Spinach and Red Leaf Lettuce Salad

(Submitted by Mama Root, April 2015)

It is official, springtime is really here–the season of rebirth!  I don’t know about you but the change to springtime weather and the promise of the greening of our landscapes always boosts my spirits.  Right now the cool weather crops are ready to be planted and very quickly may be harvested for your table.

Spinach and red leaf lettuce are top of mind for me today.  Green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants and bring “crunch” to a meal.  For starters, of course, you may eat spinach and lettuce mixed together or, solely, as a salad.  Since I plan to spend more time outdoors this spring, it is only fitting that I bulk up on “Popeye’s” energy food.image2

After harvesting lettuce and spinach leaves, gently wash them with cool water.  If you have a salad spinner, you may use it to “dry” the leaves.  If not, use a dry kitchen towel and let the greens “drip dry.”  First on one side, then, gently fold and end of the towel over by half and flip the whole towel with the greens inside to dry them on the other side.image1_1

While the greens are drying on each side, take a moment to prepare a light vinaigrette for your dressing.  A standard dressing that is easily prepared uses simple ingredients from your cupboard and/or refrigerator.  Take two tablespoons of oil (I use olive), 1 tablespoon of vinegar (here I try to use a red wine vinegar), and 1/4 teaspoon of mustard (whatever you have, will do).  Mix all of these ingredients together, with a fork or whisk, vigorously.  Add pepper to taste and you have a simple dressing.  Fresh garlic and other herbs may be added for bolder flavor, but this basic recipe will go a long way in “dressing up” fresh greens.

image1 The portion made will lightly dress a large fresh leafy salad.  The recipe may be increased, keeping the same proportions, and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for several days.

I am ready to fix this healthy salad for lunch.  Spinach, red leaf lettuce, some strawberry slices, and a few sliced almonds, walnut pieces, or sunflower seeds will provide a good start for healthy spring training!