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.


Tips on No-Till Farming and Cover Crops

In the below Q&A, author and permaculture designer Shawn Jadrnicek answers questions about no-till farming and the use of cover crops from two readers (one from North Carolina, and the other from Nova Scotia). In his groundbreaking book, The Bio-Integrated Farm, Jadrnicek provides in-depth information on water flow management along with projects that use the free forces of nature—gravity, […] Read More

Reimagining Restoration as a Radical Act

Finding ways to manage “invasive” species as we’ve come to know them has sparked a vigorous debate within conservation and restoration communities, as well as farmers, gardeners, and permaculturalists.In her thought-provoking book Beyond the War on Invasive Species, author Tao Orion urges us to rethink and reimagine restoration as a way to break out of […] Read More

What Can Wisteria Do For Your Forest Garden?

Jerome Osentowski, founder of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (CRMPI) in Basalt, Colorado, is one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers and author of the new groundbreaking book, The Forest Garden Greenhouse. Part case-study of CRMPI’s innovative greenhouses and part how-to primer, Osentowski’s book shows that bringing the forest garden indoors is possible, even on […] Read More

Tips on Perennial Crops with Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Perennial Vegetables, Paradise Lot, and most recently The Carbon Farming Solution—a groundbreaking new book that treats agriculture as an important part of the climate change solution, rather than a global contributor to the problem. As part of our “Ask the Expert” series going on throughout the month of May to celebrate […] Read More

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 topic is […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com