Early Spring Salad

My friend and her husband are planting their first garden and I am envious. I have a herbal garden on our patio every summer, but it cannot compare to digging in the ground and raising veggies. When they asked for our advice, we were glad to share, since both my husband and I loved to garden when we owned homes. I suggested square foot gardening, that is, planting only four of each plant in one square foot and when they ripen, put in four other plants throughout the summer and fall. My husband recommended adding deep bed gardening, which is digging down about one foot to mix the soil so it does not compact during growing. (Google both for more info.)


When they asked us what to plant first, we both suggested lettuces, spinach, radishes, and scallions as early plants and when I created my own early spring salad I used some of these ingredients. Here is a sample recipe that you can add or subtract ingredients depending on what is available at farmers’ markets or green grocers. Enjoy the fresh taste of early spring greens!



Utensils: Cutting board and knife, mixing bowl, serving bowl
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None!
Categories: Vegan, Gluten Free, No Added Sugar

Ingredients (No specific amountsOrganic when possible)

Red tipped Romaine lettuce or other of your choice
Spinach or baby kale
Radishes (Try watermelon radishes when available)
Mixed sprouts (I grow clover, radish, mustard, broccoli, and alfalfa together)
Leeks or scallions, chopped
Optional: Slivers of fennel

Lemon juice and olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste or herbs of your choice


1. Wash greens well and spin or towel dry. Tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in bowl.
2. Slice radishes thinly and add to bowl. (I used fennel for this picture because I had not yet gone to Mom’s Organic for watermelon radishes.)
3. Add salt & pepper and/or herbs to taste
4. Toss with olive oil and lemon.
5. Garnish with sprouts right before serving.

Holiday Salads: Past & Present

I first posted these two salads in 2009, and they stand the test of time for this holiday season.

Holiday Fruit Salad



The pomegranate is a perfect holiday food. It is available in the fall and is bright and cheery, similar to holly berries, only these you can eat! According to a book entitled, Apples and Pomegranates by Rachel Musleah, the pomegranate is mentioned in the Bible, in art, and in literature as a symbol of beauty and fertility because of the large scarlet flowers, the glossy greens leaves, its round red fruit, and its numerous seeds.

Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl or plate
Prep. Time: 20 minutes – 1/2 hour*
Cooking Time: none
* You can now buy pomegranate seeds in a container in the cooler section, which cuts down prep time by half.

1/2 pomegranate, seeded
2-3 red-skinned organic apples
2 Organic green kiwi (also comes in yellow)

Optional toppings: yogurt, dried (unsweetened) coconut, walnuts, honey

1. Wash all the fruit well, even if you are peeling it and it is organic.
2. Place pomegranate seeds in a bowl. (Remove all the membrane when you peel it.)
3. Peel and cut kiwi into small pieces and add to bowl.
4. Cut apples in half, remove core and seeds, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with some lemon juice to avoid discoloration. Add to bowl.
5. Toss all the fruit and place back in the bowl or on a plate. Add topping of your choice, or serve as is. Colorful, crunchy, and delicious! Serves 3-4.

Note: Instead of pomegranates, you feel free to use cranberries, which are perfect for the holidays, as well. It may make the dish too tart, so drizzle on some honey or maple syrup.

Holiday Tossed Salad


This is a simple salad that uses very few organic veggies, but is in keeping with the red, white & green of the holiday season.

Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl, serving dish
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Categories: Vegan, GF, No Sugar Added (NSA)

(organic whenever possible)
10 -12 cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 or 1/3.
1-2 stalks of celery or one piece of fennel, washed & cut into small pieces
one cucumber, washed, partially peeled* and cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise if needed
balsamic vinegar or dressing of choice +
organic salad sprouts (optional)
* You can peel the entire cucumber or use the peeler to peel away strips, so the cucumber looks striped.

1. Cut cucumber into bite-sized pieces, which may require thirds or quarters, depending on its diameter. Place in a bowl.
2. Cut tomatoes in half and add to bowl; likewise with celery or fennel.
3. Toss all the veggies with your dressing. Place on an attractive serving plate and garnish with sprouts.
4. Serve soon after the salad is tossed. If not using right away, refrigerate without dressing and toss with dressing right before serving.
Serves 3 or 4.

+Fennel Dressing(Vegan)
Since I am using fennel elsewhere this month, I decided to use the feathery leaves for a dressing, but you can use the dressing of your choice. You can also use it on the veggies in the recipe below.

1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 organic lemon
fennel leaves (more or less to your taste)
1 T. fennel seeds
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in blender ’til smooth. Pour into a small pitcher and add fennel seeds.

Fruity Holiday Salad for 2015

This recipe combines my increased interest in fennel and pomegranates, plus my ongoing love for avocados, which I always believed to be a healthy food and finally it has been acknowledged as such. All three can be part of your health-enhancing menus.

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, grapefruit knife, bowl for mixing, and serving platter or bowl.
Prep. Time: 15 min. (or 5 min. more if using a fresh pomegranate)
Cooking Time: None
Categories: Vegan, GF, No Sugar Added (NSA)


6-8 organic lettuce leaves (I mixed Romaine with red, curly leaf lettuce.)
1/4-1/2 c. pomegranate seeds (arils)
one fennel bulb, cut at end and one piece removed
one small avocado, pitted & peeled
one small lemon or lime
2-3 Tbl. avocado, almond, or sunflower oil (Olive is too strong)
seasoning of choice (I used 5-spice powder because it seems to
fit this fruity-like salad with its cinnamon, cloves, fennel, anise, etc.
1/4 c. slivered almonds
optional fronds of dill or fennel


1. Wash and dry lettuce and rip into small pieces. Place in bowl.
2. Remove seeds (arils) from cut pomegranate to equal about 1/4-1/2 cup. (I use a grapefruit knife.)
3.Cut the end of the fennel bulb so sections can be separated.  Slice the washed piece of fennel bulb very thinly and add to bowl.
4. Slice the peeled avocado into thin slices and add to bowl.
5. Add the slivered almonds and toss all the ingredients except (optional) fronds.
6. Add in the oil and the juice of one small lemon or lime and toss again. Finally, add your choice of seasonings, toss and place on a serving platter or bowl. Serve immediately once dressed, garnished with fronds, if using.

Variation: Feel free to use feta cheese cubes if not a vegan. Trader Joe’s makes a goat cheese log rolled in cranberries that is perfect for the holidays.

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

Copyright ©2022 Ellen Sue Spicer-Jacobson. | Website by Parrish Digital.