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Easy Spring Salads

Spring is finally here in Brooklyn, NY! Though most of the open farmers’ markets around NYC only have flowers so far, it won’t be long before you see many more fruits and vegetables grown in 2011.  Asparagus, salad greens (like spinach), carrots, radishes, and rhubarb are all delicious seasonal ingredients. Though onions and potatoes are (as usual) some of the more popular staples, try using ramps ( similar to leeks)!

Here are a few salad suggestions for easy and nutritious springtime eats:

ramps

Potato Ramp Salad:

Cut 4-5 potatoes into chunks and boil until cooked.  Dice 2-3 ramps and sauté in 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Add a diced red pepper, ½ red onion (diced), a handful of chopped parsley, salt and pepper.  Dressing: lemon vinaigrette.

Endive cups with Radish Salad: Combine one bunch of diced radishes, one diced English cucumber, a handful of chopped cilantro, and a diced orange pepper in a bowl with a dressing of  4-5 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or minced), salt and pepper.  Mix all ingredients well.  Spoon into individual endive leaves and serve.

Shredded Carrot and Israeli Couscous Salad: Israeli couscous is pearl-like and larger than the couscous Americans are familiar with.  The whole wheat variety is tasty and gives a great texture to salads.  Prepare the couscous according to package directions.  For every cup of prepared couscous add ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½- 1 cup grated carrots (add more or less according to taste), ¼ cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup raisins or dried cranberries, and 1- 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Mix well.

Ok. I don’t have a rhubarb salad recipe – I’m at a loss.  BUT, here’s a great rhubarb recipe that I love to mix into low fat Greek yogurt:

Rhubarb

Rhubarb Sauce: 8 cups chopped rhubarb, 2 tablespoons honey, 5-6 tablespoons water.  Throw all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Add raspberries to it or use 100% orange juice as the liquid for additional flavor.

In the interest of space, I’m not including the nutritional breakdown for these recipes.  However, they’re all healthy and low in fat.  As per usual, the greatest number of calories is contributed by the oil, so make sure to measure!

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