Saturday, 24 August 2013

A True Garden Salad

You know those salads normally called "garden" salads? The ones they sell at the grocery store made of limp iceberg lettuce, anemic tomatoes grown halfway around the world or in Florida by slaves (really! read the book Tomatoland), cucumbers, and maybe some chunks of dry carrots? Why are they allowed to call these "garden" salads? Nothing comes from a garden! It's blasphemy, I say! Okay, not really, but it annoys me. And carrots in salads should never be in chunks, they should always be shredded. Except for chopped salad. But never in normal green salads. Never.

Make a real garden salad. It tastes better and is healthier too. By "real" I mean actually from a garden, either yours or a friend's. Although it's always very satisfying to eat something you've grown.

A real garden salad doesn't need cucumbers, tomato, carrot, or even lettuce. To qualify as a garden salad, you just need garden vegetables! This is even better, because you can change your salads with the seasons instead of eating the same boring one throughout the year. In the spring, you could have a salad made of young and tender dark, leafy greens, radishes, herbs, steamed asparagus, and snow/snap/steamed green peas. Summer salads can have tons of different things, like lettuce, hearty greens (thinly sliced), tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, kohlrabi, zucchini, stone fruit, cherries, berries, melon, early carrots, etc! A really delicious salad is lettuce topped with grilled eggplant, peppers, onion, and chicken thighs. Personally, my favourite produce season is fall. You can make kale salads with shredded beets, carrots and apples, fall spinach salads with roasted squash and fried onions, coleslaw, kale salad with shredded cabbage and carrots; so many things! It's easy to tell I like vegetables :).

So yeah, just pick what ya got, chop, toss, dress, and eat! The dressing's a freebie, it doesn't need to be grown by you. (Although if you can grow and make your own olive oil and have a lemon tree, then I am very jealous!)

The stuff I'm currently getting from my garden includes: lettuce, kale, swiss chard, beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes (my first few, I planted them late), quinoa leaves, and herbs. Beans were out for my salad, as were the kale and swiss chard, since I like saving those for cooking or just-kale salads (as in, no lettuce), so that left me with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, radishes, quinoa leaves, and herbs for my garden salad. Herbs make salads taste great.

The cherry tomatoes are so tiny, aren't they cute? :D

 I used basil for my fresh herb, and I also decided to throw some dandelion leaves into my salad because it was on my lawn, it's super healthy, and it adds a nice bitterness. So not really from a garden, but seeing as my lawn's only a few feet away, I figure it's close enough :).

A delicious and beautiful salad perfect for lunch at the beach!

Watermelon radishes and edible flowers make salads beautiful. The violas pictured are definitely edible, although I'm not so sure about the arugula, mustard, and broccoli flowers also pictured. They didn't kill me though, so they must be safe. I didn't have enough violas since the ones I planted in the front are dying a horrible death, although the ones that have popped up in the grass in my backyard seem to be doing wonderful :P.

Just dress with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and serve with some grilled meat for the perfect summer lunch! It's just so wonderful to be able to eat and enjoy something you've grown yourself. It's good for the soul :).

Tomorrow I'm heading off to math camp, so I won't be posting for a few days, but as soon as I get back I'll start making ice cream!

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