/2 TSP salt in large zip-lock bag. Seal bag and turn and coat eggplant well. Refrigerate 1 hour, turning occasionally.

2. In small bowl combine tomatoes, basil, cilantro, lime juice and remaining 1/2 TSP of salt. Stir well. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

3. Place eggplant on hot prepared grill. Grill turning once, brushing often with marinade. Grill until golden brown and tender (approx. 5-10 minutes).

4. Layer spring mix on platter, top with grilled eggplant, and then tomato mixture. Top with crumbled feta cheese and olives if desired.

Steak Salad with Creamy Greek Dressing

Greek Dressing
In food processor or blender, combine cheese, lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, ground pepper and water – puree. Add bell pepper – puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Salad
1. Season steak with salt and pepper. Prepare grill with cooking spray and grill steak med-high for approximately 6-8 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare 145 degrees, medium 160 and well-done 170). Set aside to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into thin slices.

2. Place romaine in large bowl. Toss with red onion, red pepper, cucumber and dressing (just enough dressing to coat). Place mixture into individual salad bowls and top with grilled steak, tomato wedges and sliced olives. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Served with warm pita bread and a side of hummus for a complete meal. Enjoy!

by: Mandy DeCecco
Mandy is a Drexel University graduate and Philly area native. Mandy coordinates marketing, website and promotions for The Philadelphia Catering Company. She is always looking for creative and fresh ideas for home and catering.
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