An Elevated Green Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Cary, NC — My husband loves to grow his own lettuce. The only problem is that all of a sudden in early April we have more than we can handle. By early may the temps get so hot it all bolts, season over.

We are in salad heaven here at our house right now, so I decided to try a new twist on the basic green salad. I added in some stray nuts and berries to clear out some things that were taking up room in the cupboard. Welcome to my newest creation — Green Salad with Nuts and Berries.

Harvesting from Home

I love to cook with what I already have on hand. It’s a frequent complaint I have when I look up recipes and they require some freaky ingredient that I am going to have to search all over Harris Teeter to find. Then it’s usually only to use 1 tablespoon and have it hang around in our refrigerator for a year before expiring and getting tossed.

So you won’t ever see recipes from me like that.

I like to take stock of what I have on hand and figure out what I can make using those ingredients. If you visited my house, you would think we needed to go shopping. But we have food ingredients stuffed all over the place. The refrigerator, the pantry, the cupboard and our deck which has an edible garden.

So we harvested about 10 lettuce leaves for this salad, saw a stray bag of pecans in the pantry and have been buying way too many blueberries lately. They all needed to be used up.

Here’s how we made the salad, including the very easy vinaigrette dressing I made in a jiffy.

A pretty green salad using the bounty of an early spring lettuce harvest

Ingredients

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce washed and dried
  • 1/3 pint of blueberries, washed and drained
  • 1/4 chopped pecans
  • 2-3 radishes sliced thinly
  • 1 celery rib diced small

Compose Salad

Slice lettuce into 1″ wide slices

Place in a salad bowl.

Top with pecans, blueberries, celery, and radishes

To Make Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (we grow that too!)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (squeeze half a lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard.

Steps

  1. Place everything in a jar and shake vigorously until creamy and well blended.
  2. Pour over the salad. Toss gently.
  3. Serve.

You can substitute strawberries for the blueberries and walnuts for the pecans. Or try sunflower seeds. The basic recipe is greens, plus some crunchy veggies, plus a berry and a nut. Tossed with an acidic vinaigrette. It’s a refreshing taste for spring and summer.

Enjoy!


Story and photos by Lindsey Chester.

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