Spring Salad with Edible Flowers ~ this simple side dish is spring in a bowl ~ I’ll show you how to identify, source, and use edible flowers to make this celebratory salad for weddings, showers, holidays, or any spring gathering.
This palate refreshing salad is uber simple. I’ve tossed a mix of baby spring lettuces with finely shaved sweet onions, and then accented the whole thing with brilliant edible blooms. The salad is light and airy, and spectacular. It’ll be the showpiece of your table.
First let’s do a little edible flowers 101 ~ spring is the perfect season to find and use colorful edible flowers as a garnish in special dishes because by the time summer rolls around many of them have come and gone. Below is a list of the more common edible flowers so you’ll know what to look for. Any of these colorful spring blooms would be perfect for a salad like this. Here are some you’re likely to come across (I’ve highlighted in green the ones I used in my salad) ~
- citrus blossoms
- day lily
You can remove the petals and scatter them into the salad, or use the whole flowers to garnish. Remove pistils and stamens before eating.
Source your edible blossoms in one of several ways ~ you can buy them in some supermarkets, just look in the same area where you find the fresh herbs. I know Melissa’s Produce sells them. You can use blossoms from your own garden. You can ‘borrow’ blossoms from friends and neighbors. Check with your local nursery ~ some now have edible flower sections. Flowers from a florist are likely to have been treated with pesticides or chemicals, so avoid them.
TIP: Make sure your edible flowers are pesticide free. Ask if you aren’t sure.
As for dressing, use a light vinaigrette type , nothing thick or creamy that will weigh down your salad. I have lots of great SALAD DRESSING RECIPES on the blog. I think my RHUBARB VINAIGRETTE, or my LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING would be especially nice with this salad.
TIP: Don’t pour your dressing over baby greens and try to toss them, the dressing will saturate the delicate leaves, and they’ll wilt and stick together. Not a good thing. I suggest one of two things: either serve the salad dry, and let everyone drizzle dressing on their own plate, or put the dressing at the bottom of the bowl, top with the lettuce, and toss just before serving, right at the table.
I use triple washed spring greens in the plastic tubs, that way they’re clean and dry. I don’t want to wash delicate greens like this because it’s time consuming and very difficult to get them completely dry. The tubs are well worth it!
What do edible flowers taste like?
I’m not gonna lie ~ I use edible flowers more for their color and drama than for their taste ~ but that doesn’t mean they taste bad. Some of them are slightly spicy, some are grassy, some are sweet ~ just give them a nibble to see. If you want to dip your toes in the whole edible flower experience, I recommend starting with pansies or marigold petals, they’re easy to come by, and have a big impact.
- 5 ounce clamshell pack of baby spring greens mix
- 1 small sweet onion such as Vidalia, Maui, or any generic sweet onion
- assorted edible flowers
- 1/4 cup dressing of your choice
- Peel and slice the onion into paper thin rounds. The easiest way to do this is with a mandoline slicer. if you don't have one, just get them as thin as you can. Separate the rings.
- Put the dressing at the bottom of a very large salad bowl.
- Put the greens and onions into the bowl, but don't mix with the dressing.
- Scatter the edible flowers across the top of the salad.
- Bring the salad to the table and toss with the dressing just before serving.
- Alternately you can serve the dressing on the side.
- Be careful to only use the blossoms of these edible flowers…other parts of the plant, such as the leaves, etc., may be inedible.
- To store edible flowers for a short time, either put them in water, if they still have their stems, and put that in the refrigerator, or line a plastic storage container with a damp paper towel and lay them out in a single layer, cover, and put in the refrigerator. Plan to use them asap.
- If you have a green thumb, you can buy collections of edible seeds to grow an edible flower garden right in your own yard.
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