About this time of year I start craving all things green.
Crunchy green cucumbers, crispy fresh greens, snappy green peas, cruciferous green Brussel sprouts, creamy green avocados . . . .
I am a self-proclaimed vegetable lover and I eat veggies all year round. During the fall and winter months I could subsist on roasted veggies of all varieties. But after a long, cold winter (and lots of warm, comfort food), I find myself buying up all the fresh produce I can. Which, to be clear, isn’t all that much yet in western Pennsylvania. I mean it snowed all day here yesterday and is about 24 degrees right now. Sigh.
There’s something so refreshing about a crisp, cool salad. I love the combination of flavors and textures and the fact is that salads are filling, healthy and delicious. I also love that there are infinite varieties of salads to enjoy. I could eat a salad for lunch every day of the week and never eat the same thing twice. (I don’t actually do this because I often prepare our salads in batches, but it’s theoretically possible 😉).
Chopped salads, green salads, grain salad, pasta salads. Salads with fruit and protein. Salads with creamy dressings and vinaigrettes. Chicken salad, egg salad, chickpea salad. You get the idea – the options are pretty much endless.
Today I am sharing one of my new favorite salad recipes this spring, this Gorgeous Green Salad with Easy Avocado Dressing. As I was buying up veggies in the grocery store I challenged myself to see if I could make a tasty salad out of only green ingredients. So I loaded some romaine lettuce, green peppers, peas, cucumbers, green onions, broccoli, avocados, snap peas.
When I came home I got to work prepping my vegetables. I washed my lettuce by removing the stem and letting the leaves soak in a big bowl of cold water while I chopped up my other vegetables. After about ten minutes I swished (that’s an official cooking term) the leaves around in the water and then emptied and refreshed the water and let the leaves soak for about five minutes. Then I transferred my lettuce leaves to my salad spinner and gave them a few good swirls to really get out all that extra water. Finally, I laid my lettuce leaves on a flour sack towel and pressed any remaining water out of them before tearing them into bite-size pieces and storing them in a plastic ic bag in the fridge. I don’t have any fancy lettuce storage equipment, but I did just recently buy this reusable plastic storage bags and so far, so good. Most weeks our lettuce is gone well before the end of the week. But I believe the key to long-term storage is making sure your lettuce leaves are nice and dry before you store them in the fridge. Nobody likes soggy lettuce anyway.
During this time I also peeled and chopped up my cucumbers and cut my green peppers into small pieces. I chopped the green onions into bite-size pieces and separated the broccoli into small florets. I actually used frozen peas for this recipe, so I popped about 2 cups into my microwave for just about 1 minute until they were defrosted and I stored them in the refrigerator for the week as well.
To make the Easy Avocado Dressing I combined 1 whole avocado, 1/2 cp of Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, a clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in my food processor and processed until smooth. I transferred the dressing to a glass jar with a lid and added a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk to reach m desired pourable consistency. This dressing is best eaten the day it is made, but it will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days – the color may get a little bit brown from the avocados, but if you give it a little stir before using it will still taste nice and fresh and lose some of the brown color.
To assemble this salad I place 1 cup of romaine lettuce on a plate and then pile the other green vegetables on top of the lettuce. Sometimes I also top this salad with a sliced hard-boiled egg. I know eggs aren’t green (unless you overcook them – which I don’t recommend), so feel free to omit the egg if you are vegan and/or you really just want a green salad; but, I love the added protein which helps me keep full and I just think that hardboiled egg goes really great with these crispy green flavors.
I swear I ate this salad lunch for lunch five das in a row. And I’m not sick of it yet.
If, like me, you are also obsessed with fresh spring produce, be sure to check back next week because I am going to share a fresh and salad recipe every Tuesday this month.