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Salad Days

Spring green tastes

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Salad Days

Having a daily salad is one of the best ways to add extra servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet

Having a daily salad is one of the best ways to add extra servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet. But how many times have you bought a shopping cart full of different salad ingredients only to have them turn to slime in your fridge?

My solution is to buy a 1 lb (450 g) plastic bin of spring greens—available at most grocery stores. Greens that are purchased in bins last longer. They’re extremely convenient and because they aren’t constantly misted in the store, they keep longer in your fridge.

Take me home

Whether store bought, home grown, or from a farmer’s market, spring greens are just begging to go home with you.

Not just for rabbits anymore, spring greens are loaded with flavour; fibre; vitamins A, C, and K; folate; calcium; potassium; and antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system. No wonder health professionals keep reminding you to “Eat your greens!”

Mix it up

Spring mix is usually a combination of baby greens that often includes baby romaine, spinach, and beet tops. Some varieties add kale, radicchio, chicory, and arugula.

The perfect mix contains a variety of flavours and colours. I like to combine sweet mâche and peppery arugula with spinach and beet tops for colour and added nutrient density.

You can also buy a spring mix called mesclun, or simply create your own combo.

Simple dinner fixings

Turn yesterday’s leftovers into tonight’s main course. Cook extra chicken and new potatoes, chill overnight, and serve them over mixed greens. Drizzle with Everyday House Dressing and dinner is ready.

Spring greenery

Arugulaor rocket
A cool season crop that has a slightly bitter, peppery flavour. It’s a member of the same nutrient-dense, disease-fighting family as cabbage and broccoli. It’s also popular in the Mediterranean heart-healthy diet.

Baby spinach
This vegetable superstar is loaded with folate which can reduce the chance of developing heart disease, and is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which can help reduce your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration. One cup of baby spinach will provide you with 180 percent of your daily vitamin K intake which contributes to bone development and proper blood clotting.

Beettops
Similar to spinach in nutrient density, this baby version is tender and slightly sweet.

Mâcheor lamb’s lettuce
These greens grow in rosette-shaped bundles and are tender and quite sweet.

Chicory
These cute, curly leaves are fairly bitter but offer a great contrast to the sweeter greens such as mâche and beet tops.

Kale
The baby version of this often large-leafed dark green veggie is a great way to add vitamin A and C to your diet.

Radicchio
This red-leafed Italian chicory is slightly bitter. It adds flavour and fabulous colour to your greens.
All of the delicate baby greens are highly perishable which is why they last longer when purchased in covered bins. Before using, freshen them up by rinsing them in cold water, spinning dry, and serving.

At the store

Look for a commercial salad dressing that is made with either olive oil or canola oil. Avoid fat-laden creamy dressings that use mayonnaise or sour cream as a base. Also, be cautious when choosing a fat-reduced dressing—they’re often packed with sugar or salt to enhance the flavour.


Easy cooking tip

Both of the dressings are smoother and creamier if you give them a whirl with a blender.

Recipes


Tasty bells and whistles

Dressing your spring greens can mean more than just the salad dressing. Here are some bells and whistles to take your greens from ordinary to exotic:

  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts
  • dried cranberries, blueberries, or cherries
  • fresh blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
  • capers
  • pitted black or green olives
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • chives
  • red or green onion
  • fresh or thawed frozen peas
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