Move Over, Iceberg: Fun and Flavorful Spring Salads

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Mixed Green Salad with Snow Peas, Grapes and Feta

Come spring, thoughts turn to vegetable gardens and flowers. It’s also a time to focus on crisp, fresh salads. At a recent Easter brunch, the Caesar salad was served in a glass – with the dressing at the base and tall romaine lettuce leaves and shaved parmesan “planted” in the glass. It was a wonderful reminder that spring was just around the corner and a great way to serve a salad – portable, visually pleasing and fun to eat.

That’s the way salads should be – fun, full of flavor and nutritious to boot. A great way to add interest (and nutrition) to your salads is to try a different type of green. The traditional, common iceberg is making way for the rich, deep greens of kale, arugula, collards and spinach. The richer and deeper the green, the more nutritional. The stronger the green, the better it does lightly sautéed or cooked in a quiche. [Related: All About Arugula, Spinach and Kale]

If you’re not used to stronger-flavored greens, try shredding them in a salad – either by hand (called chiffonade and done by rolling them together and slicing thinly with a knife) or with a food processor. Stronger flavored greens marry well with a strong vinaigrette or dressing. That’s the secret to a great salad – plenty of flavor, whether in the bacon vinaigrette added to a fresh spinach salad or the Cajun-flavored croutons in a Caesar salad. You can also boost flavor with a shake of Italian seasoning, feta or blue cheese, or freshly ground pepper, just before serving.

Here are some spring salad recipes to get you started on the season:

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