And I’m back! It was a short, but much-cherished mini vacation with my favorite people. I have decided to do a detailed post on it next week, and share some pictures with you all. Something I seldom do; but am taking into account your feedback of seeing a little bit more of me, my family and sharing a bit of my experiences (present-wise). Because I sure share a lot about my past and how food brings back memories & emotional connections about a specific time in my life.
So today it hit me; Spring is literally right around the corner! (*insert happy dance*). As I was strolling towards the grocery store with both my kids in tow (to restock my post-vacation depleted fridge), I spotted them. There they were; beautiful, pristine snowdrops. Not the weather, no. The flowers! They’re the first ones to spring back into life, followed by the oh so pretty daffodils. Every year I look out for them, and there they were. I pointed them out to my children and we talked about the changing seasons all the way up to the grocery store. They were so very excited for Spring, too. But only because the Easter bunny will bring them chocolate. Yep, that’s it.
Spring spells salads for me. As the weather starts getting warmer, I start craving nice, big plates of hearty salads that constitute a full meal for dinner. I have finally overcome the cultural barrier and now accept salads officially as an “entrée”. It’s one of those things where salads were always an appetizer, but never the main course. Same with soup. It’s how I grew up: they warm you up for the meal, but they’re not the meal itself.
But these salads are SO good & so easy to make! I have two different combinations for you, both on a deliciously nourishing bed of green, curly kale. One is a “Strawberry, Beets, Raw Walnuts & Kale”. The other one is a “Blueberry, Kiwi, Kale, Avocado & Beets Salad with Honey Roasted Pecans”. And they’re both perfect for your Easter lunch this year! If kale is not your thing, you could try nice baby spinach, for a sweeter tasting green. They also go amazingly well with arugula (the fruit and dressing compliment the mild bitterness of arugula beautifully)! What I like about these salads is that they’re a mix of fruit and veggies! And they both include goat feta, but you could also try goat cheese. If you don’t consume dairy, simply opt out. I have found I tolerate goat dairy quite well and am a huge sucker for goat feta. I absolutely love it!
I added honey roasted pecans on one, and raw walnuts on the other. Nuts are a much healthier alternative to croutons. For example, walnuts are an essential form of protein, anti-inflammatory omega 3’s, calcium and they help lower bad cholesterol. I just love the healthy fats that adding nuts to your salad provide. That and the delectable crunch, because every good salad needs: greens, protein, fruits, veggies & that crunch. For added protein, you could easily pair this with organic chicken breast or wild salmon. I like to enjoy these with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette; because I do think creamy, sugar laden dressings like ranch, thousand island or caesar may just throw off the entire point of eating a salad for dinner. Unless of course, you prepare them yourself, and using healthier ingredients.
Ingredients (Listed for Both Salads)
- 2 tightly packed cups of kale or spinach
- a handful of blueberries
- a handful of sliced strawberries
- about 1 cup of cooked beets chopped into squares (or sliced)
- 1/2 a cup of pecans or walnuts (I used honey roasted pecans on one salad & raw walnuts on the other)
- a handful of goat feta
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1 tbsp of hemp hearts for sprinkling (nice little protein boost)
- grilled organic chicken breast or wild salmon (optional)
For the homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1/4 cup good quality red balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 finely minced garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 tsp of agave (optional)
For the homemade Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette
- 3 tbsp of honey
- 3 tbsp of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 3 tbsp of real, full-fat mayo
- 1 tbsp of poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup full fat greek yogurt
*If you do use garlic on the balsamic dressing, I suggest you use your blender to mix it well.