Herb Salad

Herb Salad Recipe


Those of you who have been longtime readers know that I struggle on the gardening front. Oh how I struggle. Some years I don't even bother planting anything. I'm sufficiently discouraged by the skeletons of previous crops - they greet me when I step out to stretch on my back patio each morning. One neighbor is convinced I'm simply a drip line away from my own personal container garden of Eden. Sure. I was having lunch with two friends back in March, one is an editor for the garden section of a major magazine, the other is an accomplished food writer - she had an article about her (newly) prolific lemon tree in the newspaper that very week. It was inevitable, the topic turned to gardening. I half-heartedly stated, "well maybe this is my year."

Herb Salad Recipe

Thinking back on it, this was more a question than a statement. Over the course of the next five minutes, it was decided that I would grow lettuce. They said, "anyone can grow lettuce." They said, "sprinkle the seeds in a pot, water, seriously, anyone can grow lettuce." So I bought a $100 pot. It might have been $200, I can't remember. Shallow, wide, architectural - perfect for lettuce growing, right? Sprinkled the seeds (heirloom red lettuce!), watered, stood back and waited. Nothing really happened. Nothing really happened for weeks, and then months. It was a shallow pot of dirt for the duration of the summer. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a week or so back, the pot sprang to life with stunning red lettuce. In my eyes, a small miracle.

Herb Salad Recipe

Although the lettuce seeds were (painfully) slow to sprout, it was a gateway crop of sorts. After I planted the lettuce I started collecting other edible plants. Why stop at lettuce? This was my year. I picked up a few edibles at Flora Grubb - one of the nice guys who works there set me up with an earful of advice and some organic fertilizer. I have a pot for thyme, a pot for snap peas, one for pineapple sage, curry, chives, red heritage raspberries, currants, basil and red-stemmed peppermint. The dill plant I bought at the Marin market back in April never made it into a pot, but it is still alive. I harvested three currants last week. Still no drip line.

Herb Salad Recipe

I love my little garden, even though I'm still trying to understand it. Lots of the plants are flowering, I suspect they wouldn't be flowering if they weren't happy - or at least that's what I tell myself. I made this herb salad using some of them of what I picked out on my patio, supplemented with ingredients from the market. I can't quite bring myself to pick the red lettuce yet.

 
 
 
 

Herb Salad Recipe

Buy your corn in husk, the best tasting corn I get is from the farmers market - stay clear of the husked, shrink wrapped stuff. If you like a little spicy kick add some chopped serrano chile to the avocado dressing. You can easily make this vegan by leaving out the yogurt in the dressing - I might thin it a bit with water or a splash of olive oil.

2 ears sweet corn, husked
1 big handful lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 big handfuls green beans or haricots vert, blanched for 20 seconds in boiling salted water, cooled completely under cold water

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, loosely chopped
1 small handful of small/medium basil leaves
1 handful of pepitas, toasted

fine-grain sea salt
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 medium avocado

Cut each ear of corn in half and carefully cut kernels from cobs. Combine the raw corn, lettuce, green beans, red onion, herbs, and pepitas in a large bowl.

Now make the avocado dressing by sprinkling a big pinch of salt on the garlic clove. Chop and crush it into a paste. Place the garlic in a medium bowl along with the yogurt, lemon juice, and avocado. Puree with a hand blender. Taste, add salt one pinch at a time until properly seasoned. If you aren't dressing the salad immediately, cover with plastic, pressing into the top of the dressing to prevent browning.

Gently toss the ingredients with a couple big dollops of the avocado dressing. Taste, add a bit of salt and/or more dressing if needed.

Serves about 6-8.

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Your Comments


Allen
July 27, 2008

Haha -- your gardening approach sounds similar to mine. This year I didn't plant any vegetables - I just didn't get into the gardeing spirt this year.

I have an abundance of herbs though, thank God they somehow survive without attention (and often without water). I have a pot overflowing with two varieties of mint, along with a sideyard landscaped with tarragon, thyme, rosemary, chives and oregano.

 

Kyle @ Yumoh!
July 27, 2008

Lovely to hear of your burgeoning gardening adventures... after strugging for years to turn a brown thumb green, I'm slowly getting the hang of it too... I don't like to break it to you, but plants often flower early due to stress - their last-ditch effort to procreate before their anticipated demise... I know this myself after much reading and hard learned lessons by forgetting to water things (again!) only to find they have bolted to seed...

Have you read Michael Pollan's book "Second Nature"? - a delightful meditaiton on gardens and gardeners. He is the author of "The Omnivores Dilemma" which also has much of import to read for the sustainable eater.

kind regards, Kyle

 

meera
July 27, 2008

hey heidi, this recipe is worth dying for...
but call me backward, i am, can you put up a picture of green beans? are these bean-beans or like the french beans (vegetable with bean fellows inside)?
also what are pepitas?

HS: Hi Meera, you can see the green beans in the first photo - long, green. And pepitas=pumpkinseeds, but feel free to susbtitute your favorite nut.

 

PM
July 27, 2008

Pepitas are pumpkin seeds. You can get them without the seeds and roasted or raw at the health food store.

 

PM
July 27, 2008

I meant to say... you can get them without the shells! Sorry. It is after 2am.

 

Dawn
July 27, 2008

Hmmm....I think maybe, if it's not vegetables, don't let herbs flower. My dad has always been very vocal about plucking basil flower things, or else it doesn't keep producing leaves. Believe me, after being lazy, it is very true. Now i pluck all the flowers off basil, oregano, cilantro, arugula, all that jazz. Keeps producing delish leaves! Peppers and veg like that, leave the flowers on - that's where they produce the peppers and things from.
I too need to look more into the why's and how's of gardening...it's a tricky, time consuming business. Ooh, but buy some grape plants-those are practically work free- plant em' with something to climb up and you are fine! Sometimes i tuck exuberant growth through a trellis, but that's it. Tasty grapes, no work! =)

HS: Thanks for the tips Dawn. -h

 

natalie
July 27, 2008

wow! i didn't have the pepitas, beans or basil on hand so i substituted toasted cashews, peas and mint - and i used tofutti better than sour cream instead of yoghurt - but this recipe is on the favourites list as of NOW. beautiful and fresh!

 

Ingrid
July 27, 2008

Gardening requires some basic knowledge and patience, the end results are always well worth the effort.

Isn't it wonderful using fresh edibles grown from your own garden. We live in the high desert of California and at this time of year when the sun is scorching hot, it can be a challenge growing certain plants - like tomatoes. Herbs do well - my basil is flourishing and the peppers love the intense heat. Our mammoth sunflowers are amazing.

I hope you continue planting and watch miracles happen.


 

MangerLaVille
July 28, 2008

I love herb salads. When I went to Blue Hill in NYC, they did an excellent twelve herb salad. But this one sounds great. It is so adaptable, whatever is fresh and you can grow. I love chives, plus tarragon has a subtle sweetness that taste excellent in a vinaigrette.

 

sooishi
July 28, 2008

Lovely recipe!
it reminds me the menu i've just had in the "pinte des mossettes" a swiss restaurant where we can eat a lot of flowers and herbs....

 

joceleyne
July 28, 2008

Oh, I have exactly the same problems in my little garden. About enough red currants for one pie, no gooseberries at all this year, a few salad leaves, some blueberries, again enough for one pie, but I still love my little plot and carry on planting!!! That's optimism, no?

 

ClaireDille
July 28, 2008

This herb salad looks like the perfect summer recipe and your gardening photos are beautiful. Don't give it up!

 

christine
July 28, 2008

yummy!

 

Maggie
July 28, 2008

Which plant produced those beautiful little flowers you see in the 3rd picture?

HS: Maggie, that is the oregano - it is a Kent Beauty oregano to be exact. The prettiest plant on my patio this year.

 

arundati
July 28, 2008

the pics are fabulous....and the salad looks lovely.....

 

Rhett
July 28, 2008

Heidi,

I love all of your recipes. I live in Africa (Mozambique to be exact) and can get huge bunches of herbs...cilantro, basil, dill, mint...for about twenty cents each. It is incredible. I cant wait to make this salad! I have your cookbook and am still waiting on it to arrive in the mail...once (if) it comes my life here will be perfect. Just today, I had your brussel sprouts for lunch. They are THE best.

HS: Let me know if it ever arrives Rhett, I can tell you a handful of my favorite recipes from it. I love that my books are traveling to so many places I've never been. :)

 

robert weeks
July 28, 2008

what's the flower in the fourth photo?

HS: Robert, that is the oregano - it is a Kent Beauty oregano to be exact. The prettiest plant on my patio this year.

 

Life Chef
July 28, 2008

Wow this looks beautiful and sounds delish. I've been kind of cranking out salads since the summer heat hit in earnest here in Georgia. We've had a banner year with local blueberries and the yellow fleshed watermelons are coming in too!

I love the sound of this avocado dressing so I must give it a try. So simple, yet mmm mmm mmm.

 

Katy
July 28, 2008

Ooh, that looks light and refreshing. Perfect for summer!

 

Kim
July 28, 2008

Always growing up with a garden and not having one this year is hard. Beautiful summer salad.

 

charlotte s
July 28, 2008

what a beautiful, delicate salad!

i'm terrible with gardening... i have a few pots of herbs on my balcony, and i always manage to kill them... although when i try to make them come back to life with water and attention, they usually pull through! my chives burst into flower though last month, and they were just so gorgeous! your red lettuces look beautiful, i would be reluctant to pick them too...

 

Vickie
July 28, 2008

You should look into Earthboxes for gardening. (Check out earthbox.com). I have gardened for many years, but am recently having the best success with these planter boxes on my patio.

 

Vickie
July 28, 2008

You should look into Earthboxes for gardening. (Check out earthbox.com). I have gardened for many years, but am recently having the best success with these planter boxes on my patio.

 

Cate
July 28, 2008

This looks delicious, and I happen to have chives and cilantro growing in pots in my kitchen!
I'm excited to try this!

 

Wow! The colors just punched me in the eye (to borrow a phrase that was used on my photos). The vibrant green and the delicate, creamy pastels are just gorgeous.

I have my own gardening woes -- mainly, over ambition. Things are growing extremely well this year -- problem is I can't find the tomatoes and beans and peppers because all the greenery has just exploded. I had the best intentions of keeping a Martha Stewart-ish garden but now for all the neighbors know I could be hiding contraband in all that greenery! Ah well, we do what we can. Thank goodness for farmer's markets!

 

Pauline Cambridge
July 28, 2008

My son is an organic farmer and I can't grow a house plant. But, this year I planted lettuce, basil, chives and parsley in pots and they did great. Especially the basil. I have made lots of pesto and frozen it. The lettuce did great for a while. I used most of it but then it got to hot for it to thrive. Of course, every week I get organic produce from my wonderful son & daughter-in-law. I have purchased your wonderful cookbook for my daughter-in-laws birthday this month.

 

Heather
July 28, 2008

Your photography, as always, is as enticing and immaculate as your recipes... What ARE those lovely little flowers?

 

Sharon
July 28, 2008

I know exactly how you feel :-) In early March someone gave me a yellow pepper plant, and I planted it, and watered it, and watched it closely as it grew and grew and grew...although no peppers.

Just recently though (a whopping 4 months after I originally got the plant), a little pepper started growing on it--a miracle! I love watching it grow every day. I am no farmer--this is ONE pepper, but I have been daydreaming of how I'll eat it when it turns yellow :-)

 

Rachelle
July 28, 2008

Heidi~
What are the flowers in the picture after the red lettuce??? They are so beautiful, as is your dish. I will definitely make this when the weather warms up again (though I have to admit, I am enjoying this break from the heat we're having in the bay area). Thanks for the lovely pictures and the never-ending inspiration! :-)

 

Amanda
July 28, 2008

Looks very fresh and healthy. I am always looking for no-cook recipes that won't heat up my house. Can't wait to try it.

The other night I made the edamame soup and the sunkissed buttermilk cake. Both turned out great. Thank you for sharing!

 

clicclic
July 28, 2008

You may want to pre-sprout your seeds - wrap them in a wet paper towel and leave in a ziploc in the window for a few days.

Container growing is a wee bit more difficult than ground growing - pots dry out muy rapido!

 

Erin
July 28, 2008

There is nothing as satisfying as getting your dinner from the back yard.

 

hi
July 28, 2008

Who the hell in their right mind pays $100-$200 for a pot to grow 99 cent lettuce in? Buy a pot at Walmart for $5.00 its the jumbo sized one.

HS: Not really sure how to respond to this one - I liked the way this pot looked. :/ It was unique and well made. I suspect I'll have it for a long time.

 

barbara
July 28, 2008

The best part of America is the right to do what you want, if it is legal, and not damaging other people. So, HS, enjoy your $100 pot and go into Walmart only if YOU want to. My husband spends $100+ on cigarettes (with medical diagnosis of PAD); maybe not wise, but it is still his choice. Enjoy your pot, even if you give it away tomorrow. I love your website. Keep up the good work, lovely recipes, and wonderful pictures.

 

Jen O
July 28, 2008

I agree, Barbara. We all have our pleasures in life! It's what makes us special and different. I bet that's a beautiful pot, Heidi! Congrats on a great garden this year!

 

RookieMom Heather
July 28, 2008

We have our first garden this year. I think it's my first since I was a girl planting sunflowers with my grandpa. We have chard up the wazoo and I think the zucchinis might overtake our house while we go on vacation. So exciting. Good luck with the lettuce. I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

 

Christa
July 28, 2008

Heidi - It's so wonderful that you are gardening!
Watching your own plants grow is quite a miraculous event. I love to garden and I believe that everyone can and should do whatever they can to grow their own food - even if it just means keeping some potted herbs on the window sill. You can't get much more local food than that. It's such a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction watching the plants turn into your dinner. Keep up the good work!

 

Anonymous
July 28, 2008

hi--why bother puting someone down for exercising a reasonable choice? perhaps some of us would rather not support small-business crushing entities like wal-mart, or at least buy their cheap plastic imports. troll elsewhere if you can't exercise respect in this forum, which usually attracts high-minded readers.

 

Les
July 28, 2008

Herbs will stop growing if you let the flowers bloom. The reason is being they are an annual plant their one mission in life is to produce a seed. Since the seed develops from the flower,they must be plucked out! Sorry! Once they seed their mission is accomplished and they won't put any more energy into growth (read- producing your fine herbs !) GLAD you are keeping on trying! Les

 

ms recipe
July 28, 2008

This salad looks really yummy, Thanks for sharing this with us.

 

annmte
July 28, 2008

Heidi - am I reading this recipe right that the corn is not cooked? I suppose it's tender if it's really fresh? Never thought of eating corn raw before.

 

Justin Burks
July 28, 2008

your herb salad and my herb rolls would make a great meal.

 

Isaiah
July 28, 2008

Heidi I need you to contact me ! I know this unusual..Idont know if you remember me? If you can it woud be highly appreciated!! Sincerely Isaiah

 

Lynette
July 28, 2008

Last summer all of my garden was in pots, but I never thought of putting raspberries and currants in them. I'm planning already in spite of the fact that we are facing our second potentially dangerous winter storm in as many days. I notice that you have a James beard award. Congratulations! I learned how to bake bread from his wonderful book Beard on Bread.

 

jenn
July 28, 2008

You need to get yourself an old Italian neighbour, that is how I learned to garden! :)

 

Leslie Thompson
July 28, 2008

Heidi,
Pick the lettuce while it is young; don't let it get too big (tough).

 

chefectomy
July 28, 2008

Lovely salad and marvelous photographs. I have no green thumb so you are an inspiration.

 

Cathy C
July 28, 2008

I struggle in the green thumb dept as in my world it is non existant - If it is green and needs to be planted I will kill it. I have always wanted a killer herb garden and well that won't happen anytime soon.

This really looks wonderful and when I grow up I want to be able to grow beautiful herbs. Something to strive for anyway!!

Cheers
Cathy
www.wheresmydamnanswer.com

 

Anonymous
July 29, 2008

The exact same thing happened with my salad leaves, I have 3 types of rocket and some bull's blood that are now totally unstoppable. No sooner have I picked them than they shoot back so I can't eat them fast enough. I think anyone really can grow lettuce...

 

Helen
July 29, 2008

The exact same thing happened with my salad leaves, I have 3 types of rocket and some bull's blood that are now totally unstoppable. No sooner have I picked them than they shoot back so I can't eat them fast enough. I think anyone really can grow lettuce...

 

L
July 29, 2008

Oh man. We made this for din last night and it was fabulous - super-filling and satisfying. This will become a definite regular in our household - thanks for the recipe!

 

I love herbs in salads. I was in Turkey this summer, and they always toss a few sprigs of parsley and dill with the greens. This salad looks delish- with corn and green beans too!

 

Mary
July 29, 2008

Yummm... your salad looks wonderful. I can appreciate your struggles with gardening. I am constantly battling the Texas heat and our family dog who loves to dig up everything!

Good luck!

Mary
http://marysnest.typepad.com/

 

r g
July 29, 2008

sounds del.
what exactly is cilantro
i'm not sure

 

Tania
July 29, 2008

Your salad is delicious - as everything you propose, dear Heidi. I've tried it but my boyfriend doesn't like the creamy part of it, so i've changed the dressing into my ultra basic bio vinaigrette : salt & pepper + lemon juice & soy sauce + yeast
it still tastes very very good..!

 

anne
July 29, 2008

I had a garden long ago in colorado. i was so gung-ho when i started -- i bought corn, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, you name it. I faithfully watered and weeded for, oh, a week or two. then i got busy and let it go for a few days... the weeds started to take hold, and every day i would say, "I'd better do some weeding", and every day the weeds would be even thicker and more daunting. eventually the weeds were bigger than what i had planted.

i did get a few tomatoes and strawberries that year though. the corn, however, was infested with big black balls of fungus. my friend looked it up in her gardening book and discovered it was called "corn smut". apparently if your corn is so infested, you can't grow corn there for years because the spores will contaminate everything. i joked that I wish I had an enemy who grew corn!

many years later i learned that corn smut is a delicacy in mexico.

 

Courtney
July 29, 2008

Hi Heidi,

I bet your expensive pot is gorgeous ;-) And I'm excited about your garden, I think it's going to make for some fabulous recipes!

I was wondering, do you compost? If you're going to keep up the gardening, it's a great way to put all your kitchen scraps to use, and it'll certainly benefit your plants. Maybe it'll be all you need, no drip line required! Best of luck.

 

Sarah
July 29, 2008

Hi everyone! I am also enjoying my first attempt at a little herb container garden. I have several mints, lemon basil, english thyme and several varieties of parsley. I appreciate the advice to pluck the flowers. My basil started to flower and I have noticed the leaves are now very small... was wondering about that. Now I have a question: I noticed some little bug eggs of some kind on my spearmint and I am wondering if anyone has a brilliant suggestion for some kind of organic pest control?????? I like to muddle the mints into my iced tea and was seriously disturbed to see these invaders! Thanks!

 

delicious chronicles
July 29, 2008

i feel you. my gradma has the biggest green thumb on earth. anything she plants blooms. i have only one plant that has survived.. my little basil baby

 

Ezekiel Haynes
July 29, 2008

Oh Wow thank you for the recipe(s) Heidi. There is a blog for everything!! I'm definitely becoming a subscriber today

 

EJ
July 29, 2008

Maybe this is a silly question, but do you use the corn raw in this recipe? I've never used raw corn before, but this salad looks delicious and would be a great use of our first herb garden!

HS: Yes, I used it raw. I'll update the recipe to be more specific. -h

 

meggan
July 29, 2008

I made your sushi bowl tonight for dinner. I laid the "toppings" out in little bowls for each of my kids to pick and choose, and husband and I ate it as written, except with the addition of locally grown cucumber matchsticks too. My son had requested a tofu recipe, and he loves nori so this was a winner! Thank you so much Heidi.

 

MotherLamb
July 30, 2008

Would the salad be as good using lightly cooked corn?

 

Jen (Modern Beet)
July 30, 2008

Congratulations on your garden! Gardens are funny in that they can be very fulfilling when things are going well, yet heartbreaking when they aren't...

and FYI for anyone near Palo Alto, CA, the Stanford organic farm (on campus) offers an organic farming class that's open to members of the community -- I participated last fall and learned a huge amount -- I highly recommend it!

 

Neha Bagchi
July 30, 2008

Definitely pinch flowers off herbs the moment they appear. Not only does this encourage more leaves (yum!) but also, with some herbs, once the plant flowers, the taste of the leaves changes. Cilantro becomes bitter and it's not good for eating any more.

 

Neha Bagchi
July 30, 2008

Definitely pinch flowers off herbs the moment they appear. Not only does this encourage more leaves (yum!) but also, with some herbs, once the plant flowers, the taste of the leaves changes. Cilantro becomes bitter and it's not good for eating any more.

 

katie
July 30, 2008

I love herb salads. Container gardens are fun - but I think more challenging than regular old dirt. My entire garden in Ireland (where one would think everything would grow) consisted of 1 small pot of lettuce that I judiciously picked a leaf or 2 from for my sandwiches...

 

Neha Bagchi
July 30, 2008

Oh, and Sarah:

If your plant is in a small enough pot, swish it through a container of soapy water--that'll kill the eggs. If you can't turn the plant upside down, you can also spray it with soapy water, just be sure to get the undersides of the leaves.

Sorry to make this more about gardening than cooking, Heidi! :) But of course one leads to another...

 

bee
July 31, 2008

those leaves glow like rubies!!! well done. i promise you, gardening is addictive.

 

Jon
July 31, 2008

I'm glad your gardening worked out this year. I tried a couple pots of tomatoes and mint on my balcony. Stupid pigeons (or some other flying rat) ate every single leaf. My fault, I suppose, for not protecting them better, but I'd never had any birds on my balcony before. Oh well. I might be bitter about my experiences, but I'm glad someone's turned out so splendidly.