Lettuce-free salads

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Summer salad with garden ingredients, including strawberries

Now that the spinach, lettuces and microgreens have bolted (flowered) and lost their taste, it’s still easy to make a great salad. I love salads made with herb and young vegetable leaves. Plus there are hot weather greens that make refreshing salads in summer heat.

Herb leaves are wonderful in salads: mint, thyme, tarragon, basil, dill.

Small beet greens, sorrel, baby chard and little kale all add color, nutrition and great flavors to a summer salad. These leaf salads can be chopped or torn.

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Chrysanthemum greens

Thanks to a kitchen garden client, I’ve started growing hot weather greens. Shungiku or chrysanthemum greens are a favorite and originate in East Asia. The leaves are delicious and highly nutritious. The plant is in the aster family and produces a small yellow flower which my client taught me to clip off so it never bolts. Excellent flavor and crispness.

As I’ve written about before, I also grow red malabar spinach. Not spinach at all, it is an Malaysian vine with ruby red stems and emerald green leaves. More to follow on malabar spinach.

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Nasturtium leaves and flowers

Nasturtiums add color in the garden and perk up salads. The flowers and the leaves can be eaten and add a peppery flavor to the other greens.

 

 

Wild arugula

Wild arugula

Finally, there’s arugula! I grow several varieties each with a distinct series of flavors. This year, I’m growing a French arugula as well as the wild one that pops up all over my garden. Once you dress arugula, it is not so spicy and is a splendid addition to a summer salad, harmonizing nicely with the other greens. Arugula combines nicely with strawberries and with balsamic vinegar dressings.

What do you like in your summer salad?

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