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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.

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.


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.

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


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


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.

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


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


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.

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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