7 Savory Salads for Spring

By Ann Foster Thelen

With warm weather on the horizon, it’s a perfect time to toss up some new salads. Being creative with salads is something the whole family can enjoy.

Salads are often a blank canvas, prime for adding Iowa-raised proteins to the mix for an extra nutritious and filling meal. Layering in fruits adds tang and zing, while vegetables create a rainbow of colors, flavors and textures. Making homemade dressings adds a punch of wholesomeness to elevate salads to works of art.

May is National Salad Month, and we've pulled together some refreshing salads to share around the family picnic blanket or dinner table. These handpicked recipes create a cheery meal and delight the senses with the flavors of Iowa. Knowing that Iowa’s farmers likely had a hand in raising many of the high-quality ingredients makes every salad a celebration of the heartland.

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Chopped Tomato and Avocado Egg Salad | American Egg Board & Iowa Egg Council 

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Egg Council.

With unmatchable flavor, pairing fresh tomatoes with avocados and eggs over a bed of spinach is a plateful of nutritional powerhouses. Eggs are a natural, nutrient-rich source of high-quality protein, with 6 grams in every oval! Plus, each egg is an excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including choline and lutein, which benefit eyesight and cognition. A homemade mayonnaise and sour cream dressing can be infused with lemon juice and hot sauce for tang and spice! Find the recipe here.

Sirloin Steak and Tomato Salad | Iowa Beef Industry Council

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

This fresh salad gets a shot of vitamin B12 and zinc when grilled and sliced top sirloin steak is added. One 3-ounce serving of beef also offers 25 grams of protein – about half of the recommended daily value. Protein helps you stay full and satisfied longer, helping to fuel a healthy lifestyle. The combo of chipotle powder and balsamic vinaigrette delivers big, bold flavors in this steak salad. Find the recipe here.

Tuscan Pork and Bean Salad | Iowa Pork Producers Association

Get the rustic, hearty taste of central Italy with this easy salad. Balsamic pork chops and white beans combine in this Tuscan salad, giving whole new meaning to “pork and beans.” Pork is an excellent source of nutrients essential to our health, such as thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus and protein. Thiamin, for example, helps the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fat. Serve this entree salad with wedges of fresh focaccia bread. Find the recipe here.

Spinach Salad with Smoked Turkey and Green Apple Vinaigrette | National Turkey Federation & Iowa Turkey Federation

This salad has it all – protein-packed turkey, Gouda cheese, green apples, tomatoes, walnuts and more. Dressed in a sassy vinaigrette, it's as savory as it is beautiful. With 25 grams of protein in just 3 ounces, turkey contains B vitamins and minerals, including a significant amount of selenium, which also acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Find the recipe here.

Appleberry Edamame Spinach Salad | The Soyfoods Council

Photo courtesy of The Soyfoods Council.

This award-winning salad is colorful, satisfying and embodies a wonderful combination of texture and flavors. Vibrant fresh raspberries and blackberries complement luscious-green edamame for a mild and slightly tart combination. With its outstanding nutritional profile, edamame is an increasingly popular legume that is rich in healthy protein, fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. Find the recipe here.

Corn and Tomato Salad | Mama Loves Food & Iowa Corn Promotion Board

Few warm-weather foods say Iowa the way sweet corn and tomatoes do. Add blue cheese to the mix and you have a salad that is Midwestern bliss. Try serving this salad alongside some pulled pork and macaroni and cheese, and you’ll fall in love! The creator of this salad masterpiece was inspired to make it after participating in a tour with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. Iowa is No. 1 in the nation for producing field corn, accounting for 99% of corn acres. With just 1% of Iowa’s corn being sweet corn, it’s a delicacy to relish and celebrate during “sweet corn season.” Find the recipe here.

Waldorf Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing | Midwest Dairy

Dairy is a versatile and delightful salad enhancer! Whether using cheese to top a vegetable salad or mixing in yogurt, mayonnaise or sour cream for dressings, the possibilities are endless. This Waldorf salad is a light and refreshingly crunchy salad coated in lemon yogurt dressing. With green and red apples, cranberries and walnuts, it feels like part salad, part dessert! Serve it on the side with a grilled burger or keep a bowl in the refrigerator for an easily accessible daytime snack. Find the recipe here.