A colorful side salad can round out a meal. A bountiful salad can be the meal! Any time of year, salads are a great way to get your fruits and vegetables and, with a little creativity, you can make great-tasting salads your family will enjoy every day.
It’s true that “salad” often means “green” but that’s not always the case. Attractive and colorful salads can be based on grains, fruit or vegetables, and can be extra fun to eat when you toss in unexpected additions. Seasonal fruit, such as blueberries, popped into a salad give a refreshing note of sweetness and color, plus you’re adding extra vitamins and minerals.
You can find fresh blueberries in the market year-round. Between November and March, excellent quality blueberries come from South America; in the summer, blueberries are grown all over North America. Blueberries are the ultimate in convenience since they never need to be peeled, cored, sliced or stemmed; just rinse and toss into your salads.
Blueberry Waldorf Salad is a good example of how blueberries can transform a traditional salad into a showstopper. It’s dotted with blueberries and drizzled with a beautiful and tasty blueberry dressing. And, with just a few ingredients, you can toss together Blueberry and Smoked Trout Salad for an entree with vibrant flavor. Can’t find smoked trout? Smoked turkey is the perfect substitute.
When you have a stash of blueberries in the fridge or freezer, you’re all set to add them to salads and dressings. Here are a few suggestions for other salads you can enjoy any time:
* Toss arugula with sliced pears, blueberries and crumbled blue cheese.
* Top a bed of watercress with grilled or poached salmon, pink grapefruit sections and blueberries.
* Chill cooked wild rice; toss in fresh or dried blueberries, slivered dried apricots, celery, parsley and toasted nuts or sunflower seeds.
* Mix blueberries with chopped apple, grapes, cucumber and fresh mint.
A whole cup of fresh or frozen blueberries has just 80 calories and provides fiber, vitamin C and manganese our bodies need. The government recommends adults consume 2 cups of fruit every day of the year, and blueberries contribute to that daily total.
Blueberry Waldorf Salad
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large Granny Smith apple
4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach
2 ribs celery, cut into 1 1/2-inch matchsticks
1/3 cup pecan halves, toasted
In blender container, combine half the blueberries, the oil, marmalade, lemon juice, mustard and salt; blend until a smooth, thick dressing forms. Core and slice the apple. Arrange spinach, apple slices, celery and pecans on cold salad plates; top with remaining blueberries, if using fresh. Blend dressing again until smooth and drizzle each serving with dressing. If using frozen berries, fold into dressing and spoon over salads.
YIELD: 4 servings
Blueberry and Smoked Trout Salad
6 ounces (11 cups) arugula, baby spinach or mixed greens
4 (3 ounces each) smoked trout fillets, skinned, broken into bite-sized pieces, or 8 ounces
smoked turkey, diced
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine arugula, trout and blueberries. In a small cup, combine oil, vinegar, mint, salt and pepper. Divide salad onto 4 chilled plates; drizzle each serving with dressing.
YIELD: 4 portions
Go to blueberrycouncil.org to learn more about blueberries and find dozens of kitchen-tested recipes