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Salad is the New Entrée: An Unusual Spin on Seasonal Salads

How many times have you heard the phrase “eat your veggies” or, “eat your greens?” Too many to count? We understand. Getting told to eat one’s vegetables almost seems like a rite of passage when it comes to growing up, but it’s for good reason. As most of us (should) know, vegetables are an important part of one’s diet and provide our bodies with a ton of nutrients such as fiber, potassium and folic acid to name a few.

But now that most of us are in control of our own diets and eating options, it can be hard to get excited about eating the same old salad for lunch or dinner. The good news is that nowadays there are so many fun (and seasonal) ingredients that will spruce up your salad –and taste good too (we promise). At Deborah Miller Catering and Events, one of our favorite things to do is head to a New York City farmer’s market in search of fresh produce and yummy local fare. It’s not hard to feel inspired by the abundance of gorgeous fruit, veggies and meat that line the isles, and what fun, delicious recipes we can concoct when organizing an event for a client.

spring vegetables salad

 But why keep salad as a side dish? With so many varieties, ingredients, colors and tastes to experiment in the kitchen with, it’s culinary blasphemy to think of your salad as just a starter or side.  Think: a salad as your main, say, at a wedding? Frankly, we’re all about it. And who says salads always have to have the same greens-to-protein-to standard dressing ratio? Have no fear! Our catering and events division has you covered. With some help from our team and Deborah herself, we’ve put together some unexpectedly delicious salad pairings to stop you from falling into the same ho-hum salad routine, and to surprise your guests at any small or large gathering with the ultimate salad dish. Lettuce party!

Firstly, who says salads always have to include greens? Mix it up by using a different kind of “base.” For example, we love making a spring sprouts salad with sprouted mung beans, fresh radishes, grated coconut and oranges. For your dressing? Keep it simple with a little honey, lemon juice and salt and pepper. If you have some, walnut oil is the perfect complement to this sweet spring salad.

Still hungry? You’re in luck! In fact, our own culinary expert and founder, Deborah Miller, sat down with me this week to talk about some of her favorite homemade salads, and what unusually delicious flavors she enjoys cooking with in our kitchen:

“Everybody is waiting for spring,” Deborah said. “It’s one of the most inspiring times of the year, especially for chefs and cooks because we’re anxious to start cooking with super fresh ingredients.”

“In the winter, everything is pickled and preserved, and we’re more or less cooking with things from the ‘fall harvest,’ or things that are non-perishable. Come springtime we’re craving flavorful, fresh and tender fare that comes from the ground.”

“I dream in greens” Deborah said, as we talked about some more unusually delicious salad pairings to try this season. “These are some of my favorite seasonally-inspired recipes. Not only are the easy to make, but everything listed in is season and extremely fresh.

salad-healthy-diet-spinach

The first salad is a bold and savory combination that any fan of spice will love:

Bold & Savory:
Fiddlehead ferns
Chilis and/or Chili Peppers

The second is a bitter and refreshing light salad, perfect for warm spring nights:

Bitter & Refreshing
Rhubarb
White asparagus
Meyer Lemon

Deborah’s third favorite is a zesty and sweet combo with some added protein

Sweet & Zesty:
Mustard Greens
Cherries
Pork Loin

Finally, for a party-approved main dish, here are two of Deborah’s favorite entrée’s that are both flavorful and filling:

Spring Chopped Salad

3 celery sticks
2 medium carrots
1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 large peach
1 medium cucumber
1 cup chopped arugula
1 cup cabbage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
1 large hard-cooked egg,

Seasonal Salad Entrée:

Ramps
Morel mushrooms
Peas
Swiss chard
Fingerling Potatoes

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And finally, our catering division has divided a few more of our favorite ingredients below so that you can mix up your seasonal salads with any one of these fun, fresh and exciting flavors. Enjoy!

Greens: butter lettuce, romaine, arugula, kale.

Crunch: roasted hazelnuts, radishes, pomegranate seeds, jicama

Texture: Hard boiled eggs, grapefruit, edamame beans, avocado

Kick: mint, lemon, dill, scallions

“My hope is that people get as excited as I do by using seasonal ingredients when cooking and find the joy in creating new and unusual flavor pairings,” said Deborah. Cooking is just another word for creating, and my hope that our readers will take a stroll this Sunday to a local farmer’s market and feel inspired by the season and all it has to offer.”

 

 

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