Looking for a new salad recipe? Are you tired of boring salads? Want to kick things up a notch? Want to take a plain Jane salad and make it fancy? Here are some great tips that might help put some variety into your quest to eat more vegetables.
Add some blooms found right in your vegetable patch.
There are edible blooms that grow in your flower garden but you can also find edible blooms right in your vegetable patch. Some of these ‘edible blooms’ you actually know quite well, even if you haven’t thought of them as the flowering part of your vegetables. The broccoli and cauliflower we are familiar with are both actually flowers, just as the artichoke is also the flower of the plant.
In addition to the heads of cauliflower or broccoli being edible flowers, you can also allow the flower to flower, so to speak, and enjoy them as well. The pretty yellow flower of the broccoli can be picked, cleaned, and enjoyed sprinkled on top of a bed of lettuce. The flowering shoots on cauliflower and artichokes can also be eaten. Experiment with the flavors to create a delicious, colorful gourmet salad.
Zucchini and other squash varieties have beautiful blooms that disappear after the vegetable forms. These blooms are delicious. To prepare them you can pick them when they are still small and closed. Wash them and prepare them by dipping in a light batter and fry briefly in a hot skillet. Add the cooked blossoms on top of your favorite mixed green or spinach salad. You can also just add the blossoms to your salad raw. It’s a quick way to make your salad into a gourmet salad.
Herb plants can be more than just seasoning.
You can use fresh herbs to add a gourmet touch to your salad, but you can also add the flowers from many of those herbs. Thyme, basil, fennel and cilantro blooms can be picked and added to your salad, sauce or dressing. I have never used the herb borage but it produces tasty flowers as well. You can also harvest dill flowers as they appear, but before the seeds form. They are great in your salad or in a yogurt dressing.
For a nice, delicious surprise in your salad you can allow an onion or garlic bulb to blossom. Instead of clipping your chives down to the ground, allow the pretty blue flowers to just open, then cut them immediately and serve on top of a spinach salad for a real gourmet look and taste.
A Weed by Any Other Name
Next time you’re mowing your lawn you may want to rescue those pesky dandelions. We consider dandelions a weed but they are actually an herb and they sport edible flowers. If you pick them when they are still closed they taste similar to honey. Once the flower opens, it will be bitter so pick them early when they are young.
Now that you know just how many options there are for finding gourmet ingredients right in your own vegetable garden, herb garden, and even your lawn, maybe it’s time to take a closer look.