Salads are a diverse group, and yet… if you’re like me, when you hear the word “salad,” you have one image, one basic recipe type that comes to mind. My “one salad” is a tossed salad. I tend to forget about mayonnaise-based salads, gelatin-based salads, hot salads and all the other varieties. But once I remember, I am always amazed at the wide array of salads there are.
Just after winter, as the world melts into softer earth, ready to start sprouting fresh foods, water begins flowing again, and warmer weather encourages people to venture outdoors. My own family pounces on the first opportunity we find to eat our first spring meal outdoors. And salads really can be a spring food, bringing produce and spring themes to the table.
Easter Egg Salad
One of my family’s first salads of spring is directly related to Easter: egg salad! People tend to have plenty of hard-boiled eggs at Easter time and though we make plenty of deviled eggs to go with our Easter dinner, there are always plenty left over for egg salad.
Most of my salads are not made by exact measurement type recipes, but by made by eye, or what looks right. Then, if it looks right, by taste. So, if you have different preferences than my family, by all means, cut back on things you’d rather not have as much of, to make the end product more to your tastes.
8 hard-boiled eggs (dye optional)
1/8 – 1/4 Cup olive oil mayonnaise
1/8 – 1/4 Cup sour cream
1 – 3 Tablespoons prepared mustard
1/2 can medium black olives, minced
1 Tablespoon onion, minced
1 Tablespoon celery, minced (include leaves for added flavor)
1 Tablespoon dill relish
1/8 Cup fresh dill, cut fine with kitchen shears (no stems)
fresh ground sea salt & peppercorns to taste
Peel hard-cooked eggs & rinse in cold water. For ease of cutting, I use an egg slicer: cut through egg once, rotate 180° and slice again, stand egg up on end and slice a third time. This will give you perfect little cubes of egg to base your salad with.
Mix in mayonnaise, sour cream & mustard. Add remaining ingredients then stir gently until just blended. Salad may be eaten immediately, but for best flavor, let sit covered in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Serving suggestion: spread on bread or hearty crackers and add cheese.
Spicy Sprout Turkey Avocado Salad
Another thing that says Spring to me is sprouts. Many people think of sprouts as only bean or alfalfa as well as a vegetarian thing or a main ingredient, but they are quite excellent as flavor-enhancers in sandwiches and salads! My favorite types of sprouts are “spicy” sprouts, that have a lot of flavor, even as just-starting-out shoots: radish, garlic, mustard, broccoli, arugula – anything that has a strong flavor (if it has a strong flavor as a full-grown plant, chances are the sprouts will, too). This recipe actually came from a sandwich I love to make and I altered it into a salad.
cubed or shredded roast turkey or chicken (1 to 1 1/4 Cups per person)
hard boiled egg (sliced or wedged to your preference)
Swiss cheese, shredded large
tomato (sliced, cubed or wedged to your preference)
No exact measurements, here. Choose a serving bowl to make your salad in. Tear romaine & red lettuce into bite sized pieces and toss in bowl until just a bit less than half full. Toss in spicy sprouts to fill bowl about 3/4 full. Add turkey (or chicken) and Swiss cheese, toss gently to mix ingredients. Arrange tomato, egg & avocado on top in a decorative way. Serve as is (or add your favorite dressing, if you prefer; avocado or garlic cream-based dressing suggested) with an artisan, hearty-crust bread. Leftovers will also tuck nicely into a flat- or pita bread for a light lunch.
Green Jello Salad
I’ve seen this dish on the table at holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas at other houses, but my mom served it at Easter, so it is a Spring dish to my family. That light green color is rather Spring-like, as well, not to mention marshmallows! I realized this year that my kids expect Peeps & Bunnies in their baskets, but they don’t ever eat them, so next year, I think I will substitute chopped Peeps for mini marshmallows for a colorful twist.
3 oz package lime gelatin
1 Cup boiling water
1/4 Cup cold water
1/4 Cup pineapple juice
8 oz. package cream cheese, cubed or torn into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. crushed pineapple
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 Cup miniature marshmallows
Open gelatin and pour powder into bowl, add boiling water while stirring. Stir until completely dissolved (approximately 2 minutes). Add cold water, pineapple juice and cream cheese, stir well. Refrigerate until thickened but not set (approximately 2 hours). Add in nuts, pineapple and marshmallows, mix well. Pack into glass bowl or casserole dish, pressing firmly and smoothing the top. Refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours, until firm before serving.