Lettuce-free salads


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.


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.


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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