Spring is a good time to invigorate your salads by adding fresh ingredients from the farmers markets or your own backyard.

Dandelions add a hefty dose of vitamin C. Fresh asparagus give a nice crunch. Strawberries provide a burst of color. Experiment with what you have. Violets are edible. My lovage, mint, and chives are up and ready to add their unique flavor to a plate of greens.

(See more of Lynn’s recipes HERE.)

If you need a potluck dish for a gathering, try the tabouli recipe. I include fresh asparagus, chives, mint, parsley, and green onions from the garden. This travels and keeps well. It is equally good served chilled or at room temperature.

Change up your dressings too. You can buy some wonderful bottled dressings that can be used for green salad; fruit salads; or as a marinade for grilled meats such as poultry, pork or salmon. However, it is east to make your own vinaigrette Exchange the cranberry juice concentrate for cherry or orange for a different flavor.

Change up your pasta salad by tossing with the honey French dressing instead of mayo.

Strawberry Fields Salad

This is a wonderful spring salad. Add cooked chopped chicken for a filling main course. It is quite delicious and a bit different.

Serves two

  • 3 cups assorted greens (romaine, red leaf lettuce, bibb, etc) torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 kiwi, cut in half, then sliced thinly
  • 3 strips crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fruit vinaigrette dressing

Combine greens, strawberries, kiwi, bacon and blue cheese and arrange on two chilled dinner plates.  Drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the top and serve.

Cranberry Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

  • 1/3 cup cranberry juice concentrate, unreconstituted
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup wine vinegar
  • Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until used. Will keep two to three weeks.

Tabouli with fresh asparagus

Serves 8

  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked cracked wheat or bulgur wheat
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions or 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsps. fine chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Juice of two lemons, about 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps. honey
  • 1 clove crushed fresh garlic
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine wheat, water and salt together in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let stand for one hour or until water has been absorbed. Mix wheat with asparagus, tomatoes, onions, mint and parsley.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, and pepper. Pour over wheat mixture and combine. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Honey French Dressing

Makes 3 cups

  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup catsup
  • 1/4 cup finely minced or grated onion

Mix all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Use on green salads, as a dressing for bean salads, or as a marinade for grilled meats or poultry.

Wisconsin author Lynn Greene has written “Lynn’s Place” for numerous publications over the years in Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here.

Follow Walworth County Community News on Facebook

By Lynn Greene

Author Lynn Greene, of La Grange Township in Walworth County, Wisconsin, has written "Lynn's Place" for numerous publications over the years in southern Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here on Walworth County Community News.