The Refreshing Flavors of Spring!

Easter Sunday fell a little later in April this year, assuring the likelihood that it would be a mild spring day! We hosted Easter dinner at our house and I wanted to have a meal that would reflect the milder weather, using foods with lighter flavors. I have a large, happy extended family so there were about 20 adults and 5 small children enjoying the Easter meal. Quite a fun and festive gathering with an abundance of flavorful dishes!

My three sisters are all amazing cooks and everyone contributes to the meal, making it a lighter load for everyone. I planned to serve a traditional bone-in spiral sliced ham for the main course and everyone brought side dishes to accompany it. I had planned a few sides of my own to go with it as well; rosemary roasted red bliss potatoes, roasted asparagus with lemon, and a carrot-beet slaw.

With such a large crowd, I always like to add a large green salad to go along with the meal to assure that there are plenty of options from which to choose. I like to include seasonal flavors and with it being spring, I wanted the salad to be light and refreshing.

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I took a peek in my refrigerator for inspiration. Looking through my produce drawer I came upon a bag of pink grapefruit I had bought just to enjoy on their own. How refreshing they were! From there my wheels began turning, I decided to make them the star of my springtime salad! One thing led to another, I added fennel, another springtime favorite for some texture, and pumpkin seeds for some added crunch.

That took care of the salad, now for the dressing! I wanted to keep the freshness theme going and decided a honey and lime combination was a nice way to balance the tartness of the grapefruit; I added a little fresh mint and my vinaigrette was freshness personified! The simple combination of the fresh seasonal produce resulted in a vibrant, sweet & juicy salad! The perfect accompaniment to the saltiness of the ham and a delicious celebration salad!

Pink Grapefruit & Fennel Salad with Minty Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Prep Notes: This salad is a pretty and refreshing spring salad, vibrant and delicious! It goes well with a nice Easter Ham as it balances its saltiness!

Ingredients for salad:
I fennel bulb
2 ruby red grapefruit
Large container of organic spring mix
Sprinkling of roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients for vinaigrette:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice and grated lime peel from 2 limes
2/3 cup avocado oil
2 tsp raw honey
small bunch of mint
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions for Salad:
Prepare Vinaigrette and pour about a tablespoon or two in the bottom of a large salad bowl.

Place spring mix in the salad bowl, tearing leaves that are larger into smaller,
bite-sized pieces if necessary.

Lay the fennel on a cutting board & cut the stems & fronds off so just the bulb is left. Cut the bulb in half and carefully cut out the core. Thinly slice fennel bulb and scatter over salad.

One at a time, take each grapefruit and lay it on its side on a cutting board, stem facing sideways. Cut a small piece off each side to make a flat side on either end. Standing it up on a flat side, carefully cut peel off. Pull off any remaining bitter white pith with fingers and discard along with the peels. Lay each grapefruit on its side, with sections laying horizontally, cut each in half, cutting right through center of sections. Carefully separate halved sections and scatter on salad. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Drizzle with more vinaigrette, tossing until nicely coated. Depending on how large the salad is, there may be additional vinaigrette remaining. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin seeds and serve.

Directions for Vinaigrette:
Wash limes and grate peel onto a sheet of wax paper; be careful not to grate the bitter white pith. Cut limes in half and juice all 4 halves. Pour into a small deep bowl or mason jar. Add avocado oil, grated lime peel, and honey. Mix with a hand blender or a fork to emulsify. Roughly chop mint leaves and add to the bowl, gently stir. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup of Vinaigrette.

Notes: this salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free and Paleo

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