Salad Season!

Spring has arrived with gusto in Kentucky. We are still having lots of rain and some cool days but the green life everywhere is a treat for the eyes and soul. We have planted our little backyard garden and are getting excited about being able to eat what we grow ourselves. It always feels like such a miracle for us ‘brown thumbs’ to put a few seeds in the ground and eventually receive something that is edible. We are amazed that the Creator allows us to be a small part of His creative processes.

Our kids are getting older, and the garden is becoming a family affair. It was so much fun to pour seeds into our kids’ grubby hands and watch their excitement as they sprinkled their seeds into the little trenches they had just dug. Little green sprouts are beginning to emerge from these seeds, and we all find ourselves checking the garden several times a day, just to see if we notice any new growth.

Salad greens seem to be some of the first plants to grow in our little garden. We have been trying different recipes using these fresh greens as the main part of our meals. I credit my sisters-in-law and some friends with helping expand my definition of “salad” to include combinations of fun things like toasted seeds and nuts, fresh and dried fruits, fresh herbs, and cheeses that accompany a variety of fresh greens.

Lately I have also been trying some new salad dressing recipes. Making your own salad dressing seems to be a simple way to cut back on preservatives and packaging. These yummy dressings help make our salads into meals that even our kids cheer-!

Below are some of our current favorite salad dressing recipes.

Juli’s Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette
This is a great all-purpose vinaigrette.

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Mix sugar and salt into the vinegar until dissolved. Add oil and shake well to mix.

Creamy Curry Dressing
We added chopped hard boiled eggs, garbonzo beans, cashews, and dried cranberries to the salad greens and spring onions for this main dish salad.

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey, more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons curry, more or less to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Puree ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Creamy Cilantro & Avocado Dressing
This became a main dish with the addition of black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • ¾ cup packed cilantro
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Puree ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
This one is nice with chopped fresh apples, crumbled strong cheese (like bleu, feta, gorgonzola, chevre, etc.) and toasted walnuts.

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a blender. With the blender running, slowly add in the olive oil.

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