Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Carol Deppe: Why the Best Salads Don’t Need Salad Dressing

The modern paradigm for a salad is a bowl of a relatively limited number of relatively bland vegetables to which we add the flavor via salad dressing. Most perennial vegetables, fresh herbs, and wild greens have strong flavors. Many of these greens are unusually nutritious, and some are especially easy for home gardeners to grow. In addition, markets these days often also carry a good repertoire of herbs and greens with stronger flavors.

However, if we include substantial amounts of highly flavorful greens in a salad and dress it with a standard salad dressing, we end up with overwhelming instead of pleasing flavor. Many people respond by sticking to salads based mostly upon lettuce. The full-flavored greens just don’t fit into the mild-ingredients-plus-flavorful-dressing paradigm. I opt for biodiversity in the salad bowl, the diet, and the garden. What I eliminate is the salad dressing. I challenge the entire concept of salad dressing. Here’s my approach:

1. I use substantial amounts of full-flavored leaves in my salads. I can use lots more if I use small amounts of many of different types rather than a large amount of one of them. Onion greens, garlic greens, wild garlic, lovage, salad burnet, young horseradish leaves, sorrel, mustard greens, carrot tops, Alexanders Greens, young dandelion greens, and many others find their way into my salads.

2. I like milder salad ingredients too. I mix them with the stronger-flavored greens and herbs. By eliminating the salad dressing I make more room for strong-flavored greens as actual salad ingredients. I often use carrots or apples as part of my milder ingredients. Apples go great in salads (or sandwiches). (A little lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) will keep the apples from browning.)

3. I put all the smaller amounts of various herbs in a big leaf of something (kale, horseradish leaf, lettuce, cabbage), roll the smaller bits up in the leaf, and slice the roll very fine. This allows me to cut all the strongest-flavored greens very fine with little effort.

4. I don’t use a generic mixed dressing, home-made or commercial. Instead I taste the combination of greens and vegetables I have in the bowl that day and season to taste with something sour such as lemon or vinegar (if there are no sour ingredients), some oil (if there are no oily ingredients), water (if needed), and a little salt. I may use some dried herbs too. If so, they are chosen to complement the specific salad.

5. I often include oily ingredients in the salad (sliced hard-cooked eggs, sunflower seeds, slivered hazelnuts) instead of using store-bought, extracted oil. (I have a flock of laying ducks. A few laying hens or ducks fit into many backyards and wonderfully complement gardening.) Sometimes I blend nuts or sunflower seeds in water and use that in the salad instead of oil or whole or slivered nuts or seeds. Sometimes I mash a hard-cooked egg yolk in a little water to give a creamy texture and use that in the salad, with the egg white pieces as one of the ingredients.

Continue reading this article on Alternet.

Learn more about Carol Deppe’s new book, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, in our bookstore.


How to Design Swales for Optimum Water Flow

May has arrived! The birds are chirping, flowers are budding, and it’s time to officially celebrate Permaculture Month. Throughout the next few weeks, we are putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you in our “Ask the Experts” series. If you are looking to become a better permaculturalist, there’s still time to participate. Submit your questions here. Today’s […] Read More

Radical Ruminations of a Home Gardener

The editors here at Chelsea Green are constantly seeking out what’s new and important in the world of sustainable living. As part of an occasional blog series, our editors are sharing what they’ve been reading, researching, or just plain pondering. Below Senior Editor Fern Marshall Bradley daydreams about the coming growing season and reflects on some radical gardening ideas inspired by Maine farmer […] Read More

Not Level? No Problem. How to Build a Greenhouse on a Slope

Have you ever considered building a greenhouse on sloped terrain? It may not seem like the “perfect spot,” but as permaculture designer and farmer Shawn Jadrnicek points out, a sloped site for a greenhouse offers a bonus that a level site does not—the ability to use gravity to harvest rainwater.In his groundbreaking new book, The Bio-Integrated Farm, Jadrnicek offers in-depth information […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you. Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and […] Read More

Hands-On Learning: School of The New American Farmstead

This summer, twelve of our authors (plus Chelsea Green’s own President and Publisher) will be leading hands-on intensive courses at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont.These workshops, classes, and certifications will inspire you, equip you with marketable skills, and provide you with new perspectives on integrated, community-centered farming and food production.Engage your SensesThe hands-on courses will […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com