Herb Salad Recipe

A lovely herb salad recipe made from lots of summertime herbs, green beans, and corn.

Herb Salad

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.

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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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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.


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


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…

Neha Bagchi

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…


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

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

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!

Jen (Modern Beet)

Would the salad be as good using lightly cooked corn?


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.


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


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

Ezekiel Haynes

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

delicious chronicles

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!


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.


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.


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..!


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

r g

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!


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!

Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

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!


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…


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…


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!!

Cathy C

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


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

Leslie Thompson

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


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.


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


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

Justin Burks

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.


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

ms recipe

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


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.


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!


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.

RookieMom Heather

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!

Jen O

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.


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.


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


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!


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!


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! 🙂


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 🙂


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


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.

Pauline Cambridge

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!

Becky And The Beanstock

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


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.


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.


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…

charlotte s

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


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


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.

Life Chef

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.

robert weeks

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. 🙂


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


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.




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


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?


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….


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.


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.


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!


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


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


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


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.


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

Kyle @ Yumoh!

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.


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