Turkey, Potato and Spinach Salad; Greens, Dressings and Recipes

Spring salad season is starting!

All of the fresh, crisp greens are returning to the markets and gardens.

Most people do not need any more information about salad greens….

But in case you're curious about which are the healthiest…

It all comes down to color: the darker the green or red, the more nutrients in the leaf.

From Livestrong.com article on healthy salads:

Lettuce contains vitamins A, C and folate, calcium, fiber, beta-carotene and phytonutrients, substances the Colorado State University Extension says act as antioxidants. It has seven calories per cup. Iceberg is a commonly used variety, but lower in nutrients than green leaf, red leaf and romaine. For example, 100g of iceberg contains 502 IU of vitamin A, while green leaf has 7,405, red leaf 7,492 and romaine 5,807. Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C, K and E, iron and potassium. Mustard, beet and other greens can be mixed with lettuce as the basis for a healthy salad.

Seems simple enough – but it's usually not the greens that make our salads healthy…. or not.

The worst culprit in elevating a lovely, light salad to 'heart-attack in a bowl' levels is the salad dressing.

I started making my own salad dressing when we left the US, over 15 years ago.  The reason was simple: I had no choice.  I couldn't buy them.

I soon learned how incredibly quick and easy it is to make them from scratch.  Then I actually read the labels of commercial salad dressings and was, shall we say apalled?!

Why would I want to eat that?

I did a post last summer about salad dressing….

I won't go in to all that again, but here are the recipes which I think deserve another post.

First, the instrucions: the ingredients vary but method is always the same:

Put all wet ingredients (mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, etc) except oil in a small bowl.  Whisk well to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the olive or other oil, whisking constantly, until it emulsifies or thickens. 
If it's a yogurt based dressing this will come together quickly.  If it's not, you may have to stop adding the oil and just whisk for a few seconds from time to time….  you're adding the oil too fast.
When the dressing is thick, add the chopped herbs, shallots, etc. 

All of the dressings / vinaigrettes will keep for several days up to a week in the fridge.

Always add a bit of dressing to just the lettuce and toss very well to coat.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and a bit more dressing.  That helps to control the urge to use too much dressing.

Creamy Mustard Yogurt Dressing  (my version of 'Ranch)

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs snipped chives
1 tbs snipped basil

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

1 1/2 tbs honey
1 1/2 tbs course grain mustard
1 1/2 tbs  lemon juice
4 tbs good olive oil

"French" Vinaigrette

2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tbs good olive oil

Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs Balsamic wine vinegar
5 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
1 tbs freshly snipped chives
1 tbs freshly snipped basil
1 clove garlic, crushed

Oriental Vinaigrette (lo cal)

2 tbs brown sugar, unpacked
2 1/2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs parsley – dried or fresh
1 tbs water
2 tsp oil – sesame or walnut best
2 tsp soy sauce

Thousand Island Dressing

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs capers, chopped
1 tbs fresh chives, snipped
2 tbs good olive oil

Now that you have the healthy greens and dressing, round it out with some color and crunch: sliced radishes or fennel, crisp, blanched asparagus, walnut halves, grilled peppers and onions… Almost anything will work, just remember to keep the portions small – it's meant to accent, not overwhelm.

Some of our favorites:

Niçoise Asparagus Salad on mâche or lamb's lettuce:

Asparagus Mozarella Salad

Avocado Feta and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Avocado Feta Spinach

Garden Salad with Radishes and Fennel

Radish Fennel Salad

Tuna, Cannellini and Golden Tomatoes on Romaine

Salad Tuna White Bean

Spinach Salad with Ham and Avocado and a bit of pasta

Spinach Ham Avocado

And one last – for spring….  You can do the potatoes and turkey in a skillet or on the barbecue grill. The time is about the same. Use a mix of greens if you can.

Salad Turkey Spinach
Salad with Potatoes, Turkey and Avocado

Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes

10oz (300gr) turkey cutlets substitute 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbs teriyaki marinade or sauce
2 medium potatoes, (10oz, 300gr)
1 tbs olive oil
1 avocado
3oz (175gr) spinach
3oz (175) mâche or lamb's lettuce
Mustard Vinaigrette
2 tbs whole grain mustard
2 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbs sherry vinegar
1/2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs good olive oil

Potatoes: Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and coat with the olive oil. Either cook in a pan on the barbecue if you are using, or sauté in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until done and lightly browned, 20 – 25 minutes.
Turkey: Put turkey on a plate and spoon Teriyaki marinade over both sides. Cook on barbecue grill for 4 – 6 minutes per side (depending on thickness) or sauté in nonstick skillet for the same amount of time. Remove and slice into strips.
Vinaigrette: Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.
The rest: Prepare lettuce, rinse and spin dry if needed. Slice avocado.
To assemble: Add half of the vinaigrette to the lettuce and toss well to coat. Divide and arrange on 2 plates. Divide and arrange potatoes, turkey and avocado. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and serve.

Happy Spring!

9 thoughts on “Turkey, Potato and Spinach Salad; Greens, Dressings and Recipes”

  1. I am coming here again and again. Must try the oriental dressing, must try all the yogurt based ones! It’s not really salad season here at all – but I am “making believe.”

  2. “I soon learned how incredibly quick and easy it is to make them from scratch.” So true. Applies to many other things as well, and so true about the contents of the prepackaged stuff!

  3. Zoomie, I do – enough substance to fill up mon mari… I like the crunch – it’s makes it more satisfying.
    Betty, it did here, as well – but we have great hopes for this coming weekend!
    Claudia, I’m doing a lot of pretending, too. Glad you like the dressings!
    Vanessa, I don’t know how people can eat some of that stuff – if they read the ingredients it sounds like a chemistry kit.
    Thanks, Val
    manningroad, and you must be at the end of salad season ;-))
    Kerry, thank you.
    Beth, if I can keep the bunnies at bay we’ll have fresh lettuce soon….

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