This simple spring salad recipe that is just right for Memorial Day weekend. It’s bursting with holiday colors and fresh spring flavors that are perfect alongside your favorite grilled entrée.
I really love a salad, especially in the springtime when I find myself craving something fresh and light. At some family holidays, I end up feeling like I’m the only one eating the veggies. I can’t say that I blame the others with so many good options on the table like chips and sweets. But having a pile of salad on my plate helps me feel better about eating the other stuff, too. It’s all about balance, right?
This spring salad is truly one of my favorites and one I’m happy to devour no matter what else is offered. Everyone can find something to enjoy in this combo. It is so tasty and so simple to throw together. A really tremendous salad combines different textures and contrasting flavors – something soft with something crunchy, something sweet with components that are salty or sour. This spring salad has it all!
Start with the Greens
A pile of fresh mixed spring greens or baby spinach forms the base for this dish. Choose your favorite combination! I personally like the soft mild flavor of spinach with something sharper like arugula thrown in. Some greens will add a bit of crunch or bitterness, too, which is wonderful here.
Add the Fruit
Green apple gives a crisp bite and some tangy notes, while the blueberries and strawberries add sweetness and color. Feel free to sub in another apple or a different berry if you like. This salad is very adaptable! But keep in mind that balance and try to choose fruit that will give you the crunch, sour, and sweet. It’s that combo that makes this salad shine!
Don’t Forget the Onion and Pecans!
Add the red onion for more crunch and a bit of sharp flavor. Red onion is a bit more mild than some others and is perfect here. To take some of the sharpness out, soak the chopped onion in cold water for about 10 minutes, then dry it before adding it to the salad. You will still have great flavor, but without the harsher edge.
Unsalted pecans are better here, but feel free to use your favorite nu or what you have on hand. Roughly chopped almonds are excellent here. Avoid nuts that are more bitter, such as walnuts. Though if that’s your favorite, feel free to throw them in and make this salad your own!
Toast the nuts in a nonstick skillet over low heat until they are fragrant. This doesn’t take long at all, so don’t walk away. They can burn pretty quickly. Once toasted, remove them from the heat and let them cool completely before adding them to your salad.
Make the Dressing
I love making my own salad dressing. In fact, I barely ever buy it from the store these days. And that’s because it is so very easy to make your own salad dressing at home! Homemade dressing can be customized, made in small or big quantities depending on what you need, made fresh, and is less expensive. It’s a win-win-win-win!
To make this particular salad dressing, simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or glass jar with a tight lid, then whisk (in the bowl) or shake (in the jar) to emulsify, or bring all the ingredients together. You can add it to the salad and serve it dressed, or you can serve it alongside the salad and let each person add his or her own. If you choose to dress the salad as a whole, add only a little at a time and be careful to not overdress it.
You will likely have some dressing leftover. Simply keep it sealed and store at cool room temperature, where it will keep for a month or so. This dressing doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but it won’t hurt anything, so if it makes you feel better you can store it in the frig. Just be aware that the olive oil will solidify so you will need to bring the dressing back to room temperature before using it.
Enjoy this bright and fresh spring salad this weekend or any day! Serve it alongside this amazing Balsamic Grilled Chicken, either with or without the Cucumber Cranberry Salsa. Impress your Memorial Day guests by finishing the meal with Lemon Bundt Cake. Throw some Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies in there, too, and you will be the star of any gathering!
Spring Salad with Apples and Berries
For the Dressing:
- 5 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
For the Salad:
- 5 ounces spring lettuce or spinach mix
- 1 cup green apple diced
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 3/4 cup unsalted pecans toasted
- Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a small jar fitted with a tight lid. Store unused dressing at room temperature.
- Combine greens with fruit, onion and pecans. Top with the following dressing (to taste) or a store bought poppy seed dressing.