What do you think of when you see a salad? There’s some lettuce in there, right? You might put in some tomatoes. Do you put carrots in the salad?
One fun way to embrace everything that vegetables provide (and tomatoes) is to use different parts from each item to make the salad. That means your salad would have flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, and fruit as part of its composition.
It is important to follow certain guidelines when using different plant parts, because some plants have components that could be dangerous to use.
Here are some of your best options to consider.
Flowers: There are several varieties of edible flowers which go well in a salad. The most common flowers that are added come from cauliflower and broccoli. Additional edible flowers include lavender, thyme, dill, nasturtiums, chives, and basil. Borage blossoms are really nice because they add a flavor that is similar to cucumber to the salad.
Stems: Asparagus are a good vegetable to use when you want to add stems to your salad. Celery is another good option to think about. Many stems have toxic parts that you should not eat, such a rhubarb, so take care when choosing which ones to include.
Leaves: Lettuce is the obvious salad addition when making a plants parts salad and you need some leaves. Parsley is a fun alternative. Spinach and cabbage are common options to include. For something different, try adding the feathery fronds of the fennel plant to your salad. It will add a peppery flavor that smells reminiscent of licorice.
Fruits: Tomatoes are the most common addition to a salad, but it can benefit from other fruit options as well. In Autumn, some thinly diced apples, with some walnuts, are a great option for a salad. On a hot day, cucumbers are a nice edition (yes, it is technically a fruit). A few avocado slices are a nice addition to almost any type of salad you might make.
Seeds: The best seeds come from sunflowers, if you’re thinking about a “traditional” seed. Corn kernels are another option to think about with this type of salad. Fresh peas, in the pod or out, are nice to add when you have them too.
Roots: Two of the best root vegetables to add to your salad are radishes and carrots. Many root vegetables need to be cooked before you could add them to your salad, so take care in the items you choose. For something different, a raw parsnip can add an interesting texture and flavor. Sunchokes, bok choy, and artichokes are options too.
Make sure that you slice all your fruits and vegetables with a clean knife. If you move from item to item without cleaning your board and knife, you may contaminate the flavors of the salad you are creating.
Then top off your plants parts salad with your favorite salad dressing. Add some Croutons to the top, a bit of Parmesan cheese, and then enjoy your new creation.