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.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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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! Mary http://marysnest.typepad.com/


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!


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