I wish I could tell you we spend as much time cooking as we do farming, but it’s not true. At least not in spring. One of us is out in the field by 7:00 am, and often back out again after dinner. We balance garden time with toddler time, and more often mix the two together.
Spring is the busiest time of year on our farm, and we balance it with quick and easy salads that highlight the season’s harvests.
In spring I crave fresh, green, bitter, and light. The bitterness associated with lettuce and dandelion help our bodies purify after the winter’s requisite fat and protein filled meals. There are spicy greens, too, like arugula and mizuna, that wake us up with a kick. And then there are the shoots that speed their way from seed to harvest for a truly fast springtime meal.
“If green had a taste, this would be it,” a friend told me, after eating a handful of pea shoots.
We turn to salads of all sorts in the spring.
It never gets boring, though. Change up the protein, the greens, the toppings and dressing, and you’ll have a new flavor and texture each time.
Here are the building blocks of our farm salads:
- Pea Shoots
- Baby Kale
- Beans: black and garbanzo are our favorite, but any variety will work
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Roasted Chicken or Turkey (left overs from dinner)
- Cheese: cheddar, chevre, blue, etc.
- Nuts: toasted walnuts, cashews and almonds are our favorites
- Sesame Seeds
- Grated Beets and Carrots
- Sliced Watermelon Radishes
- Salad turnips
- Snap peas
- Anything else you can think of!
*I’m a recipe-improv kind of cook, so take the ingredients below with a grain of salt 😉 and experiment to find the amounts that most please you. These are my three favorite dressings:
- Maple-Tahini: mix tahini, olive oil, and maple syrup
- Basil & Peach Vinaigrette: mix peach white balsamic vinegar with basil infused olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper in to taste; add stone-ground mustard for a fuller texture
- Maple Balsamic: mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper; add dijon mustard for a maple-mustard vinaigrette
Build Your Salad
There are times we think ahead and prepare our ingredients at night or in the morning before heading out to the fields. Most of the time, though, we don’t. That’s why I love salads so much. 10 minutes to boil an egg. 2 minutes to open and rinse a can of beans. A few more minutes to chop the toppings and shake the dressing together.
Mix and match, top and dress. With these building blocks, you’ll always find a salad to fill your belly and delight your taste buds.