Get Springy With Light, Organic, Healthy Salads!

Today as the beautiful spring weather continues, let’s feed your Goddess (YOU!) with light, fresh, nutritious ingredients from your local garden or market. As spring and summer come quickly, this is the best time to help yourself to fresh, organic, and healthy fruits and veggies. It is very important to take care of yourself and feed yourself the best food for your health and body. Most of the time as the weather sizzles, we think about getting “beach ready” but we do not always think about our health! Getting more organic veggies in you can give you glowing skin, a lean body, and more energy. There’s no reason not to get yourself a garden fresh salad for lunch or dinner!

We encourage you to try these springy salad recipes from the always lovely Cultured Cook!

balsamic-strawberry-saladSpring is in the Air…and on the Plate

It’s strawberry season!  Not to mention chive season and lettuce season.  Cool evenings and not-too-hot days make for smoother, softer-tasting chives (as the season progresses, they get more and more oniony) and sweeter, softer-tasting lettuce (hot days = more bitter leaves).  All of that means it’s the perfect time to enjoy simple salads, either as main courses or sweet sides.  This balsamic-splashed berry salad would be fantastic with grilled/sautéed chicken or shrimp, or you could toss with with cooked whole grains to make a heartier meal.

Balsamic Strawberry & Broccoli Salad

Figure on about 1 crown of broccoli, a handful of lettuce, and 6 strawberries per person.  Recipe can be made to accommodate any number of diners.

Organic strawberries, sliced (since strawberries are our #1 most-sprayed crop, it’s worth paying an extra dollar or two for organic strawberries)
Mixed baby lettuce OR baby spinach
Cooked broccoli (simmer for 5 minutes in gently boiling water, then drain)
Fresh chives, minced
Balsamic vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
Poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Toss strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, and chives together in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and oil in 1:1 proportions (start with 1 T. of each and add equal parts of more if the salad seems too dry). Garnish with poppy seeds if desired when serving. This salad would also be wonderful with hard-boiled eggs, grilled/sautéed chicken, or even grilled/sautéed shrimp.


shrimp-and-feta-sladCréme de la Mer

Compared to fish, clams, scallops, mussels – even lobster – shrimp strikes me as the richest, smoothest morsel of the sea.  Wild shrimp are especially sweet and creamy.  The only trick is not to overcook them into tough rubberiness.  Seeing as everyone loves a speedy and delicious dinner, though, the fact that they cook so quickly makes shrimp more of an asset than a liability.  Add in a ripe, ultra-creamy avocado, tender greens, and some salty-sharp Feta, and you have a swanky nouvelle California kind of meal in fewer than ten minutes.  (And assuming that you’re serving 4 or already have one or two of the main ingredients on hand, your swanky meal will cost less than $5 a plate.)

Shrimp, Feta & Avocado Salad

Serves 4 for lunch or a light dinner.  Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Several handfuls mixed lettuce OR baby spinach
2 avocadoes, chopped
Feta cheese, preferably made from sheep or goat milk and preferably not pre-crumbled (the pre-crumbled type is dry and not nearly as tasty as the brick in brine)
Lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. raw shrimp, preferably wild (cleaning them yourself isn’t hard and is a whole lot less expensive than buying ready-to-eat shrimp: just peel away and discard the shell [leave the tail attached if you prefer that look], run a knife along the top length of the shrimp so that you can pull out the dark cord visible just beneath the skin, and rinse well with cold water)

Prepare the salad base by gently tossing the lettuce and avocado with the Feta. (I like to chop my Feta before sprinkling it on my salads, but you could also cut it into slices or wedges.) Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and oil in about a 1:1 ratio, starting with 1 T. of each and adding more to taste. Add a dash of salt and pepper and divide the portions onto plates.

To cook the shrimp, heat a pat of butter or ghee in a large skillet over medium heat for 1 minute or until butter is sizzling. (You could use a splash of extra-virgin olive oil instead, but the butter will brown the shrimp a little more nicely than the oil will.) Add shrimp and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent shrimp from sticking. Use tongs to flip a shrimp over to see if it’s pink underneath. If it is, flip all of them over and cook for another minute or two until shrimp are pink on both sides and are starting to curl inwards.

Immediately remove from heat and top individual salads with shrimp.


Recipes courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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