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6 Healthy Salad Recipes That Taste Just as Good as They Look

Words by Sacha Strebe

It’s no secret that we love to cook beautiful over here at EyeSwoon HQ. In short, that translates to making food that tastes as good as it looks. Yes, we like to engage the senses visually first, tastebuds second. So when curating this list of healthy salad recipes, we wanted to deliver dishes that allow you to eat with our eyes first thanks to generous dollops of burrata, edible flowers, and bright, zippy seasonal flavors that make your mouth water before you’ve even taken a bite. Yes, that’s the sensorial explosion we want to inspire every time we cook or in this case, build! When I think about building flavors in the kitchen, there are six tenets I always seek to combine: something seasonal, something spicy and sweet, something tangy or briny, something textural, something fresh and vibrant, and always an allium. Keep these at the forefront and you’ll always create a delicious concoction every. single. time. I promise! 

So keep reading to discover six of our favorite healthy salad recipes to enjoy throughout the warmer months and be sure to tag us on Instagram @eyeswoon when you do! 

Athena Calderone
Athena Calderone

Yes, we like to engage the senses visually first, tastebuds second.

FETA CUCUMBER SALAD WITH CORIANDER AND FENNEL SEEDS

This feta cucumber salad with coriander and fennel seeds is the simplest, the crunchiest, and the tastiest for springtime. It’s also a reminder that you do not have to make these laborious recipes for something to be super delicious. Today’s recipe is a little bit different from my usual flavor profiles because I always use herbs in my food and I always use citrus for my acid but for this feta cucumber salad, I use some really fun vinegar that I recently found, pickled shallots, creamy sheep milk feta, with coriander and fennel seeds that I toast, crush, and then toss over the top for that aromatic, sensorial impact. It’s just the best combination of flavors that is so simple but really explosive on the palette. This is one of my favorite new dishes that I plan to be making all spring long. I hope that it inspires your palette to try something new too. 

THE SPRINGIEST SPRING SALAD

Highlighting the season’s daintiest delights—watercress, pea shoots, tender herbs—this salad is such a welcome change of pace after the muddled and muted flavors of winter. Making it relies heavily on a mandoline, so I encourage you to buy one if the tool isn’t already part of your arsenal. The lemon vinaigrette is a variation on my go-to dressing, with crème fraîche lending some welcome richness to the light, crunchy veg. Feel free to ad-lib with whatever looks best at the farmer’s market—endive, watermelon radish, and snaps peas would all work beautifully here. But whatever you do, don’t skimp on the fresh tarragon; its tender leaves add a complex anise-like flavor that really rounds out the dish. Keep reading for this delicious green spring salad recipe. 

Photo by Johnny Miller for Cook Beautiful. 
Photo by Johnny Miller for Cook Beautiful. 

SUGAR SNAP PEA AND FAVA SALAD WITH BUFFALO MOZZARELLA

Yes, it’s true: Favas are higher maintenance than your average bean. First, they have to be popped out of their pods, then blanched and slipped from their thick individual skins. But the reward here far outweighs the drudgery—especially when you approach the prep as a meditation, setting yourself up somewhere comfy and zoning out as you peel. With their creamy texture, favas are a pleasure unto themselves, but they also play well with other seasonal crops, like the spring onions, sugar snaps, and soft herbs that round out this super-fresh salad. The addition of buffalo mozzarella gives the dish a decadent feel, making it substantial enough for a light meal. Sometimes, when I’m craving a little extra crunch, I also sprinkle on some homemade bread crumbs. And if you can’t find favas—or they prove to be too much work—just swap in some defrosted frozen edamame. I won’t tell

 

WHEATBERRY GRAIN BOWL RECIPE WITH PICKLED RHUBARB AND HUMBOLDT FOG

Don’t tell my friend asparagus, but rhubarb is my favorite of the swoony stalks that pop up each spring. I love the deep pink, bracingly bitter vegetable so much, in fact, that I became hell-bent on figuring out a new way to use her. Instead of sweetening her up, as usual, to make a pie or crumble, I amped up her inherent sourness with a quick bath in the pickling solution. The tangy result is, I must admit, utterly brilliant—especially in this grain bowl recipe when mingled with the creamy goat cheese, snappy raw spring veg, nutty wheat berries, and herby vinaigrette.

Photos by Johnny Miller for Cook Beautiful. 
Photos by Johnny Miller for Cook Beautiful. 

STRAWBERRY BURRATA SALAD

This non-recipe recipe is mostly reliant on how you build flavor on a plate and how I build a dish changes from season to season. For example, in the colder months, I opt for more complex techniques like searing, braising, and roasting. But as spring and summer come along, I don’t want to do any of that. I want my cooking style to be more laid back, and more carefree because that is how we all feel at this time of year. This dish follows that same philosophy. It is literally a combination of seasonal produce I found at the farmer’s stand and playing around with those flavor tenets I mentioned earlier. This is one of the tastiest healthy salad recipes you’ll make all season.

RED ENDIVE AND PINK RADICCHIO SALAD

Balancing bitter and sweet. Shapes, composition, texture, color, contrast, and flavors. I think of all of these things when I am developing a recipe and styling a dish through the lens. I am never not infusing my love of the culinary with my eye for design—I can’t help it. Bitter endive and pink radicchio with pear, dates, blue cheese, and candied walnuts dressed in a citrus vinaigrette with Dijon and a touch of honey and finished with fresh orange juice and zest. Super vibrant with just the right balance of bitter—enjoy!

A ZIPPY ASPARAGUS & BURRATA SALAD

When I swoon, I swoon hard! I buy asparagus a minimum of three times per week this time of year. I can’t stop, won’t stop on these farm stand staples. The skinny ones are my jam. They’re just the way I like ‘em—perky, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, and in absolute abundance on the East End of Long Island at the moment. Although I have no intention of ending my asparagus tear until its season comes to a close, continuously having this veggie on hand sometimes sends me into a recipe rut. Usually, I find myself on asparagus-prep autopilot—snap the ends, spread out on some foil, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill—DONE and YUM!

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