11 Early Spring Salad Recipes

Welcome spring with 11 light and bright salad recipes to make a terrific lunch or side dish.

Three spring salads set side by side.

Simply Recipes

Of all the recipes to look forward to in the springtime, it’s the salads that speak to me the most. Coming out of a winter of rustic soups and comforting casseroles, light bright salads are a breath of culinary fresh air. They’re as welcome in my kitchen as spring tulips are on my dining table. 

What I like most about spring salads is their ease. They demand little of the cook. Add a drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, and flash of fresh herbs to nearly any spring vegetable, whether raw or cooked, and you have a fine plate of food on your hands. Scatter on toasted nuts or crumbled cheese to elevate things further with little effort. 

Below you’ll find 11 salad recipes that feature the finest that spring has to offer including asparagus, artichokes, radishes, snap peas, strawberries, watercress, arugula, favas, English peas, and leeks. 

These recipes all lean on the lighter end of the spectrum and make a terrific lunch or a side dish for dinner. Add a source of protein to nearly any of these—whether grilled chicken, slow roasted salmon, or warm lentils—to make a complete meal.

  • Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto

    Spring Salad with Radishes - blue bowl with a salad of green beans, radish and on a wood table.
    Sally Vargas

    This salad is a bright green beauty thanks to a combination of English peas, green beans, snap peas, and a minty pesto that gets stirred in just before serving. You’ll have plenty of pesto leftover, which you can stash in the fridge or freezer to use for pasta night, as a sandwich spread, or to slather onto chicken or fish.

  • Roasted Radish and Feta Salad

    How to Roast Radishes
    Sally Vargas

    If you’ve never tried roasted radishes before, this salad is an excellent introduction. It could arguably make a convert of those who find radishes too bitter or peppery. Here, they’re roasted until tender and a little sweet and then combined with a lemony dressing. Side note: Don’t toss those radish greens! They can be whirled into pesto or added to a green salad.

  • Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

    Asparagus Shrimp Salad on Simply Recipes
    Elise Bauer

    Simple is the name of the game in this fresh and healthy recipe that makes an ideal lunch or light supper. It’s a mix of blanched asparagus and just a handful of other ingredients that come together in 20 minutes or less.

  • Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta

    Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta
    Sally Vargas

    If ever there’s a time to embrace watercress, it’s in spring! That’s when these flavorful greens are likely to be most tender, requiring little more than a quick rinse. For watercress with tougher stems, remove the bottom ends and keep the leaves on the upper stems. Either way, the peppery bite of watercress is magic with sweet strawberries, crunchy toasted almonds, and salty feta.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Oil-Poached Artichoke Heart Salad

    Oil Poach Artichoke salad
    Elise Bauer

    We wait all year for artichokes to arrive in spring and this is an excellent way to pay homage to a truly unique vegetable. You gently poach slices of artichoke heart in olive oil with whole cloves of garlic until they’re a little soft and truly luxurious. The salad keeps well for several days in the fridge. Don’t worry about wasting the leftover poaching oil. It can be reused for dressings or sautés.

  • Shaved Spring Vegetables Salad

    A white platter with an easy spring salad. Thinly sliced carrot, radish, fennel and asparagus are mixed together and mint leaves and chopped nuts are scattered around the top. The platter is on a light blue linen.
    Alison Bickel

    When vegetables are young, such as in the springtime, it’s an excellent time to enjoy them raw. Here, you toss together thinly sliced raw carrots, fennel, radishes, and asparagus with a light citrus honey dressing and finish with shaved Parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts. The recipe lends itself to endless variations, so feel free to swap in other vegetables, cheeses, or nuts. The result is a colorful salad with no shortage of crunch.

  • Leeks Vinaigrette

    Leeks Vinaigrette
    Elise Bauer

    Here’s how to make the most of tender spring leeks, a trick learned from our friends over in France. You begin by boiling leeks in plenty of salted water, then toss with a tangy Dijon vinaigrette. Marinate for a few hours or a few days and enjoy at room temp. Delicious.

  • Fava Bean Fennel Salad with Parmesan

    Fava Bean Fennel Salad with Parmesan
    Elise Bauer

    If you’re going to do anything with favas, you need to come to terms with the fact that there’s a bit of work involved. That said, the prize of sweet favas that only come but once a year is worth the effort. In this salad, the favas are blanched and then tossed with a tasty combo of thinly sliced fennel, shaved Parmesan, and plenty of fresh mint.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Asparagus Artichoke Salad

    Asparagus Artichoke Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Now is the time to enjoy asparagus, since it’s never sweeter than in the spring. Start by cooking it on the grill (broiling or roasting works, too) and then tossing it with artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and shallots. The recipe takes a big shortcut by relying on jarred artichokes, which means the salad comes together with ease.

  • Cold Pea Salad

    Cold Pea Salad in serving bowl
    Sally Vargas

    This recipe is written with frozen peas in mind but is excellent made with fresh English peas when they’re in season. Simply shell and blanch them in salted water and then make the recipe as instructed. The combination of sweet peas, smoky almonds, and hit of curry is an unusual (and very tasty) one. It’s also a terrific make-ahead dish, just be sure to add the almonds right before serving.

  • Strawberry Arugula Quinoa Salad

    Strawberry Quinoa Arugula Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Even though arugula is available year-round, early spring is the peak of the season for this delicate green. It pairs up with seasonal strawberries, along with toasted almonds and a zesty orange vinaigrette. Quinoa provides a nutty base for this salad and gives it some real staying power. Get ahead of the game by cooking the quinoa, toasting the nuts, and making the vinaigrette in advance. Then the whole thing comes together in a snap.