Spring has sprung. And although the east and midwest are still digging themselves out from all the snow they got this year, strawberries and other early fruits are starting to produce. We find ourselves wearing lighter clothes – and eating lighter fare. Here are a couple of recipes to start off the spring.

Strawberry Gazpacho with Jicama Salad

Makes 12 servings with leftover salad.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds strawberries, stemmed and chopped
  • 2¼ pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1½ pounds English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1½ cups Sherry vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 cups jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 2 bunches chives, cut in 1½-inch length
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 12 ounces fresh goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Blend together strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, jalapeños and vinegar.
  2. Season with salt and pepper; chill.
  3. To make jicama salad, combine jicama, chives, oil and thyme; season with salt and pepper.
  4. To plate, mound ½ cup jicama salad in shallow bowl. Ladle in 2 cups of gazpacho and top with an ounce of goat cheese shaped into a ball.

Spring Salad with Aged Provolone

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup pickled cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium artichoke, cooked, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head radicchio, torn into pieces
  • 3 ounces sugar snap peas, slivered
  • 2 tbsp Picholine olives, pitted and quartered
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
  • 8 ounces aged provolone, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions

  1. Combine greens and vegetables in a salad bowl; toss well and set aside.
  2. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Drizzle in oil while whisking. Add basil. When ready to serve, toss the dressing with the greens and vegetables.
  3. Garnish with cheese.

These light, refreshing soup and salad recipes are just what we need to start on our way to shed the extra pounds we put on in the winter and start prepping our body for the summer.  The days are getting warmer so we can get outside and get some exercise and the fruits and vegetables are starting to produce, so we can eat lighter.