A spring salad in a bowl: greens, radishes, carrots, feta, and walnuts.

Last Sunday I went to the Schenectady Green Market for the first time in months. Having lived in Upstate New York for almost a decade now, I know better than to expect asparagus and rhubarb this time of year, but I made the trek to confirm.

Sure enough, I found neither a majestic spear nor a ruby stalk, but I did find greens, bags and bags of greens — spinach, kale, pea shoots, bok choy, spring greens, and other baby lettuce mixes. After months of roasting root after root, these tender lettuces were a sight to behold, and I could not help loading my tote with ALL of them, along with a few enticing bundles of rainbow carrots and purple and green radishes.

That night I made a salad with a mix of the greens, shaved carrots and radishes, toasted walnuts, and feta, all tossed together with a simple lemon vinaigrette, a mix of honey, fresh lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, salt, and olive oil.

This lemon dressing is lighter than this cashew dressing and this tahini dressing, the two I favor during the winter for heartier greens. And, unlike my favorite large-batch shallot vinaigrette, this one requires no mincing or electrical equipment. It tastes fresh and bright, and for all of those tender spring greens, I don’t think there is a better match.

I hope you’ll agree.

All-Purpose Lemon Vinaigrette, Step by Step

For this dressing, you need 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice in a liquid measure.

First, whisk together the honey, salt, lemon, and vinegar; then stream in the olive oil, and whisk to combine.

The ingredients to make lemon vinaigrette on a countertop.

Taste, and adjust to taste as needed: Add more lemon or vinegar for more bite. Add more olive oil if it’s too acidic. If you like it sweeter, add more honey. If it needs more seasoning, add a pinch more salt.

A bowl of whisked lemon vinaigrette.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

A jar of lemon vinaigrette.
A jar of lemon vinaigrette.

Here are some of the greens I returned home with last weekend from the market: kale, pea shoots, and mixed baby greens.

A bowl of spring greens.

I used my peeler to shave the carrots into ribbons.

Thinly shaved carrots in a bowl.

I ran the radishes down the mandoline. How pretty?

Thinly shaved radishes on a board.

And I added toasted walnuts and feta.

An untossed spring salad with greens, radishes, carrots, feta, and walnuts.

Just before serving, I tossed everything together with the lemon vinaigrette and cracked lots of pepper over the top.

A tossed spring salad with greens, radishes, carrots, feta, and walnuts.
A spring salad in a bowl: greens, radishes, carrots, feta, and walnuts.
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A jar of lemon vinaigrette.

All-Purpose Lemon Vinaigrette

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5 from 2 reviews

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This bright, lemony vinaigrette has become a go-to for dressing all of the light, spring greens I am currently finding at the farmers’ market. In the salad featured in this post, I used about 1/3 cup dressing with:

  • 5 ounces mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 shaved carrots
  • 1 shaved purple radish
  • 1 shaved green radish
  • feta cheese


  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1  cup olive oil


In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, honey and salt. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Taste and adjust as needed with more salt, honey, acid or oil to taste. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using. Whisk or shake to emulsify before using. 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: whisk
  • Cuisine: American