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5 Salad Recipes That Taste As Good As They Look

February 19, 2018

Salads
Image by Kate Oakley / Adorned Photography

We have such a love-hate relationship with salad. On one hand, there's nothing better than a refreshing bowl of greens to help you feel light, healthy and fueled to take on your day. On the other hand, here you are with a big bowl of, you know, leaves. So if you're trying to be healthy on a consistent basis, how many ways can you prepare your lettuce so you can keep your meal from going boring quicker than you can say salad? As it turns out, there are a lot of ways! And we picked a few of our favorites—from beautiful swirly beets to heart-shaped melons, juicy, ripe strawberries, chickpeas to-go in adorable little jars and savory pesto—that prove a little color, shape and texture can go a long way.
First up, the Beet Salad from the book Inspiralized.

Inspiralized
Image by Kate Oakley / Adorned Photography


Spiralized Beet and Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola
Image and recipe via Inspiralized

SPIRALIZED BEET AND SPINACH SALAD WITH GORGONZOLA
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Servings: 2

1 medium beet, peeled, Blade C
cooking spray
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 cups spinach
¼ cup raw walnut halves
3 tbsp crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or feta, or goat)

For the dressing:
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon dressing
salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spritz the beets with olive oil cooking spray and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: whisk together all ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl, taste and adjust if necessary. Set aside. When beet slices are done, toss the spinach in the dressing and divide onto plates (or if saving for later, in storage containers.) Top each with beet slices, walnuts and cheese.

Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
Image and recipe via The Fruit Company

FRUIT SALAD WITH HONEY-LIME DRESSING
Servings: 6

2 Cara Cara Oranges
2 Blood Oranges
1 Dragon Fruit, peeled and sliced
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
1 cup chopped honeydew
2 kiwis
½ pomegranate, seeds removed
pinch of sea salt
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup honey
4 sprigs of mint
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside. Begin peeling and chopping the fruit into bite size pieces. For the melons, dragon fruit and pineapple, remove the peel, and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut up the fruit. Using a large serving bowl, place all chopped fruit into the bowl. Pour the dressing over the fruit, gently combine. Crumble feta cheese over top and sprinkle with fresh mint leaves. Taste, add more dressing if you like, or leave out the feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Avocado Strawberry Caprese Salad
Image and recipe via Love and Lemons

AVOCADO STRAWBERRY CAPRESE SALAD
Servings: 4

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup halved mini mozzarella balls
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
⅓ cup pecans, toasted
⅓ cup loosely packed basil, torn
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 
In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a high simmer over medium heat. Stir, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, avocado, pecans and basil in a shallow bowl or platter. Drizzle with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Gently toss. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic.

Mediterranean Kale Salads In Jars
Image and recipe via The Clever Carrot

MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALADS IN JARS

For The Salad
cherry tomatoes, halved or left whole
marinated artichoke hearts (if you can find grilled ones, get those!)
assorted olives, pitted
chickpeas, rinsed and drained
a stack of fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
handful of baby kale and spinach, or other salad greens of your choice
parmesan shavings or feta cheese

For The Vinaigrette
drizzle of olive oil
about 1 tsp of red wine vinegar, plus more to taste

Directions: 
In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil and add the vinegar. Toss well. Spoon this mixture into your salad jars. Top each jar with greens and sprinkle with cheese. Secure the lids and refrigerate until ready to use. Salads will last up to 2-3 days. (For longer lasting salads, only add the vinaigrette right before serving.)

Caprese Quinoa Salad
Image and recipe via What's Gaby Cooking

PESTO CAPRESE QUINOA SALAD

1 cup quinoa
1 recipe Basil Vinaigrette*
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup small fresh mozzarella balls, halved
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Once the quinoa has steamed, transfer it to a bowl and set aside. Make the basil vinaigrette according to the recipe instructions. Combine the basil vinaigrette with the quinoa and toss to combine. Spoon into a bowl and top with the cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve at a later time.

*For Basil Vinaigrette
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed (about 4 ounces)
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Combine all the ingredients for the basil vinaigrette in a high powered blender and blend for 60 seconds until very smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately. Or you can refrigerate the vinaigrette for up to 3 days.


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