My Winter Pansy Salad with blood orange vinaigrette will bring some color to your fall and holiday menus using edible pansies that thrive in the cooler months!
Did you know pansies are a year round flower?
If you live in a warmish part of the country, pansies are in season right now. They grow in every garden zone in America, and they actually bloom through the winter in zones 7 and up. That means you can use them as colorful accents on salads and desserts even in the gloomiest months.
Where can I get edible pansies?
Some large supermarkets stock edible flowers in little plastic tubs in the produce section. Or you can visit your local garden center to find them, and be sure to ask for pansies that haven’t been sprayed or treated with chemicals.
Don’t know what zone you’re in? Check out this handy guide to see if you can grow or find pansies in your area year round.
You in zone 2? No worries, a company out of San Diego will overnight ship you all kinds of edible blossoms, including pansies. Check them out here.
It’s funny because I love edible flowers, and I love to incorporate them into my recipes, but several years running now I’ve missed the boat on pansies because I was too late. By the time spring rolls around in Los Angeles pansies are done blooming. You can get lots of other edible flowers like roses and geraniums, but pansies (the prettiest of all, imo) are history.
What do pansies taste like?
I think they have an herby flavor, with a hint of mint. They’re not overpowering in any way. Just remove the stems and use the whole blossom.
So today I’m maximizing those gorgeous blossoms by using them as a garnish on my simple salad. Here in California, we wouldn’t dream of planning a holiday menu without a fresh green salad. It helps cleanse the palate and balance out all that heavy comfort food, so this is my take on a Thanksgiving salad, LA style :)
How to store edible pansies
Plan to use your blossoms as soon as possible after picking. If you need to store them for up to a day, put them in a plastic or glass container lined with a paper towel and refrigerate.
Blood oranges are in season now, too, along with all citrus fruits. The minute I see them in the store I start stockpiling them in a huge wooden bowl on my counter. I only have to sacrifice one of them to make this pretty vinaigrette. Fresh squeezed citrus and top quality oil and vinegar makes a simple but fabulous dressing.
This simple arugula salad is a fun and colorful way to use edible flowers in the cooler months!
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 1 apple, very thinly sliced
- 1 carrot
- 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
- handful of assorted fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, leaves only
- 1-2 ounces creamy goat cheese (use crushed pistachios for vegan)
- pansies, stems removed
- juice of 1 blood orange (about 1/4 cup)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or other mild white vinegar)
- pinch salt
- Whisk together the vinaigrette, adjusting any of the ingredients to your taste.
- Pile the greens into a wide salad bowl.
- Peel and shave the carrot into thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Add to the greens along with the apple slices, onion, and herbs. Toss. with the dressing and garnish the salad with crumbles of goat cheese and the pansies. Serve immediately.
Other ways to use fresh pansies in your recipes ~
- as a garnish on open faced tea sandwiches
- embedded into lollipops
- frozen into ice cubes
- as embellishment on a cake
- use them to decorate mini pavlovas