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5 Simply Delicious and Super Simple Spring Salads

These greens, proteins and veggies are both delicious and nutritious.

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Photographs by Joel Goldberg (Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine; Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne)
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We all know the mantra: to live healthy lives, fill your plate with a rainbow of produce and lean proteins. Let’s celebrate vibrant seasonal produce and whip up delicious homemade dressings that put the store-bought packaged greens to shame. These five simple salads from my cooking blog, Once Upon a Chef, are anything but mundane — and perfect for those times when you’re craving something tasty and fresh but don't want to spend all day in the kitchen.

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Joel Goldberg

Arugula Salad with Lemon, Olive Oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano

This lemony salad with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano pairs well with grilled steak or pizza.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

5 ounces arugula

Hunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Place the arugula in the bowl; toss with dressing.

Run a vegetable peeler along one of the flat sides of the cheese to create about ½ cup shavings (or use the slicing blade of a box grater or a cheese plane). Toss shavings with the salad; serve.

 

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Joel Goldberg

Chickpea Salad

This super-simple salad makes a delicious lunch or side to grilled shrimp or chicken.

Serves 4

⅓ cup finely diced red onion

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

⅓ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

⅛ teaspoon sugar

Place the diced onion in a small bowl; cover with cold water. Let sit for 10 minutes; drain.

Combine onions with remaining ingredients; toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon, salt and pepper, if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days. Toss before serving and adjust seasoning again, if necessary.

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Joel Goldberg

Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese & Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

This pretty, protein-packed salad makes a great starter for a fish dinner.

Serves 6 to 8

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

2 tablespoons honey

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons minced shallots

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

FOR THE SALAD

10 ounces mixed greens

About ½ pound vacuum-packed roasted beets, cut into wedges — or roast your own!

½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

3 ounces goat cheese

Combine the honey, mustard, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid; screw on the lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. (Alternatively, whisk ingredients together in a bowl.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Dressing can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then shake to re-emulsify.

Place the greens in a large bowl, drizzle with half of the vinaigrette; toss to combine. Add additional vinaigrette as desired and toss again. Arrange greens on a serving platter or plates; top with beets, walnuts and goat cheese. Serve immediately.

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Joel Goldberg

Classic Cobb

This classic salad is a satisfying meal packed with chicken, bacon, avocado, blue cheese and a whole lot more.

Serves 6 to 8

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¾ teaspoon sugar

FOR THE SALAD

6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into ¾-inch pieces

½ teaspoon salt

3 romaine hearts, (from one 22-ounce bag), roughly chopped

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved if desired

4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

2 avocados, diced

½ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Combine the shallot, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid; screw on the lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. (Alternatively, whisk ingredients together in a bowl.) Dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Season chicken with the salt and add to the pan in a single layer; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Put romaine, chicken and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Shake dressing to re-emulsify, then add three-quarters of it to the bowl; toss gently. Add dressing, little by little, until the greens are dressed to your liking. Taste; adjust seasoning, if necessary. Arrange the salad mixture on a serving platter or plates.

Sprinkle the eggs, avocado, blue cheese and bacon over the greens. Sprinkle with fresh pepper, if desired.

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Joel Goldberg

Old Bay Shrimp Salad

Old Bay kicks up the flavor of this shrimp salad that is great piled onto a croissant, or scooped over your favorite greens and served with crackers. 

Serves 6

2 pounds large raw shrimp, shell-on and deveined, thawed if frozen

½ cup mayonnaise

1½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup finely diced celery

¼ cup finely sliced scallions, light and dark green parts separated

Fill a large bowl with ice water; set next to the sink.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp; cook, stirring occasionally, until bright pink and cooked through, about 1½ minutes (the water needn't return to a boil).

Drain shrimp in a colander and then immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Let sit until chilled, about 15 minutes. Peel the shrimp.

In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, Old Bay, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in shrimp, celery and light green scallions. Taste; adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve, for up to 2 days. Before serving, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with dark green scallions and a dash of Old Bay.

 
What's YOUR absolute all-time favorite salad? Let us know in the comments below.

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