Spring and summer are my favorite seasons for salads. When produce is at its peak, you can eat it without cooking it — fresh off the vines! This week’s Spring Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Vinaigrette by Allison Hooper, co-founder of Vermont Creamery, incorporates the best of crisp, sweet vegetables mixed with a crunchy whole grain, a zesty vinaigrette and a tangy goat cheese. Enjoying this dish shouldn’t be limited to spring, and can be adapted to utilize the best sweet, crunchy vegetables — and even fruits — that please your palate. If you adapt it to your own tastes, please let us know! —Kristina
Why Allison loves this recipe: I love this recipe because it’s light, simple to make, and full of the fresh flavors of spring. The first asparagus from the garden is a welcome sign that spring is here to stay in Vermont, and our chevre reflects the season with hits of sweet grass and alfalfa. The lemony vinaigrette and crisp, colorful vegetables are the perfect complement to fresh goat cheese. This salad is sophisticated enough to serve to guests, and simple enough to make for lunch — my kind of recipe!
Spring Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Vinaigrette
– 3/4 cup farro, uncooked
– 2 cups water
– 1 small head of butter lettuce
– 1 bunch of asparagus
– 1⁄2 cup fresh peas (okay to use frozen and defrosted)
– 5 small radishes, thinly sliced
– 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (Allison prefers Vermont Creamery’s classic)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– Salt and pepper
– Zest of one lemon
– Optional: ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1. Bring water with farro to a boil in a pot on the stove. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until farro is tender. Drain well, and then transfer to a bowl to cool.
2. While farro is cooling, prepare the vegetables. Blanch asparagus and slice lengthwise. If asparagus is especially thick, feel free to use a vegetable peeler and slice into ribbons.
3. To make the dressing, zest lemon and set aside. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, juice from one lemon and reserved lemon zest. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. To assemble, tear butter leaves into smaller pieces and place in a large bowl. Add farro and the prepared vegetables. To this, crumble the goat cheese using the tines of a fork. Drizzle the lemon dressing over the salad and gently toss.
About Allison: Cheesemaker, entrepreneur and co-founder of Vermont Creamery, Allison Hooper was named one of the “most innovative women in food and drink” by Food & Wine and Forbes magazines in 2015. For more than 30 years, Allison has been at the helm of the artisan cheese industry, introducing European-style fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and crème fraiche to the American palate.