14 Recipes Filled with Spring’s Best Greens

A mélange of warm and cool, main-meal salads signal the start of spring.

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As temperatures begin to rise, the refreshing crunch of lettuce leaves is a welcome addition to plates and bowls. And while the days are getting warmer, nights can still be cool, so it’s a great time of year to mix warm salad fixings with cooler greens. These colorful salads are substantial enough as a one-dish meal, or they can be served on the side with just about any entrée or soup.
Mexicali Salad
Simple Spinach Salad
Vegan Caesar Salad
Marinated Kale Salad
Potato Spinach Salad
California Chef’s Salad

Grains & Greens 
One of my favorite salads combines warm grains with olives and greens. The fastest cooking grains are quinoa and kasha, taking only 15 minutes each. Grains also reheat nicely with a few tablespoons of water, getting a main-meal salad to the table in just minutes.
Sushi Rice Salad
Quinoa, Avocado, and Sweet Potato Timbale
Grilled Vegetable Salad
Grains & Greens Salad
Orzo Herb Pesto Pasta Salad

Dressing Hints
To eliminate an extra dish to wash, dress salads as they do in Italy: Mix the dressing ingredients directly into the salad bowl, add the greens, and toss. Alternatively, simply drizzle greens with olive oil and vinegar before serving. Seasoned rice vinegar, straight from the bottle, makes a delicious, quick, and healthy dressing for any salad. Only dress as much salad as you and your family can eat-greens last much longer in the refrigerator if not dressed.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
Eleven Island Dressing
“Honey” Mustard Dressing

Professional Prep
If you’re venturing past the bite-sized simplicity of spinach and baby greens, cutting a head or romaine or bunch of kale can seem more difficult than it is. For a salad that’s as easy on the eyes as it is the palette, follow these simple steps. First, salad greens, especially if purchased from a farmers’ market, should always be washed thoroughly. Holding down the root side of a head of lettuce (or base of whichever greens you choose) on a cutting board, make cuts lengthwise from the root to the open end with a sharp chef’s knife. Rotate the lettuce a quarter turn, and cut again. Repeat this two more times, and cut the leaves widthwise, starting at the open end and moving toward the root. Immerse the cut leaves in a large bowl of cold water, and then rinse and spin dry in a salad spinner or drain in a colander. You can also gather the leaves in a large piece of muslin, firmly grasp all of the edges, and swing outside. The centrifuge action will dry the leaves, and muslin is affordable and easy to find.

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