We know they're healthy, but sometimes salads don't seem like the most exciting meal option. If you're tired of limp lettuce or struggle to feel full after chowing down on a bowl of greens, Food52 is about to change the way you think about the humble salad.
The culinary authority turned to its community of 1.2 million home cooks to uncover the top-rated salad recipes that actually taste as good as they look. The best bit? Each recipe is packed with a multitude of hearty ingredients that won't leave you wanting for more. Think "chewy grains and silky beans and sprouts and rips of prosciutto, any seed and toasty nuts and eggs and pretzels and bright herbs."
Oh, and if you like these three top-rated recipes, you can find the full collection in Food52's new cookbook Mighty Salads. Your spring health-kick starts here.
Petits Pois à la Française Redux
6 ounces thick-cut bacon
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
20 medium scallions (about 12 ounces)
3 hearts of romaine lettuce (about 12 ounce)
10 ounces fresh green peas
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Arrange the bacon slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with sugar and paprika. Bake until caramelized, for about 25 minutes. Let the bacon cool completely (the bacon will crisp as it cools) and then cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
To prepare the vegetables, rinse the scallions and pat dry. Rinse the romaine and pat dry. Discard the outermost leaves and chop off the top 2 inches of the romaine head. Cut each heart of romaine in half lengthwise, making sure that the root keeps each piece together.
Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, toss the peas with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a large sheet pan in one layer, and broil until the peas are lightly browned, mixing occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Place the peas in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the scallions on the same sheet pan in one layer, lightly brush with olive oil, season with salt, and broil for about 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly charred. Transfer the scallions to a cutting board or work surface and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut the scallions into 3/4-inch pieces.
Lightly brush the romaine pieces all over with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil the romaine on the sheet pan until lightly browned in spots, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer the romaine to a work surface and let cool for about 2 to 3 minutes. Chop the romaine into 1-inch thick strips. Discard the roots.
In a large bowl, toss the peas, scallions, romaine, and bacon. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Roasted Chickpea Salad With Za'atar
One 14-ounce can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons za'atar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to 250° F. In a bowl, mix chickpeas with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, then add the salt, za’atar, black pepper, lemon juice, and zest. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
Pour the canola oil into a deep-sided pan and heat it to 350° F. Fry the shallots until red and crunchy, then transfer them to a paper towel to drain.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add in the garlic, stir, then add the carrot, fennel, and red cabbage. Cook for 5 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat and add the roasted chickpeas, mint, raisins, and maple syrup. Mix well. Add feta cheese, if desired. Taste and add more vinegar, lemon, or salt if needed. Garnish with fried shallots.
Radish and Pecan Grain Salad
2 cups mixed grains (like farro, freekeh, wheat berries, wild rice, and quinoa, pearl barley, or any combination of the above)
1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 cup parsley leaves, minced
1/2 cup tarragon leaves, minced
1/2 cup mint leaves, cut in a chiffonade
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup lime, watermelon, or French breakfast radishes, cut into thin slices, preferably using a mandoline
1/4 cup shallot, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the grains and cook until just tender, about 25 minutes. (With grains like wild rice and wheat berries, add them to the pot first and cook 10 minutes before adding remaining grains).
Drain the grains into a colander, then set aside until warm to the touch. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Season with salt to taste.
What's your go-to spring salad? Share your favorite recipe with us below.