The beginning of spring and warmer weather helps to set the mood for reawakening our senses and stomach. It also helps me to transition from heartier winter soups to lighter spring salads. Adding a few of these spring ready ingredients will add flavor to your spring dining meals.
The tiny spherical of sweet goodness packs a yummy punch and adds substance to your salad. You can serve them cold on your lettuce while mixing them with boiled eggs and bacon to add to the flavor. Salads containing green peas pair with a creamy or vinaigrette dressing the best. Another way I enjoy green peas is by serving them warm with onions for one of my favorite side dishes.
Yes, you read that right! I immediately put it on my “must try” list. A cactus plant is usually one of the only plants that I can keep alive, and so I was determined to try it. The fleshy oval leaves of the prickly pear cactus are used and the thorns can be removed easily with a vegetable peeler. Cut the pads down and simmer them until tender. Add them to your salad and Voila! You have a unique new dish just by adding 1 new ingredient. The taste can be compared to that of a green bean, but definitely sounds more exotic if you announce that you added cactus to your salad.
“Eat your broccoli!” my mom always emphasized. This is not one of my favorite vegetables by any stretch, but mom is always right. Broccoli is adored by some and tolerated by others. Me being the latter must save face and hopefully not pass down the dislike to my children. I’ll add broccoli to my salad to plump it up and ensure I am getting nutrients that it offers. Although, I am thankful for the salad dressing.
My mouth just waters when I switch out iceberg lettuce for butter lettuce. It is also referred to as Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce if you are looking for it at the grocery store or farmers market. I enjoy the mildly sweet taste and the texture which can sometimes be a problem for salads. Butter lettuce is versatile in a strange way by being soft enough for salads but also tough enough to make wraps. Lettuce wraps are a yummy way to enjoy butter lettuce and all your other salad ingredients in case you forget your fork. Next time you visit your local market pick up and enjoy the best of what spring cuisine can offer.