Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small, sunny apartment patio, growing your own vegetables and herbs is a great way to eat local and boost your nutrition. Now that you have your garden beds planted or your container garden sprouting, use your homegrown veggies in these delicious and creative salad recipes. Forget boring Caesar salad or lackluster iceberg lettuce. These recipes elevate the average salad with new flavors, bright colors, interesting textures, and best of all — amazing antioxidants and phytochemicals that will boost and support your immune system.
1. Spring Spinach and Strawberry Delight
Spinach is a renowned superfood with numerous plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals that have been shown to strengthen your immunity and even prevent some forms of cancer! It’s also incredibly easy to grow at home, thriving in containers or pots and taking just a little over a month to go from seed to harvest.
This salad pairs the nutritional benefits of spinach with the hearty crunch (and healthy fats) of nuts, all complimented with the gentle sweetness of fresh, organic strawberries. But the proverbial icing on the cake is the homemade dressing. It’s sweet and tangy, really helping to pull all these flavors together for a truly memorable salad.
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp minced onions
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 quart strawberries, washed and sliced thinly (ideally use local, organic strawberries)
10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped (ideally your own homegrown veggies!)
1/4 cup chopped almonds
First, place all the dressing ingredients into a Mason jar or similarly sealed container. Shake vigorously, then refrigerate it overnight or for at least an hour to make it cold.
Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl, then drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!
2. Pomegranate and Gorgonzola Salad
This salad is the perfect way to use any and all of your homegrown veggies — whether you’ve grown spinach, lettuce, arugula, kale, etc., it works perfectly! The crispness of your fresh produce helps cut through the richness of the Gorgonzola cheese, while pomegranate arils create little bursts of juice that will tickle your palate. It’s all topped with a homemade, slightly spicy vinaigrette and juicy pear slices.
4 tbsp raw, organic apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive or avocado oil
1 tbsp honey, ideally local and organic
1 1/2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups of lettuce, spinach, arugula, and other homegrown veggies
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (or if you want more flavor, try a more aromatic cheese like Roquefort or Blue Stilton)
1 pear, cored and sliced
1/4 cup pomegranate arils (you can use fresh pomegranate, or buy frozen arils and let it thaw ahead of time)
1 green onion, chopped
Whisk together the salad ingredients and set aside.
In a big salad bowl, add your homegrown veggies and toss them with the cheese, walnuts, and pomegranates. Drizzle the dressing on top, then layer on the pear slices and enjoy!
3. Hearty Beets Salad
Beets are a great choice for homegrown veggies. You can eat their roots, obviously, which are rich in antioxidants and very sweet. You can also eat the greens, making it an all-in-one vegetable that does well when grown directly in the ground or in a big container full of loose, fluffy potting soil (loose soil helps ensure the beetroot has all the space it needs to grow!).
If you want to level-up this salad, add your favorite protein on top. It pairs well with diced chicken, flaked baked salmon, or even vegan options like smoked tofu.
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tbsp organic maple syrup
4 medium beets, scrubbed, cut in half, and cooked (boil for 20 minutes or until tender, then cool to room temperature)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3-5 cups of assorted leafy homegrown veggies, such as lettuce, baby salad greens, and even sprouts
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
Optional: Proteins of your choice
Whisk together the salad dressing and set aside.
Take your cooled, cooked beets and dice them into chunks. Toss the beets with the rest of the salad ingredients, drizzle with dressing, and enjoy!