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Is anybody else anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer?
I feel like this is my umpteenth blog post complaining about the weather, buttttttt…..
It might be what I’m really good at!
Just kidding. It’s actually not too bad here right now – it’s been relatively chilly and rainy, but the snow is gone and the days are getting longer, so there’s not much to complain about.
But now that the garden is (mostly) planted, I’m just ready to start enjoying the harvest! We’ve got some time before that happens, but I’ve been collecting salad recipes so that I can enjoy the fruits of my labor once that glorious day arrives.
While my harvests over the next couple of months will mostly consist of spinach, radishes, kale, and lettuce, I’m super excited to make some big batches of these salads this summer.
They’re some of my favorites – and I think you’ll love them, too!
1. Strawberry Bacon Salad
Who doesn’t love strawberry and bacon?! To make things even better, you can add some fresh goat cheese and a honey lime vinaigrette to really top this beauty off. If you’re looking for a light (yet savory) dinner, this option is the way to go. It’s also a great way to use up that leftover bacon!
The reason why this salad tastes so great is that the sweetness of the strawberries is contrasted by the deep, sultry flavor of the bacon. The balsamic gives it a spicy extra kick and it feels entirely decadent while still being super healthy.
Here’s how to make it.
- ¼ cup goat cheese
- ½ cup dried cranberries (you can sub raisins if desired)
- 6 slices bacon
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 Tbsp mint leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp honey
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1. Start by making your vinaigrette so you can chill it in the refrigerator while you are prepping the salad. You should whisk all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, but leave out the olive oil. You can add the olive oil at the end.
2. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
3. Next, sprinkle some sliced strawberries onto a serving dish. Top with the bacon, cranberries, goat cheese, and nuts. You can then drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and garnish with the mint.
Extra Tip: This salad can be served on its own, or if you’re looking to up your intake of fresh greens, you can serve it over a bed of spinach. It’s quite tasty either way!
2. Zoodle, Shrimp, and Pineapple Salad
When I first purchased my spiralizer, I spent weeks looking for the perfect recipe. Unfortunately, my hand-crank spiralizer broke after just a few weeks of use. Luckily, I was able to upgrade to a more advanced one, and now I spiralize my zucchini, carrots, and other vegetables using an attachment on my KitchenAid.
A hand spiralizer like this one will work just fine and it’s a great option if you are budget-conscious. However, if you don’t have a stand mixer and it is in your budget to purchase one, I can’t recommend it enough.
A KitchenAid, in my opinion, is an absolute must for a homestead kitchen. You can do everything from mix dough to spiralize vegetables to core apples – you can even purchase meat grinding attachments. I highly recommend this one, but any model will really do.
Anyway, here are the details on this recipe.
It’s an ultra tasty option that incorporates all the finest flavors of warm weather. You can sub out a lot of the ingredients depending on what you have in your kitchen, but I like the combination of zucchini noodles, pineapples, and jumbo shrimp myself. Get creative and see what you can come up with! This recipe is absolutely to die for.
- 4 cups of shrimp
- 1 large pineapple, cored and sliced
- 4 zucchinis, spiralized
- 1 onion, spiralized
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Thai sweet sauce
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mint leaves to garnish
1. Begin by heating your olive oil in a saucepan. Place the shrimp in the pan, and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Cook for eight minutes, flipping once. Remember that the exact cooking time will vary depending on the size of the shrimp.
2. Whisk the Thai sweet sauce, vinegar, and seasonings together to prepare the salad dressing. This should go in the refrigerator until the salad is prepared.
3. Place your shrimp, pineapple, zucchini, and onions into a bowl. Drizzle them with salad dressing just before you are ready to eat, and toss the bowl to combine. You should garnish with chopped mint leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.
Extra Tip: Don’t make this salad ahead of time. Zucchini produces a lot of water as it rests, and you’ll be left with a soggy mess!
3. Tomato and Asparagus Salad
Who doesn’t love fresh spring asparagus? If you haven’t already, you’ve got to head over to my roundup of the best asparagus recipes to see some other popular uses for this springtime staple.
If you’re pressed for time or looking for a nice, cool dish, however, you should whip up this tomato and asparagus salad. It has a great flavor, as the roasted tomatoes add a sweet and savory flavor to your dish.
Plus, you can add cheese. What’s not to love?
- Large bunch of asparagus, with the ends trimmed
- 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp basil
- Salt, pepper, and garlic (to taste)
- Parmesan or Asiago cheese, to taste
1. Sorry, but this recipe is one you’ll have to use the oven for (albeit briefly). Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
2. While the oven is heating up, prepare your dressing. To do this, simply combine half of your olive oil (½ Tbsp) with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.
3. Next, prepare your tomatoes. Place them on a baking sheet and toss them with your remaining olive oil, a bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Roast them in the oven for about ten minutes. You should allow plenty of time for your tomatoes to burst.
4. While your tomatoes are cooking, trim the asparagus spears. You should keep the spears off to the side and then use a peeler to get thin shavings of the asparagus.
5. Place all of your vegetables in a bowl and toss with the dressing.
6. Top with cheese and enjoy!
Extra Tip: You can sprinkle shaker cheese on top of this salad, but I find that there is really no better way to garnish a salad than to add freshly shaved cheese. Using a high quality vegetable peeler or paring knife will help you get that nice edge and crisp flavor that you’re looking for here.
4. Watermelon Radish Salad
Ok, so this recipe doesn’t actually have watermelon in it (bummer). But you could definitely add watermelon as a dessert if you wanted to!
Watermelon radishes are gorgeous little vegetables, usually about the size of baseballs. These are closely related to Daikon radishes and look much like watermelons. They have a strong peppery flavor and grow well in cold weather – making them a springtime staple!
- 3 tangerines
- 2-3 watermelon radishes
- 6 Tbsp goat cheese
- ½ cup almonds
- 4 Tbsp chives
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
1. Begin by segmenting your tangerines with a paring knife. Place them in a small bowl and squeeze the juice out of one of the tangerines.
2. The juice should be combined with your vinegar and honey. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and your radishes. Let them sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Once the radishes have softened (this is merely a matter of taste – you can wait for more or less time than the thirty minutes listed), you can add the orange segments and top the mixture with your cheese, nuts, and chives.
Extra Tip: Pickle your radishes for an extra burst of flavor! It adds an extra step, but it is 100 percent worth it.
5. April Cobb Salad
Who doesn’t love a good Cobb salad?! It’s equal parts decadent and healthy and despite being a staple in most restaurants, often leans more toward the fatty than the nutritious.
However, this recipe takes a lot of the heft out of the salad by replacing some of the fattier ingredients with extra vegetables. If you’re feeling like your arteries aren’t quite clogged enough, you can always add more cheese.
I’m going to include a list of ingredients, but know that many of them can be substituted, swapped, or removed depending on your taste preferences.
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- ¼ tsp basil
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 6 slices of bacon
- 14 asparagus spears
- 6 small radishes
- ½ cup grilled and marinated artichoke hearts
- 6 radishes, sliced thin
- 1 large egg, hard-boiled and sliced thin
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 5 ounces gorgonzola cheese
- 1 head of butter lettuce (you can substitute spinach or another type of lettuce)
1. Begin by preparing your dressing. All you need to do is whisk the lemon juice, garlic, honey, vinegar, basil, pepper, and salt. Add a bit of olive oil toward the end. Place in the refrigerator and allow it to cool.
2. Cook your bacon in a skillet on medium-low heat. Cook it until it is crispy and the fat has rendered. Remove any excess grease by straining the bacon on a paper towel. You can leave a bit of fat in the skillet.
3. Add your asparagus to the skillet and season with a small amount of pepper. Saute it until it is tender (usually about three minutes).
4. Combine the rest of your ingredients in a bowl.
5. Add the bacon and dressing to your salad.
Extra Tip: Use an avocado slicer to make cutting the avocado a bit easier. I am God-awful at cutting avocados, but this tool makes it a heck of a lot easier.
6. Avocado and Kale Salad
If the last recipe didn’t have enough avocado-y goodness for you, try this one on for size! Kale and avocado – two superfoods in one. Doesn’t get much better than that, right?
If you aren’t already growing kale in your hoop house or raised beds, you need to start. This vegetable grows well throughout much of the winter in many places, particularly if you have a partially enclosed environment to protect it from the elements.
Therefore, if you’re like many gardeners, you probably find yourself with a bounty of it in the spring. Serve it up in this tasty, nutritious salad – you will feel super virtuous and you won’t feel nearly as guilty for eating that lunchtime cheeseburger!
- 3 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 5 cups of kale without the stems
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 sliced avocado
- 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Begin by preparing your dressing. Simply toss all of the ingredients in a jar and shake it well.
2. Put the kale in a mixing bowl and add a bit of salt. You should shake the two ingredients together until the kale has wilted, or for about two minutes.
3. Add the remainder of your ingredients and toss until combined.
4. Add your dressing, and toss again.
5. Serve and enjoy!
Extra Tip: If the ½ cup parmesan cheese prescribed in the ingredient list makes you nervous, don’t let it. You can definitely add more! Or less, if you’re one of those people.
7. Flower Garden Harvest Salad
I’ve read a lot of blog posts lately about all the wildflowers you can harvest and eat from your backyard. This salad combines wild and cultivated flowers, many of which you may have growing on your property.
You can use a whole host of flowers (check out my list of the best plants for pollinators you can grow in case you are looking for a more comprehensive list!) from your own property. Keep it interesting by trying out different flowers each time you make this tasty salad!
Here are some flowers you can choose from:
- Citrus blossoms
The list is extensive – just make sure you check out this list of toxic flowers so you don’t have to worry about a frantic trip to the ER instead of enjoying a relaxed, leisurely dinner! Also make sure you only use the blossoms, as other parts of edible flowers can sometimes be inedible.
- 5 ounces of greens (any kind will do, but a mixture is best)
- 1 sweet Vidalia onion
- Assorted flowers
- ¼ cup of dressing
1. Slice the onion into thin rounds. Separate the rings.
2. Place your chosen dressing in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Place the greens and onions atop the dressing.
3. Sprinkle your flowers across the top of the mix, and toss just before you serve the salad.
Extra Tip: You can use any kind of dressing for this salad, but I’d recommend avoiding a creamy dressing like Ranch or Blue Cheese. A light vinaigrette or even just oil and vinegar work best.
What are your favorite salad recipes? Let me know in the comments! Subscribe to our email newsletter for regular tips and tricks on homesteading – wherever you are. You can also follow us on Instagram (@jrpiercefamilyfarm) and Pinterest (J&R Pierce Family Farm) for frequent updates. Happy homesteading!