Salad is the perfect spring meal and so much fun to make together!

Celebrate Late Spring with Delicious Salads

It may not be as easy as usual to find farm-fresh produce this year, but don’t give up. In addition to ordering from or shopping at your local store, you can visit a farmer’s market following social distancing rules or sign up for a CSA delivery box from a local farm. And with all this bounty and temperatures rising, salad is entering its best season.

Here are some special salads that turn simple produce into a one-dish lunch or dinner.

Noodle Salads Make a Meal

Salads that incorporate noodles and pasta are staples in Italy, Asia, and other parts of the world. And the addition noodles makes salads much more filling, turning them into a stand-alone meal. A delicious example is this Asian pear soba salad featuring the traditional Japanese buckwheat noodles. And this pesto pasta salad with butternut squash is a Mediterranean delight.

Go Crazy with Grains

More and more you see salads featuring orzo, quinoa, farro and other ancient grains turning up on the menus of elegant restaurants. And there’s a reason – salads become much heartier when anchored by these whole grains rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Try this classic Mexican quinoa salad
or this Middle Eastern kale salad with couscous and blood orange.

Brighten Up Salads with Fruit

From berries to citrus and everything in between, there is no end to the possibilities when you combine the sweetness of fruit with the crispness of lettuce and other vegetables. Add a tart or tangy dressing and you’ve got a mouthful of flavor. Try this mango salad with the zing of a ginger-raisin vinaigrette, this light and refreshing blueberry, orzo and sweet corn salad, this Thai-influenced melon salad, or experiment with your own creative combinations.

Get More Nutritious with Beans

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are the base of many a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern salad, such as this chickpea salad featuring red onions, pickles, spinach, and an assortment of veggies of choice. For an all-American classic,  go with a classic tricolor bean salad (green beans, kidney beans, and navy beans or cannellini.) Lentils also lend themselves to salad-making too; this Moroccan roasted carrot and lentil salad is particularly tasty.

Boost the Flavor with Beets

Throw together pretty much any combination of chilled beets, goat cheese, and vinaigrette and you can’t go wrong. But with the addition of citrus, you’ve got something even more memorable. One combination features three different kinds of citrus while ABC salad includes avocado for a creamy finish.

Surprise with Seafood Salads

Top a base of crisp greens with salmon, shrimp or other shellfish, and you’ve got the perfect one-dish meal. This south-of-the-border combination of chili-lime shrimp and avocado topping warm quinoa is a perfect example, as is this “Popeye special,” a combination of warm spinach and mussels.


Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.