Friday, May 29, 2009

Greens, They're What's for Dinner

It's spring and the salad greens are luscious and sweet. Our garden is filled with as many varieties of greens as we could fit. Spicy and mild salad mixes, arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce, butterhead lettuce, bok choy, kale, collards, cilantro, and more are growing out our back door. We have a hundred or so volunteer sunflowers that I have not thinned out yet. Some of them will make great shade later on in the summer for the tender, cool weather-loving greens.

Today was a warm spring day, in the 70's, but our house felt more like 90 degrees. A simple green salad from the garden was about all I was in the mood for.

Flowering herbs can make the salad more colorful and beautiful, not to mention the varied flavors offered. Tonight I added sage flowers, thyme flowers, chive flowers, and bolted arugula and kale flowers. A simple dressing utilizing the fresh oregano in my herb garden made this salad quite addicting.

To make your salad a meal, try topping your greens with roasted walnuts, sprouts, grated raw beets and carrots, green onions, toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, avocado, cooked salmon, garbanzo beans......the list could go on. Now, the dressing recipe, please?

Simple, Everyday Salad Dressing

I place all of the ingredients into a wide mouth mason jar and use my immersion blender to make this dressing, but you could also use a regular blender or Vita-Mix. I used 2 tablespoons of oregano here but fresh basil would work too, if fact, you could increase the basil to 1/4 cup. Don't be tempted to add more of the pungent herbs such as oregano or thyme. Otherwise the flavors in the dressing may get too strong and/or slightly bitter. This dressing will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed jar for about 2 weeks.

3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
the juice of one small lemon
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh herbs
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings if necessary. Store in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator.

Interested in more of our salad and dressing recipes? Click here.

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Ali, this salad is just gorgeous! Thanks for the ideas, especially the flowering herbs-love the color and I bet it tasted divine right from the garden! Can't wait to try the dressing too :)

    I am making a wedding cake next week, what flowers/fruit would you recommend decorating it with?

  2. Thanks Jenna! Oh how fun, a wedding cake. I would use pansies and fresh strawberries to decorate. I bet it will be beautiful!

  3. Spectacular greens and flowering herbs, and that salad dressing looks and sounds amazing. I will definitely make that soon! I would love to take a walk through your garden. :-)


  4. Ali,

    I made your everyday salad dressing this evening for dinner. DH grilled chicken breasts which we served with a salad and your dresing. Thanks for the recipe, your garden sounds fun!

  5. Hi Ali,

    Thank you for all of these healthy recipes. I want to make this dressing today but I have issues with too much garlic. Is this dressing very garlicky with the 6 cloves called for? Thanks in advance for your help!


  6. Shirley - Thanks, I do love all of the spicy & savory flavors from the added flowers. Just adds a nice touch.

    Joyce - Great, I am glad you enjoyed it, thanks for your comment. :)

    Amy - I don't think the dressing has a strong garlic flavor at all, but I love garlic. One of my 17 month old twins wanted me to spoon feed him the dressing so it couldn't have been too strong. All types of garlic have different intensities though, so start with 3 then taste and add more if you like.

    -Ali :)

  7. oops, I meant start with 3 cloves then add more. :)

  8. I love the look of salads with flowers, just never think to use them. I planted an herb garden and think I will add some flowers for salad mix also. What do you recommend planting in a small garden? The dressing sounds delicious - I will make it this week and let you know! Thanks for the inspiration to try new recipes!

  9. Mmmm YUM Ali!
    Our place feels like 90 degrees too, I know it's getting warm when the coconut oil goes clear and liquid!
    I need to invest in an immersion blender, any recommendations? (I love my vitamix but things like dressings splatter everywhere)
    I'm envious of your greens growing in your yard, can I come over please?

  10. I have to admit, looking at my "surrender garden" (rather than victory), I am so envious of all of you master gardeners. Your greens look amazing and I love all the varieties. It's so much fun to eat salads with lots of different tastes. I think you should eat at least (at least) one huge salad with a bunch of different ingredients per day.

    And by the way, I also "lifted" your salad dressing recipe so I can try it later. Yes, we are on the same wavelength with salad dressings! Yum, love the idea of all that garlic mixed in. Yum!


  11. Deb - Pansies and violets are nice to plant in a small garden. Enjoy the dressing! :)

    -Ali :)

  12. Coconut Gal - I just added a link to an immersion blender in the headnotes of the recipe. Note, this is not the one I have, I like it because of the stainless steel splash gaurd.

    This is the first year we have had so many greens, it just takes a few years to establish good soil I think. :)


  13. Melissa- I agree, at least one salad a day, if not two! I think our daily green smoothie habit counts for at least one salad. We usually have another one made from our garden greens with some sort of dressing.

    I should mention here that I am in no way a Master Gardener, in fact, I know very little about gardening. We just have the ideal climate here in the NW for growing greens. Our yard gets plenty of sunshine and so far we don't have any pests, well, except for my twins who pick me boquets of strawberry flowers and help me "weed" the garden by pulling up the lettuce!

    -Ali :)

  14. I love this salad-perfect for the summer :)

  15. This dressing is great. I can attest. I made it the other day and used it to marinate a cut of wild salmon (for about 2 hours.) Then grilled on a plank. Thanks Ali!

  16. Sweta - Thanks for stopping by, glad you found us!

    Mike - Thanks for sharing how you used this dressing! It sounds delicious, I will have to try that sometime!

    -Ali :)

  17. Just made the milk chocolate cupcakes, and I must say I was pretty skeptical. But wow! They are delicious! They passed the taste-test with my 2 1/2 year old. And she knows her stuff! Thanks so much Ali! I plan on sharing them with friends tomorrow, and I can't wait to see if their kiddies like them too. Especially one little boy who has so many diet restrictions. So excited!!

  18. Lexi's Kitchen had a link to your salad dressing!! I love it! Thank you so much!!! FANTASTIC!

  19. Thank you so much for this dressing recipe!! I am on day 13 of my elimination diet (not your diet, but one very similiar from my ND) and am sick of boring salads! this will most definately help to give new life to my greens, thank you very much! Also ordered your cookbook, as I am in desperate need of some more recipes-- hopefully it comes quickly! I am having fish tomorrow, so looking forward to trying it on that as well...

    I have to add too, this recipe is so similiar to an old favorite of mine that I could only purchase from this little restaurant! I think the only difference is that their`s might have had a bit of parmesan added.


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)