Who wants to cook dinner over a hot stove during the sweltering spring and summer months? Not me. Instead, I opt for salads most nights because they’re quick, easy, and inexpensive to make — especially if you have some of the ingredients growing in your own garden. This spring stay healthy while saving time with these five fresh and frugal salad recipes — a different, delicious choice for every night of the workweek.
Spring Salad with Strawberry Lemon Mint Dressing
The below recipe is my twist on a recipe for spring salad with strawberry lemon basil dressing from Oh She Glows, which is full of color and flavour thanks to a bed of mixed greens topped with strawberries, basil, coconut and almonds. I put in a few tweaks and personal touches to create a sweet and satisfying weeknight dinner.
- Sunflower seeds, toasted
- Handful of dried cranberries
- Mixed greens
- Strawberries, chopped
- Fresh mint, chopped
- 225 grams fresh strawberries
- 56.7 grams packed fresh mint
- 42 grams fresh lemon juice
- 14 grams extra virgin olive oil
- 5 – 10 ml raw honey, to taste
- Fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Toast the sunflower seeds for a few minutes or buy the pre-toasted kind.
2. In a food processor, add the strawberries, mint, lemon juice and oil. Process until smooth. Add in the salt, pepper and honey to taste and process again.
3. Build your salad starting with the mixed greens and adding the other ingredients on top. Drizzle with dressing.
Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad
The name of this salad doesn’t sound very exciting, but you know better than to judge a book by its cover. What I love about this grilled chicken and spinach salad recipe modified from Panlasang Pinoy is that it has an unexpected kick of salty feta cheese, which complements the smooth buttery texture of the artichokes.
- 454 grams baby spinach
- 28 grams olive oil
- 14 grams feta cheese
- 225 grams boneless chicken breast, sliced
- 5 ml dried thyme
- 454 grams artichoke hearts, chopped
- 2 ml salt
- 1 ml ground black pepper
1. Combine baby spinach, feta cheese, and 14 grams olive oil. Toss.
Arrange spinach on a serving plate. Set aside.
2. Season chicken with thyme, salt, and ground black pepper. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.
3. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes per side or until the juices run clear.
4. While grilling, pour remaining olive oil in a pan and sauté the artichokes. Set aside. Arrange the grilled chicken strips over the spinach and top with artichokes.
Black Bean & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
You don’t need to head across the ocean to enjoy the authentic taste of Mexican cuisine. Packed with protein and fiber, this heart-healthy meal idea derived from Once Upon a Chef can be eaten with a spoon since it doesn’t call for any lettuce at all.
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 454 grams cooked corn
- 2 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 grams minced onions
- 10 ml salt
- 1 ml cayenne pepper
- 28 grams sugar
- 113 grams extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ml lime zest
- 84.7 grams fresh lime juice
- 113 grams chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 2 avocados, chopped
1. Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.