Spring is in the air, and I’m celebrating with this Fresh Spring Salad! It is beautiful, fresh, healthy, and so vibrant.
My spring salad recipe is made with amazing ingredients, including asparagus, green peas, mixed spring greens, butter lettuce, artichokes, radishes, and herbed goat cheese. Using fresh ingredients is the key here. It is a great way to use amazing seasonal produce!
Plus, it is drizzled with a vibrant homemade lemon dressing! The lemon dressing takes less than 5 minutes to make, and adds so much flavor and freshness. I promise you will absolutely love this seasonal fresh spring salad!
The weather here in southeast Michigan has been so gorgeous lately. We’ve had like 10 days in a row of sunny skies and warmer weather, and I’m absolutely loving it! Flowers are coming back to life, and my local farmer’s market has been abounding with fresh produce. Life is good!
Today I’m sharing a very simple and gorgeous recipe: Fresh Spring Salad!
Everyone has their own version of a spring salad, so here’s mine! It is made with asparagus, green peas, mixed greens, butter lettuce, artichoke hearts, radishes, and goat cheese.
As for the dressing, it’s a super easy homemade lemon dressing. It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and can be made ahead. The lemon dressing adds so much flavor and vibrance.
This spring salad recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make. Super easy and absolutely beautiful!
To give you an idea, these are the ingredients I used:
- Butter lettuce: I love how bright green butter lettuce is. It adds color, volume, and a nice tender crunch. You can also use Boston or Bibb lettuce.
- Spring green mix: A simple spring mix will add more color and volume. Make sure it’s fresh and not wilted. You’ll need about 5 to 6 oz for about 6 people.
- Asparagus: I give the asparagus a quick pan sear or grill, until it’s slightly tender. About 2 minutes per side over high heat. Super quick!
- Radishes: Thinly sliced. I love how radishes add color contrast. Plus, I love radishes!
- Artichoke hearts: One of my favorite salad ingredients. I use canned artichoke hearts for ease.
- Green peas: I use frozen peas and thaw them in cold water for a few minutes.
- Goat cheese: For extra flavor. I like herbed goat cheese.
- For the lemon dressing: Freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
Check out the recipe card below for quantities and instructions!
How to Assemble this Salad
This fresh spring salad is so easy to make! The key here is using the freshest ingredients you can find and assembling it beautifully. It’s all about freshness and presentation.
First of all, quickly grill or or pan-sear the asparagus for about 1-2 minutes per side. This will tenderize it a little bit, while also keeping it tender crisp. Don’t cook the asparagus ahead though because it will wilt and turn a bit yellow if you store it. You can also use the asparagus raw if you wish!
Next is making the lemon dressing! All you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it vigorously until emulsified and combined. Adjust the ingredients to taste if needed. I usually end up adding more honey because I like my dressings on the sweeter side.
Now, the most important part: assembling the salad! Make sure you have a large platter. I’d highly recommend first arranging the butter lettuce leaves, especially around the edges of the plate. Then arrange the spring green mix on top. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top evenly.
Lastly, drizzle with the homemade lemon dressing and serve your beautiful salad. So good!
The Fresh Lemon Dressing
The lemon dressing is seriously amazing! It’s vibrant, fresh tasting, sweet and tangy. It adds so much great flavor to the salad.
Making it is also super easy. All you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it vigorously until uniformly combined. It all takes about 5 minutes or less, and can be made ahead.
Here’s what’s in it:
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice: Freshly squeezed is always best.
- Extra virgin olive oil: I prefer using robust olive oil for more intense flavors.
- Dijon mustard: The mustard acts as an emulsifier to create a uniform dressing. Without it, the oil and lemon juice would separate.
- Garlic clove: Make sure it’s very finely minced.
- Honey: Adds some sweetness to balance the acidity of the lemon.
- Salt and pepper to taste
Adjust the dressing to your liking. I usually end up adding a little bit more honey for extra sweetness, or more olive oil if it’s too sour.
You can make the dressing in advance. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note: it may solidify a bit in the fridge. Simply, let it sit for 10 minutes on the countertop at room temperature or microwave it for just a few seconds to loosen it up.
Substitutions and Variations
I love all the spring salad ideas I see on magazines, cookbooks, and online. A spring salad is pretty much a platter of your favorite seasonal spring ingredients, which means it is also highly versatile.
For this spring salad, I use my favorite seasonal ingredients, but feel free to substitute or add anything you’d like. Here are other ingredients I love to add:
- Watermelon radish
- Snap peas
- Feta cheese
Anyways…I could go on and on about other amazing ingredients to customize this salad. It’s that versatile!
You could even use another dressing of your choice. Really, any dressing you like will be fine, but I’d highly recommend using a citrus-based dressing for that touch of spring freshness.
And there you have it…a gorgeous fresh spring salad!
I love all the amazing and fresh ingredients in this recipe, but definitely feel free to customize it however you want! I love going to the farmer’s market during the weekends and finding different ingredients to use here.
The salad takes about 20 minutes (or less!) to make, and the lemon dressing can even be made ahead.
Happy Spring, friends!
If you’re looking for more seasonal spring recipes:
- Asparagus and Sweet Potato Salad
- Asparagus and Prosciutto Quiche
- Cream of Asparagus Soup
- Mini Spinach Quiches
- Lemon Orzo Spinach Salad by Joyous Apron
Tips for Success
- Use fresh ingredients! Make sure that especially the lettuce and the greens are fresh and crisp. A wilted salad is a no-no.
- To add some tenderness to the asparagus, grill or pan-sear it for 1-2 minutes over high heat.
- The lemon dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. If it solidifies, let it sit on the counter for 10-20 minutes prior to using, or microwave it for just a few seconds to loosen it up.
Fresh Spring Salad
- ½ pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
- Olive oil
- 8 leaves butter lettuce (Boston or Bibb lettuce work too)
- 5 oz spring green mix (about 6 cups)
- 2 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 6 to 8 canned artichoke hearts, halved
- ⅓ cup frozen peas (thawed, see note)
- 4 ounces goat cheese, torn into smaller pieces (I use herbed goat cheese)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅔ cups olive oil (plus more as needed)
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon honey (or to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make the lemon dressing: Combine all the lemon dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Cover with the lid tightly and shake vigorously until fully combined and emulsified. Adjust the dressing ingredients to taste, if needed. For example, if it’s too sour, add more olive oil or honey. Set aside.
- Slightly cook the asparagus: On a skillet or grill pan, add a small amount of olive oil over high heat. Cook the asparagus for about 1-2 minutes per side, until slightly tender but still crisp. This will make the asparagus slightly tender and easier to eat. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Arrange the salad: On a large platter, arrange the butter lettuce. Then add the spring green mix. Gently tuck the asparagus in the greens, and arrange the remaining salad ingredients (radish slices, artichokes, goat cheese, peas) on top.
- Drizzle with the prepared lemon dressing and serve. Enjoy!
- Thawing green peas: You can quickly thaw frozen green peas by putting them in room temperature water for a few minutes.
- Make ahead: the lemon dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. If the dressing solidifies in the fridge, simply let it sit on the counter for 10-20 minutes, or microwave it for just a few seconds.