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Greens, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad
At her summer home on Martha's Vineyard, food scholar and cookbook author Jessica B. Harris keeps specialty salts and vinegars on hand to bring instant interest to salad dressings. Here, a honey-ginger white balsamic is the backbone of a sweet and fragrant sesame-honey-ginger dressing that adds a mildly piquant kick to the fresh peppery greens and creamy avocado in this colorful side salad. The blueberry-honey sea salt made on Martha's Vineyard is absolutely worth sourcing for both its pleasantly fruity and tart flavor and its stunning purple hue. While these specialty ingredients add an elegant touch, the Food & Wine test kitchen also came up with a few simple substitutions to make this recipe without them (see Note).
Marinated Chickpea Salad with Radishes, Cucumber, and Queso de Freir
This quick chickpea salad from pastry chef Paola Velez, a riff on this recipe from former Food & Wine Test Kitchen Supervisor Marcia Kiesel, is packed with vegetables and tossed with a simple, flavorful lemon-garlic and cumin dressing. Crispy, melty strips of fried queso de freir — a favorite cheese from Velez's childhood — take the dish over the top. The salad comes together in 30 minutes, making it ideal for busy nights.
Spring Gem Salad with Soft Herbs and Labneh Toasts
Nancy Silverton says the first sign of spring is when she puts this salad on the menu at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. She dresses the asparagus, peas, radishes, and sugar snap peas with a lemon vinaigrette, then offers toasts topped with labneh alongside, turning this ode to spring produce into a light lunch or first course for dinner. The herbs are an important part of the mix; if you can't find chervil, substitute equal parts Italian parsley and tarragon.
Thai-Style Bluefish Salad
Laap pla duk, a Thai catfish salad, is the inspiration for this flavor-packed dish of flaked bluefish fillets tossed with fish sauce, lime juice, spicy red Thai chiles, and fresh mint and cilantro. Toasted and powdered jasmine rice adds aroma and helps unify the dish, absorbing flavors from the other ingredients. Serve the salad with lettuce leaves, lime wedges, and cooked rice so each diner can assemble their own lettuce wraps. Rich, oily bluefish are abundant in the waters off Cape Cod. If you can't find bluefish, another fatty fish like mackerel is a good substitute.
Shaved Beet and Carrot Salad With Citrus-Scallion Dressing
Rating: Unrated 2
This gorgeous, colorful salad takes late-winter produce like thinly shaved beets, carrot ribbons, and rounds of juicy clementine and dresses them up for spring with a citrus-scallion vinaigrette so delicious, recipe creator Leah Koenig says, "I sneak it straight from a spoon."  Crisp arugula serves as the base for this bright, earthy salad. Topped with nutty almonds and a citrus-scallion dressing balanced with honey, this salad is special enough to serve at a holiday meal (Koenig includes it on her table for Passover, alongside her Chicken, Potatoes, and Leeks with Pine Nut Gremolata) but it is just as delicious as a quick, light lunch.
You're Not Adding Enough Vinegar to Your Vinaigrette
Swap the proportions of oil and vinegar for a brighter, more flavorful dressing.

More Salads

Asparagus and Spring Onion Salad with Seven-Minute Eggs
Spring onions are the sweetest alliums of the year, and they play well in this salad with first of-the-season asparagus and tender lettuces. Soy and ginger team up with sherry vinegar in the tangy dressing that's perfect with the rich, jammy egg yolks. If spring onions aren't available, you can substitute scallions. 
Anu's Noodle Salad with Crunchy Fruit
Rating: Unrated 1
A joyful romp of textures, Anu Mahendro's refreshing salad combines crisp bell pepper, juicy grapes, pineapple, chewy egg noodles, carrots, and fresh apples dressed with a homemade vinaigrette. While it's perfect paired with her husband Pawan's Fried Catfish Sandwiches with Cumin Slaw, it makes a grand addition to any potluck spread. To maintain the textures, serve it chilled. 
Mission Fig, Elderberry, and Mixed Greens Salad 
Rating: 4 stars 1

"Winemaker Tara Gomez belongs to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. This salad of seasonal fruits, herbs, and flowers balanced with bold leafy greens and a simple, bright lemon dressing, from a feast at Camins 2 Dreams, the winery she runs with her wife Mireia Taribó, includes traditional Chumash ingredients. Both the dressing and the salad call for aromatic hummingbird sage. More fragrant and less bitter than other types of sage, hummingbird sage is native to the cool coastal parts of Santa Barbara County. Though not quite the same, common sage will work well. Elderberries, considered a medicinal plant, grow wild in the region. Used whole, they're lightly fragrant and offer a hint of sweetness.