Carter Cooks: Spring Salad with Vinaigrette

Carter Cooks

Welcome back and Happy Spring! This is arguably my favorite time of year, especially with 2013’s lackadaisical winter.  There is nothing I love better than coming out of yoga on Monday evenings at 8 o’clock to a still bright sky. The endless conversation I have with myself on the drive home is what do I feel like making after a long day in the office, a great yoga practice, and the prospects of an early bedtime. Perhaps it’s the yoga or the spring sunshine that makes me want salads in everyway shape and form.

I really enjoy salads. They are a great stand-alone meal if beefed up properly or the perfect side dish to any main course. Spring is a nice time for salads because the lettuce is so sweet and fresh. I learned to look for unusual items to toss in my salads either for kick or protein to make them last a little longer. Also, making your own dressing is so much less expensive than store bought and there is less waste if you only make enough for dinner and lunch the next day. The same can be said for croutons. If you have day old bread, slice it and toss it with oil, salt, and pepper. Broil the chunks for a few minutes and voilia, croutons.

We are excited to see the market start back this week. Make sure you swing by on Thursday!

Spring Salad with Vinaigrette

From the Market

Salad greens

Spring vegetables


Feta cheese


From your pantry

Nuts, pine nuts or walnuts work nicely

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar



Salt & Pepper

  1. Wash and dry your lettuce. Chop any desired vegetables. I like cucumbers and tomatoes. But, it’s a little early for these. Look for sun-dried tomatoes that were put up last year and early produce like asparagus.
  2. Add nasturtiums if using. Nasturtiums are an edible flower in season right now. They add a nice spicy kick and a beautiful color to the salad.
  3. Toast nuts in a dry frying pan. Place 2-3 Tbsp of desired nut in a dry skillet on medium-high heat. Toast until fragrant, stirring regularly, about 4 minutes.
  4. For croutons, slice older bread into desired size. Toss, just to coat, with olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Toast on about 375 until crisp (approximately 5 minutes). Be sure to stir have way through.
  5. Add feta, toasted nuts, and croutons to salad.
  6. In a mason jar add equal parts oil and vinegar (1/3 c. each), 1 Tbsp sugar (less if you don’t want it too sweet), 1 Tbsp mustard (I use a stone ground mustard), 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Cap the jar and shake vigorously until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Add dressing to salad and mix to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

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