The Ultimate Garden Salad, Quick & Easy

vegan | wfpb | easy | quick | gluten-free | refined sugar-free | oil-free | 15 minutes or less | 10 ingredients or less

The Ultimate Garden Salad, by Beautiful Ingredient

The Ultimate Garden Salad, by Beautiful Ingredient

My son's organic vegetable garden, featuring edible flowers and 

My son's organic vegetable garden, featuring edible flowers and 

Somehow, we seem busier now that school's over and summer is in full swing, so quick and easy meals like The Ultimate Garden Salad are the go-to.  This salad hits all the right notes:  filling, flavorful, and fun!  I am fortunate to make this salad on the regular, thanks to my boy.

In the spring, my son announced that he wanted to start a vegetable garden.  He worked with my husband on designing and building a 2' x 4' cedar box with legs (so we can stand up to gather the veg - genius!), drilled holes in the bottom and lined it, filled it with potting soil, and put it on the deck so the deer couldn't get into it (super genius!).  We found organic starts and seed at our local garden shop and farmers market, choosing fun things like lemon cucumber and edible flowers.  It's a great success, now overflowing with gorgeous veggies, and I'm hoping he'll want to build another next year.

How did this once vegetable-averse kid end up building this beautiful garden?  Sure, his mom writes about vegetables, but he was mostly inspired after watching the documentary, What the Health.  In fact, he made the choice to go from eating mostly plant-based to 100% plant-based, on the spot.  His favorite food by far has always been that boxed mac 'n' cheese, like so many other kids.  Now, suddenly, he won't touch the stuff.  Occasionally he'll eat a vegan version, but he pretty much has just moved on to other things.  If you're not familiar with the film, it focuses on research about food's impact on our health and questions why the public is served confusing messages about it.  I highly recommend it, and clearly, so does my son.  I thought it might have an impact on him - I just didn't realize how much!  Fortunately, it's easy to check it out, now that it's on Netflix.  Go Kip and Keegan!

Growing in our garden, 2017

  • Rainbow Carrots

  • Red Russian Kale

  • Lemon Cucumber

  • Cilantro

  • Dill

  • Purple Basil Aromatti

  • Honey Boat Delicata

  • Watermelon Radishes

  • Empress of India Nasturtiums

  • Peach Jump Up Edible Violas

 

ALSO, IN POTS:

  • Lemon Verbena

  • Variegated Pineapple Mint

  • Fennel Florence

  • Purple & Green Tomatillo

  • Mixed Red & Green Lettuces 

This little garden is like a dream come true.  It's so beautiful.  We all enjoy watching it grow and change.    And we all enjoy eating from it, collecting lovely goodies each day and seeing new little jewels filling in.  It's been surprisingly easy to care for, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, where minimal watering is required through early July  What they say about getting kids involved in growing and preparing vegetables has been true for us:  they tend to eat more of them.   And the quality and flavor of food that was picked minutes ago is beyond compare.  If you don't have a good place for a garden, consider growing veggies in a pot or container.  Easy!  A tip we learned:  Trimming off herbs and greens before they flower can encourage new growth.  The next best thing to growing your own?  Love those farmers markets. 

SAlad Bowl growing in the garden

SAlad Bowl growing in the garden

Pineapple mint grown in a pot

Pineapple mint grown in a pot

Speaking of growing vegetables, I recently became aware of Riverford Organic Farmers in the UK.  I really appreciate how well the founder, Guy Watson, explains why it's important - and actually more effective -to grow produce organically rather than with pesticides.  I recently shared his video on Facebook here

Tomatillos on their way, happily growing in a pot.  By beautiful Ingredient.

Tomatillos on their way, happily growing in a pot.  By beautiful Ingredient.

Drying Greens

While I like using a salad spinner when I'm washing a big batch of greens, I don't enjoy hauling it out for smaller amounts.  Instead, I rinse the greens, lay them out on an absorbent dishtowel, then pat them dry.  Quick and easy!  In fact, I usually dry my veggies this way when prepping at mealtime.

Vegetable Garden finds for the Ultimate Garden Salad, by Beautiful Ingredient

Vegetable Garden finds for the Ultimate Garden Salad, by Beautiful Ingredient

Patting greens dry with an organic cotton/hemp Heathered Napkin from the shop, by Beautiful Ingredient

Patting greens dry with an organic cotton/hemp Heathered Napkin from the shop, by Beautiful Ingredient


The Ultimate Garden Salad Recipe

vegan | wfpb | easy | quick | gluten-free | refined sugar-free | oil-free | 15 minutes or less | 10 ingredients or less

This is a very casual recipe.  I'm purposely not giving you exact measurements here; you can't really mess this up.  This garden salad is the ultimate because it is full of goodness (whole food nutrition) and designed to accommodate what you currently have available in your own garden, local farmers market or grocers.  I really hope you have access to some edible flowers!  They are delicious as well as beautiful. 

YIELD:  one large serving (x4 for 4)
PREP TIME:  15 minutes

RECIPE CATEGORY:  Salads
PRIMARY TOOLS:  chef's knife
COOKING METHOD: chopping and tearing

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The Ultimate Garden Salad, by Beautiful Ingredient

The Ultimate Garden Salad, by Beautiful Ingredient


Note: While eating more fruits and veggies is the top priority, I like to buy organic ingredients whenever possible to avoid consuming (and supporting the use of ) harmful pesticides.  Compare the cost of organic to the drive-thru and you may be surprised to find simple organic made-at-home meals often cost less.  Many recipes you'll find here travel well and are about as quick to make as hitting the local fast-food joint. 

Author's Note:  My goal is to provide recipes that are easy and relatively quick; doable during a busy week.  Kitchen times are approximate and will depend on various factors, like your personal kitchen speed and how many hands you have working with you.  Cooking can become a centering experience that brings family together. I hope you enjoy the ride!