Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Favorite Simple Salads

Around this time every year I get a case of Spring Fever. One of the symptoms is a strong craving for FRESH, light foods. At lunch time I let me kids eat their regular picky-kid lunches: peanut butter & honey or mac & cheese. But I make myself a big bowl of salad -- just the way I like it. Here are some of my favorite, simple salads that use just a few ingredients and always leave me wanting (and often making myself) more. There are worse things to crave, right? Oh -- does it cancel out the health benefits if I find myself drinking the dressing left in the bottom of my bowl? Here they are, my current Favorite Simple Salads....

Spanish- Style Avocado & Tomato Salad
I call this "Spanish-Style" because my sister who served an LDS Mission in Barcelona, Spain once told me that they make amazing salads with nothing but lime juice, olive oil, and salt for the dressing. I was  23 and it was the first time I realized you could create a perfectly dressed salad with simple, fresh ingredients AND without one of the Big 4 (Ranch, Italian, French, Thousand Island)...WHAT?!  This has been a salad that people often ask me for the "recipe" for. Sadly, I never measure so I don't have a recipe; sometimes it comes out perfect, sometimes soggy, and sometimes needs a little more this or that. But this is how I make it:
Chopped Lettuce (Romaine, Green or Red Leaf are my favs)
Tomatoes, diced
Avocado, diced
Red Onion, finely diced or sliced

Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Lemon or Lime, juiced

Caprese-Style Spinach Salad

I love what Balsamic Vinegar does to tomatoes and some Mozzarella. Buy a big bag of Spinach next time you go to the store and making a quick salad for lunch is a breeze.

Tomatoes, diced
Mozzarella Cheese, cubed (confession: I usually cut up string-cheese)

Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Balsamic Vinegar

Radish & Cucumber Salad
Alright, so I don't normally have Radishes in my fridge, but we got a bunch in Saturday's Bountiful Basket (Food Co-op), along with a beautiful English Cucumber. After browsing Pinterest for some inspiration, I came up with this combo. I liked it so much (and so did my toddler!?!?) that I thought it was worth remembering and sharing. 

3-5 Radishes, thinly sliced
Half of an English Cucumber, diced or sliced
Spinach or Spring Mix

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon, juiced
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Parsley Flakes

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