Hi, spring. So nice of you to finally arrive and warm my bones.
When you’re from the Midwest, you know that there’s a huge discrepancy from when the calendar says it’s officially spring to when it actually gets warm out. Some years it just goes from winter to summer in the span of a week. This spring has been coming in slowly, with cold days lingering but a few spots of sunshine showing up.
I don’t know about you, but the one thing I really love about spring is all the fresh, seasonal produce. In an effort to help you save money and eat seasonally, I thought I’d share my favorite veggie-packed, nutritious spring green salad with you. It’s inspired by various trips to the local salad bar where I always spend wayyy too much money. Anyone else?
Ingredients in this spring green salad
We’re loading up this farmer’s market salad with all of the colorful produce you can find. It’s crunchy, hearty, and everything you need in a satisfying lunch. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Spinach: the base of the salad is made with baby spinach, which pairs perfectly with the rest of the veggies.
- Vegetables: this gorgeous bowl is loaded with red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, peas (my fav), and creamy avocado.
- Mix-ins: add extra flavor and texture with alfalfa sprouts, black olives, crumbled feta cheese, and sunflower seeds. SO GOOD.
- For the dressing: we’re tossing everything together with my famous basil lemon vinaigrette, which is made with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, a little honey or sugar, basil leaves, salt & pepper.
Make this spring salad your own
The best part about this salad is how easy it is to customize with produce and mix-ins you have on hand! Here’s what I can recommend:
- Pick your base: if spinach isn’t your thing, feel free to swap it for arugula, kale, or a spring mix. If you’re using kale, I recommend massaging it with the vinaigrette first to help break it down.
- Customize your veggies: you can truly throw in any vegetables you have lurking in your fridge. I think shredded brussels sprouts, finely chopped broccoli, snap peas, and shredded kale would all be great swaps.
- Have fun with add-ins: feel free to get creative here! You can easily add or omit any of the suggested mix-ins. Goat cheese or bleu cheese would be great swaps for the feta, and toasted almonds, walnuts, or pistachios would add delicious crunch in place of the sunflower seeds (if you prefer nuts to seeds). To keep the salad nut free, you could also use pumpkin seeds.
More easy dressing options
I love the light, tangy flavor that the lemon basil vinaigrette adds to the salad, but here are some more homemade salad dressings that would pair well with this spring green salad:
Looking to add a boost of protein?
It couldn’t be easier! Try adding:
- A can of rinsed, drained chickpeas
- A cup of cooked quinoa
- Diced baked or grilled chicken (my honey mustard chicken would be perfect)
- Grilled shrimp
- My honey lemon garlic salmon
You can even make extra lemon basil vinaigrette and use it to marinate your chicken before cooking it! Get our tips and tricks for baking chicken here, and grilling it here.
Storing & meal prep tips
This salad makes a wonderful meal prep lunch or a beautiful platter for serving at a BBQ or potluck. I recommend prepping the salad but leaving the dressing off of it until you’re ready to serve it so that the spinach doesn’t get soggy. You can store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator without the dressing for up to 4-5 days, and store the dressing as well for up to one week in a separate container.
More salad recipes to try
- The Easiest Chopped Greek Chickpea Salad
- California Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad
- Avocado Tomato Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- Roasted Carrot Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with Sunshine Dressing
- Kale, Edamame & Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
If you make this vegetarian spring green salad, be sure to leave a comment below to let me know how you liked it. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to snap a pic and tag #ambitiouskitchen so I can check out your creations! xo.
Everything Spring Green Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Beautiful spring green salad filled with fresh seasonal produce, seeds & creamy avocado, and tossed in the BEST lemon basil vinaigrette. Enjoy this gorgeous, flavorful spring salad as a main meal, easy side dish, or recipe for a potluck!
- 6 cups organic spinach
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced or diced
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 medium ripe avocado, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the lemon basil vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 4 basil leaves, finely chopped
- Freshly ground salt and black pepper, to taste
To make the basil lemon vinaigrette: Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and emulsified. You can also pulse everything together in the food processor. Taste, add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as necessary.
There are two ways to enjoy this amazing salad! If you’re serving it at a party, try it on a platter:
Arrange the greens on a large serving bowl. Arrange the other ingredients in groups on top of the greens. Serve with the basil lemon vinaigrette on the side.
If you’re serving it for your family, you can place the ingredients evenly in bowls as pictured above and then add the dressing. Up to you! Enjoy!
To store: I recommend storing this salad without the dressing for up to 4-5 days. Dress the salad as soon as you're ready to eat it so that the spinach doesn't get soggy.
See the full post for easy ways to customize this salad!
Photography and recipe by Monique Volz // Photography Editing by Sarah Fennel
Absolutely gorgeous salad!! I usually spend way too much at salad bars too, so I’m always making salads at home. Whole Foods salad bar? HEAVEN.
This looks absolutely lovely, Monique! This is crazy, but whenever I see “sprouts” on anything, I know I’m going to love it! The texture that sprouts bring salads, pho, etc. is just THE best!
So spring-y and fresh! Cannot wait to make this for dinner!
This is such a pretty Spring salad!! I love it!
Monique, I will lay on my back with my knees bent and put my hands palms down under my butt cheeks. Then I let my knees fall to the sides. It really helps stretch my hips! 🙂
This looks beautiful! Monique I am a huge fan of your blog but I have never left a comment. I love your chickpea blondies and black bean brownies, next I want to make the coconut flour pancakes. As a yoga instructor, it makes me sad that you “had” to quit yoga. Maybe the type of yoga you were practicing was too hard on your body. I know some days I physically cannot do a power or hot or vigorous practice. Have you looked into or considered Yin Yoga? This is my favorite and is very gentle on the body, but extremely powerful, especially for the hips. It is also meditative and stimulates the meridian pathways of the body similar to acupuncture. I know you are into wellness, so you might want to check it out! There are also therapeutic and restorative types of yoga out there. You don’t have to limit yourself to one style of yoga. Yoga can help the body heal from injuries, but only if you are doing the right kind for your body and are very aware of what your body needs moment to moment. If you can’t make it to a yoga class, you can still do relaxing yoga stretches at home. I would recommend holding low lunges (dragon pose in Yin) and pigeon poses (sleeping swan) while relaxing as many muscles as possible and breathing deeply, for at least 1 minute or longer on each side if possible. Good luck ?
I would just echo Adele’s comment! I’m also a yoga instructor and truly believe you can find another yoga practice that accommodates your neck and back issues. Perhaps you could do a couple of private yoga sessions to get some specialized pose suggestions that you could then incorporate into a home practice. Best wishes! I absolutely love your blog and your recipes. Thanks for all the lovely cooking and healthy living inspiration!
Try Barre3. I used to have a lot of trouble with my hip flexors when running, but after consistently doing Barre3 I haven’t had problems!
These are some of the most beautiful salad photos I have ever seen! Wonderful recipe 🙂
Stunning, Monique! Love all of those vibrant colors and flavors! 🙂
I also love spring produce, but berries are pretty expensive at the moment :'( anyways, in my opinion, spring salads are the prettiest of them all, including this one! This is just mindblowingly beautiful!
Yum! This looks delicous. I’m going to try it next week with tofu feta!
This salad is absolutely beautiful, Monique!!
This is so beautiful! Our farmers’ market has its grand reopening in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to fresh produce and warmer days! Mother Nature has been hanging on to winter a little too tight this year.
Perfect timing to make this salad! Agreed – I’m ready for spring 🙂
This salad caught my eye this morning and I made it for dinner this evening. It was fantastic, thank you so much for a great salad combination!
Perfect for spring! Glad you found this one 🙂
Loved this! I was really craving something light and fresh and this was perfect. It’s also easily customizable—I switched up some of the toppings just based on personal preference and added edamame for protein. It was delicious!
Absolutely! Such a great lunch 🙂
This salad was delicious! It makes a lot but that is good since I can’t wait to eat it tomorrow for lunch.
Yay! So happy you loved it and can enjoy it again today!