I recently asked you consider putting dandelions in your pancakes…today, I’m going to try to talk you into adding violets to your salad.

baby spinach salad photo

Right alongside the dandelions, violets pop up all over my lawn every year in the spring. They are identified by their shiny green heart-shaped leaves and their five-petaled flowers. As you’d expect from their name, they are often purple, but violets can also be yellow, white, or a combination of purple, yellow, and white (source: Susun Weed). The flowers are edible and taste slightly sweet: I absolutely adore them.

violet image

I blogged about violets in salad just about this time last year, too. I don’t know why, but I just love them with baby spinach. Maybe it’s because I like how the tender, deep green spinach leaves contrast with the bright, yet delicate, purple flowers?

This baby spinach salad, which I adapted from The Pioneer Woman, has all sorts of tasty things going for it- there’s bacon (optional), caramelized red onion, pea sprouts, walnuts and blue cheese- so if you don’t add violets, it’s still an awesome salad.

If you want to make a visual statement, though, do add the violets if you can. FYI they’re quite healthy…in herbal medicine, they are said to be an ally against cancer, plus they are high in vitamin C.

Recipe for Baby Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese and Violets

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

* 2 slices thick cut bacon- optional (I used my preservative free home-cured bacon)
* 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
* 1/2 pound clean and dry organic baby spinach
*1 cup coarsely chopped pea sprouts/shoots- optional (use another seasonal vegetable like asparagus, if you prefer
*1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, or more/less to taste
*1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts, or more/less to taste
*15-20 violet flowers
*toasted walnut or olive oil for drizzling on the salad
*squeeze of fresh lemon or drizzle of balsamic vinegar- optional

Directions:

1. If using bacon, cook it in a skillet for several minutes, until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside to drain on paper towels.

2. Add the onion to the skillet with the bacon fat and cook over low-medium heat until well caramelized, 10-15 minutes (if leaving the bacon out of the salad, cook your red onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil instead). Toss the pea sprouts/shoots into the pan with the onion for the last minute or two of cooking. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

3. Crumble or chop the bacon and mix it with the spinach, onions, and pea shoots in a medium-large bowl. Compose salad on plate(s), then garnish with the blue cheese, the walnuts, and the violets. Drizzle the salad with walnut or olive oil, and add a little balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon if you like, as well.

Baby Spinach Salad image

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!

 

26 Comments

  1. 1

    Jeanette — May 9, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    This salad is absolutely gorgeous, with the violets! I’ve never had a salad with violets, but it’s worth growing some just to make this beautiful healthy salad!

    • Winnie replied: — May 9th, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

      They grow wild all over my property…I have to find some more things to make with them!

  2. 2

    Lynn — May 9, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    What a beautiful salad. Peas Shoots, bacon, violets and blue cheese – some of my favorite things. I must try this. Thanks!

    • Winnie replied: — May 9th, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

      I hope you do try it Lynn!

  3. 3

    Liz — May 9, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    What a stunning salad! Just lovely~

    • Winnie replied: — May 9th, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

      Thanks so much!

  4. 4

    Oui, Chef — May 9, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    Gorgeous photo Winnie, I love the vibrant colors. I’ve never been much of a fan of actually eating edible flowers, though I do love the color and drama they bring to a dish. For me, bacon is NEVER optional ;-). – S

    • Winnie replied: — May 9th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

      Thanks Steve! They don’t have much taste, but they’re good for you and SO pretty, so I do love edible flowers :) Kind of hard to believe that I am still eating my same charcutepalooza bacon that I stored in the freezer 3 months later…

  5. 5

    kate — May 9, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

    I have SO many violets in my grass! I think I should make good use of those irritating little flowers and eat them!
    Actually, the flowers I love. It’s the deep, stubborn roots I don’t like :)
    This salad is gorgeous!

    • Winnie replied: — May 9th, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

      I have tons of them too…have you ever candied them? They’re so pretty on cakes :)

  6. 6

    LiztheChef — May 9, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    How about borage blooms? Mine are so full of flowers right now…

    • Winnie replied: — May 9th, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

      I LOVE borage Liz…I plant tons of it in my garden- so beautiful and definitely good to eat :)

  7. 7

    foodwanderings — May 10, 2011 @ 6:49 am

    Good Morning Winnie, You know what, I always liked the idea of violets in salads they are so pretty but never dared. Maybe this will give me the boost to do so, thx!

  8. 8

    Kristen — May 10, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    What a beautiful, beautiful salad!!

  9. 9

    Marmande in the Kitchen — May 10, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    I never thought to use violets in a salad, but I’m totally sold on the idea. I love how the dark purple looks against the green spinach. Sounds delicious!

  10. 10

    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos — May 10, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    this looks beautiful and delicious! love the colors of the violet!

  11. 11

    Diana@Spain-In-Iowa — May 11, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    Love this Winnie. I’ve been eyeing violets growing in my yard and will definitely throw them into a salad.

  12. 12

    Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane — May 11, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    I’m new to your blog but just saw this posted on Punk Domestics. Lovely, lovely salad and photo. Can’t wait to dig around some more!

  13. 13

    Deliciously Organic — May 11, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    What a gorgeous salad!

  14. 14

    marla — May 11, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    I have never had violets in my salad but how I would love to! Winnie, this is gorgeous and I bet so tasty too :)

  15. 15

    Heidi / foodiecrush magazine — May 11, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

    Gorgeous photography, your recipes make my mouth water and I’m adding to my list. Great posts and site. And of course I love anything with blue cheese.

  16. 16

    sauteed spinach with garlic | eating — November 15, 2011 @ 2:17 am

    [...] Winnie’s baby spinach and violet salad with blue cheese [...]

  17. 17

    at the market: the spinach recipe | Eating From the Ground Up — December 10, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    [...] Winnie’s baby spinach and violet salad with blue cheese [...]

  18. 18

    One Simple Change: Eat More Leafy Greens | Healthy Green Kitchen — March 2, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

    [...] steered away from eating lots of raw spinach, etc., because of the oxalic acid issue. I do eat spinach salads on occasion, but I generally choose to eat it cooked. I think if you’re concerned about your [...]

  19. 19

    Jackie Gordon Singing Chef — April 20, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    I have tons of violets growing in my Brooklyn yard for years. I am often annoyed by them since they are so weedy… never thought to eat them. That would be the ultimate revenge! You inspire me!!!

  20. 20

    Sarah — February 15, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

    The salad looks gorgeous!! How long do the violets last after picking them, before they start to wilt?? Thank you

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