Cherry blossoms, azaleas, daffodils, and steadily increasing daylight can only mean one thing: spring is taking hold of the Northwest.
If you’re tiring of chard, kale, and root vegetables, take heart. An ever-increasing local bounty will be at your fingertips as warm weather and sunlight help us shed the cloudy blanket of winter. Farmers markets are stocking exciting ingredients for a spring salad like foraged mushrooms, nettles, berries, spring lettuce, and much more.
It’s a wonderful palette to design a spring salad with, and as the season brightens towards summer, you’ll have a wider range of items to experiment with. Farmers markets are the perfect place to shop. The vendors often have plenty of ideas for new uses of familiar ingredients, and they can suggest how to use something you’ve never eaten before.
If you’re hoping to add a bit more protein to your spring salad, consider checking out a locally-made cheese, some fresh-caught salmon, or locally-farmed chicken.
Butter Lettuce, Asparagus and Radish Spring Salad
Many farmers—and gardeners— cover tender butter lettuce over the winter so that once the light returns in spring, the lettuces are growing again and ready to eat. These sweet, soft greens pair excellently with bitter, slightly spicy radishes, which are starting to crop up too. Add some asparagus, which is available for a very short time right now.
Try this recipe by Martha Stewart
Cauliflower, Spring Peas, Mint and Yogurt Spring Salad
Cauliflower adds a stellar flavor when eaten raw, and it pairs well with the spring peas you’ll soon find at farmers markets and groceries. Add a bit of that wily mint that’s finally making a comeback after laying dormant all winter and some local yogurt for a wonderful balance of flavors.
Recipe courtesy of Feasting at Home
Farro and Lentil Spring Salad
Tender greens like sorrel and baby arugula are in season now, and they’re made sweet from the lingering cold mornings. If you can, pick up some local grains like farro, which add texture and fiber. Protein-rich lentils, too, can be found from eastern Washington farmers.
Recipe courtesy of The Luna Cafe
Porcini Spring Salad
Porcini mushrooms are dense and meaty, perfect for pairing with tender lettuces and a lively cider vinaigrette. This recipe recommends pairing the salad with salmon and asparagus for a complete meal.
Recipe courtesy of Fat of the Land