You know how some people get excited about tech rollouts and season premieres and stuff? This is how I feel about the first farmer's market of the year.
My bestie and I make a habit of monthly farmer's market lady-dates: we oooh and aaah over ramps and romanesco, try all of the free samples, and buy far more than we can carry.
But not more than we can eat.
The farmer's market is a magical place where you can meet local farmers, learn about seasonal produce, and indulge in some of the best people-watching there is. All of them are family-friendly and many are dog-friendly, too. It's free to stroll around, get some exercise, and take in the sights.
What more could you want on a Saturday morning?
In honor of the beginning of farmer's market season, here are 17 of the most beautiful spring salads around. Get inspired and check out your local market this weekend!
17 Flowering Greens Spring Salad
This vibrant salad takes advantage of the earliest spring produce: pea shoots, mustard flowers, and pretty purple broccolini. Topped with a creamy, smoky tahini dressing, it's the perfect way to welcome spring back to the table.
16 Springtime Fennel and Citrus Salad
Blood orange, grapefruit, and fennel are the stars here, with crunchy, spicy radish, and yellow bell pepper adding a bit of bite. The best thing about this stunning salad? There's no need to whip up a dressing because the citrus fruits come with their own fragrant, slightly acidic juice. Toss to coat, maybe add a few glugs of olive oil, and you're go to go.
15 Seasonal Celebration Salad
You need to believe in these tiny potatoes—combined with salty chorizo and a creamy poached egg, they add a heartiness that takes this salad from rabbit food to a full-fledged main course. Asparagus, peas, and fava beans add all the spring flavor you crave. Check out the recipe here.
14 Beetroot & Quinoa Salad with Horseradish Cream Dressing
Quinoa is a fantastic option for a filling, grain-free lunch salad. Paired with spring favorites asparagus and roasted beet, and topped with a spicy, creamy horseradish dressing, this salad hits all the right notes with its bold flavors. See the recipe here.
13 Spring Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, Lemon, and Hazelnuts
Zucchini ribbons and shaved asparagus are so lovely here! Crunchy hazelnuts add a delicate sweetness, and lemon brings just the right amount of brightness. In other words, this salad is basically a sunny spring day on a plate.
12 Roasted Balsamic Beet, Goat Cheese, and Pistachio Salad
I get it. Beets are not for everyone. That said, if you've never tried roasted beets, you're in for a treat. This beautiful beet salad combines traditional burgundy-hued beets with golden and pink varieties, adding a lovely depth of flavor. Tangy goat cheese and pistachios round out the flavor profile, making this a can't-miss-dish for spring.
11 Shaved Asparagus Spring Salad with Ricotta
If you've never tried a brown-butter vinaigrette, you seriously need to rethink your life. I kid, I kid. But seriously. Served warm, this vinaigrette is the perfect combination of nutty, silky brown butter and sunny meyer lemon. Topped with a giant dollop of whole milk ricotta, this amazing shaved asparagus salad is a luxurious way to enjoy spring's bounty.
10 Spring Peas and Fingerling Potatoes with Tarragon and Mustard Seed
I was terrified of mayonnaise when I was a kid. That's pretty normal, right? As a result, I refused to eat traditional potato salad, much to my relatives' chagrin. This recipe has redeemed my faith in humanity and given us all a mayonnaise-free version of the classic picnic dish that will impress your mother-in-law and make you the star of your next family get-together.
9 Fiddlehead Fern Salad
If you are lucky enough to live in a region with fiddlehead ferns then run, don't walk, to your nearest farmer's market and grab them before they're gone. Make sure you sauteé your fiddleheads in oil or butter or blanch them in boiling water before eating. However you choose to cook them, this salad is guaranteed to be a showstopper.
8 Chicken, Mint, and Strawberry Salad
Strawberries and mint might sound like the makings of a cocktail or dessert, but they're the perfect pairing to spring-ify your basic chicken and greens lunch. The macerated strawberry vinaigrette is easy to make and adds another layer of fresh spring flavor to this pretty dish. Check out the recipe here.
7 Sprout + Crunch Radicchio Cups with Avocado
These radicchio salad cups are absolute showstoppers. Perfect for a spring dinner party or mother's day brunch, they're easy to assemble and look amazing without being too fussy. Stunning, nutritious, and easy to make?! These are going to the top of my must-eat list.
6 Spring Pea and Carrot Salad with Carrot Top Pesto
I'm pretty sure we've reached optimal salad with this work of art. First of all, did you know that carrot tops are edible? Now you do. Throw them in a blender with your regular pesto fixings and you've got a beautifully herbaceous sauce that you'll want to put on everything. See the recipe here.
5 Shaved Cauliflower Salad with Spring Peas, Yogurt, and Mint
If you didn't think there could possibly be another way to use this ubiquitous veggie, let me introduce you to shaved cauliflower. Cauliflower has won hearts and minds as an inexpensive, nutritious, and versatile veg, so I'm incredibly excited to try this fun, new preparation. Also, peas are the unsung heroes of the spring vegetable world, so give them some love and try out this pretty, simple salad. Check out the recipe here.
4 Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
Real talk: there are people out there who scoff at salads. "A bunch of lettuce is not a meal," they say, "that won't possibly keep me full." If you know that person (or you are that person) you owe it to yourself to try grain and lentil salads. This baby is chock-full of roasted and fresh spring veggies along with the nutritional powerhouse of the food world, lentils. You can find the recipe here.
3 Halloumi and Pea Salad
That's right, the main ingredient in this salad is cheese. You're welcome. Halloumi is a brined cheese traditionally made in Cyprus, and it's the perfect foil for fresh peas, pea shoots, and potatoes. Because of its high melting point, halloumi is perfect for frying and grilling. Cook it however you like, but make sure it has that beautiful, bubbly brown top.
2 Roasted Radish and Fennel Salad with Walnut Gremolata
Roasted radishes have been a revelation for me, and I've paired them with everything from toast to tacos to . . . OK, I usually just eat them out of a bowl. They are totally amazing. Here, the walnut gremolata functions like non-bread breadcrumbs, adding a lovely texture to the dish. See the recipe here and try this delightful food trend for yourself.
1 Spring Buckwheat Salad
This spring salad features strawberries and asparagus, two of the ultimate spring ingredients. Pan-grilling the asparagus adds a lovely charred flavor to the sweet fruit, and the whole dish is brought together with homemade rye croutons. Don't have rye? This recipe is a fantastic way to use up day-old bread.
There's really something for everyone on this list (yes, even for people who don't like salads) so take a field trip to the farmer's market this weekend and celebrate spring's bounty with a big bowl of green—and pink and red and orange—goodness.