Springtime weather arrives and our appetite for mixed salads instantly intensifies. And why not? The way the fork picks up a different group of flavors and textures every time makes each bite a surprise. This is the glory of the mixed salad and, not to get too poetic about it, a perfect edible metaphor for the varied delights of the season. 

EASY DOES IT: Three easy-to-make recipes that will satisfy your springtime salad cravings.

Start with one head of romaine lettuce, a favorite basic salad green because it provides delicacy and crunch at the same time. Wash, cut off the base, and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Then add:

Springtime salad recipes
Pine Nut Salad. Photo by Adam FInkle

3 slices pancetta, diced and frizzled in 2 Tbsp. olive oil 
4 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1 cup torn fresh -basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the oil left from frizzling the pancetta. Stir in 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and use that for the basis of a vinaigrette, adding 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Toss and garnish with Parmesan shavings.

Springtime salad recipes
Greek Salad. Photo by Adam Finkle

1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped 
1 cup pitted, halved kalamata olives 
4 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
1 cup sliced red grape tomatoes

Mix 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup vinegar and 1/8 cup lemon juice with 1/2 tsp. oregano. Salt and pepper to taste.

Springtime salad recipes
Tangerine Avocado Salad. Photo by Adam Finkle

1/2 avocado cut in chunks
1 head Belgian endive, cut crosswise into crescents 
1/2 sliced red onion
1 orange, tangerine or grapefruit, cut into sections

Mix 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 white balsamic. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Springtime salad recipes
South-of-the-Border Shrimp Mixed Salad. Photo by Adam Finkle

1 pound shrimp, peeled, sautéed or grilled 
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground chili
5 Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 red onion, cut in strips
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped
3 cups mixed salad greens
2  Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, cubed
1 can (8 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (8 ounces) finely shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup cooked corn

Toss the cooked shrimp with 3 Tbsp. olive oil, cumin, chili powder, minced garlic, sugar and salt to taste. Let marinate 30–45 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad. Make vinaigrette by whisking 1/2 cup olive oil with lime juice. Adjust acidity as necessary.  Combine in a bowl tomatoes, beans, corn, onion, pepper, cheese, cilantro, lettuce and shrimp. Pour dressing over and toss very gently. Garnish with tortilla strips and jalapeños, if desired.

Chopped Agnelli Salad Photo by Adam Finkle

SALAD SEEKING: Head out of the house and bring your appetite. These local eateries serve some of the best salads in Utah. Is your favorite among them?

Chopped Agnelli Salad per Vittoria at Valter’s Osteria 
A gorgeous tangle of thin, shredded arugula, radicchio, endive, artichokes, raw portobello and bell pepper tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette and piled like a haystack on thin slices of tomato. 
173 W. Broadway, SLC, 801-521-4563

Butter Lettuce at Taqueria 27 
A small head of tender butter lettuce with green chile gorgonzola dressing, sliced pears and pumpkin seeds.
4670 Holladay Blvd., SLC, 801-676-9706
149 E. 200 S., SLC, 385-259-0940

Thai Salad at Caffe Niche
The 1980s classic rejuvenated. Strips of local steak marinated in Thai spices tossed with noodles, tomatoes, fresh herbs and napa cabbage; then given a luxurious gilding of toasted coconut, mangoes and avocados besides the expected finish of peanuts and Thai dressing. The whole thing is piled in an awe–inspiring mountain on the plate. 
779 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-433-3380

Peruse more tasty springtime recipes here!

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