No matter where you are in the world, you’re probably ready for spring. If you live in an area that gets hit with harsh winters, you’re ready for a little warmth. Here in Sonoma, we’re just ready for some sun and to bid adieu to the rain. Regardless of your home climate, everyone rejoices for traditional ways to celebrate spring: bright colors, sunny days — and fresh veggies, paired with light wines.
When spring rolls around, we can’t help but get behind some classic, fresh ingredients. Light, spring salads are always a good choice this time of year. Add any bright green veggie to the mix, and you can’t go wrong. When it comes to spring ingredients, you want to opt for toppings that are light — both in color and weight-wise. Think bright green peas and fluffy poached eggs.
Build-Your-Own Salad: Pick Your Veggies
Start building your spring salad with a light salad mix base. We recommend simply purchasing a spring mix at the grocery store or making your own. Romaine and spinach also work well with spring salads. Top your lettuce with fresh peas (in the pod or shelled), green beans and herbs. Shaved carrots add a nice pop of color.
Take a spin around the produce section of the supermarket or — even better — your local farmers market. Try to find veggies that are in season. This is easier at the farmers market because pretty much all veggies available will be in season as they’re all locally sourced.
Fresh Spring Salad Toppings
Once you’ve got your veggies under control, add some protein and a little texture. Both poached chicken and fish work well on a light salad. Light cheeses, such as burrata and Parmesano Reggiano add a lot of flavor without weighing your salad down.
Fresh Spring Salad Recipe: Alicia’s Salad Niçoise
If you don’t feel like creating your own spring salad creation, we’ve got you covered. This salad niçoise is super easy, and it utilizes ingredients you might already have on hand. I love salad niçoise because it’s so easy to make. You can purchase most of the ingredients already prepared (or substitute the seared tuna with a fancy canned tuna if you’re making this for a picnic lunch).
You can even substitute the dressing with fresh lemon juice and olive oil if you really want to keep things light.
- Salad greens
- Fresh green beans (cleaned, blanched and halved)
- Soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs (halved, one per person)
- Cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Baked new potatoes
- Seared tuna steaks (4 – 6 ounces per person)
- Caesar dressing
- Fresh dill
- Fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Arrange the salad greens on a plate.
- Top with green beans, two halves of egg, potatoes and cherry tomatoes.
- Drizzle salad dressing lightly on top.
- Arrange a few slices of seared tuna on the veggies.
- Garnish with fresh dill and parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Other great spring salad ideas? Less is more. Try squeezing some lemon juice over arugula and topping with fresh-ground black pepper and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese curls.
Spring Salad Wine Pairings
Ultimately, you can pair your spring salad with just about any vino that you prefer. If you like it the wine/food combo, it’ll probably work for your guests, too.
Choose a light, dry wine for most spring dishes and salads. Buttery chardonnays always work well with salads that are a little acidic. Gruner Veltliner and sauvignon blanc work well with salads that don’t have a strong acid base. Chenin blanc usually works with just about any salad.
If you’re pairing a red wine with your spring salad, try a lighter red, such as a pinot noir or a grenache.
The age-old adage that rose´ is only acceptable in the spring and summer is sooo five years ago. But it really does taste better when you’re basking in the sun. Opt for a rose´ that’s light and dry to pair with your salads. Be aware of rose´s that are overly sweet; they could alter the taste of your food.
I don’t know about you, but nothing says ‘spring’ like a sparkling wine. There’s something so refreshing about sparkling wines that make you want to drink them for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the spring. And we would never fault you for pairing a nice prosecco with popcorn.
But they happen to work best with your appetizer and dessert courses. And by ‘appetizer,’ we mean salad course.