croppedsalad

Did you know that violets, the pretty purple flowers that dot many a yard, are edible? And that all parts of the plant have many medicinal uses, as well?

Violet flowers appear in early spring and are often found along forest edges. According to the book Wild Medicinal Plants by Amy Schneider, they also appreciate soil that is rich in clay (which explains why they grow happily on my property).

violets

I love using herbs and edible plants like violets in my kitchen. When candied/crystallized, violets make a wonderful decoration for cakes and other desserts, but most of the time I just grab some of the flowers and throw them in spring salads, like this one. The violets have a very mild taste, and they boost the vitamin/mineral content of an already nutritious salad even higher.

If you don’t have access to violets, this is still a tasty salad without them. And feel free to swap out any of the ingredients for what you have on hand, or use a vinaigrette instead of the sweet yogurt dressing.

violetsalad1

Spinach Salad with Blood Oranges, Pistachios, and Violets

Adapted from the Violet Vision Salad that appears in Healing Wise by Susun Weed
Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the salad:

*4 cups baby spinach (more or less), preferably organic
*1 blood orange, supremed, and then cut into smaller pieces
*1/2 cup dry-roasted, shelled pistachios (mine were salted, but unsalted is preferable)
*about 15 fresh violet blossoms

For the dressing:

*1/4 cup plain organic yogurt
*1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Directions:

Mix all salad ingredients (except for the flowers) in a medium-large bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients and combine with the salad. Compose salad on plate(s) and garnish with the violets.

violetsaladsharpened550

This post is linked to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!

 

19 Comments

  1. 1

    roxan — April 23, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    Mm, I’d love to steep them and use in a bread!

  2. 2

    drwinnie — April 23, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    Roxan,
    I was just thinking maybe I’d do scones with them next week!

  3. 3

    roxan — April 23, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

    Oh, talk about heaven… A buttery flowery scone sounds so good! along with a hot cup of tea it would be a delicious breakfast.

  4. 4

    Barbara @ moderncomfortfood — April 23, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

    Oh, I so love this recipe, Winnie. There are few times during the year when I’m jealous of you Northerners, but this is one of them, and I’m so missing the extraordinary springtime native blooms and foraging opportunities — birdsfoot violets, ramps, and morels, among many others — available at my NC mountain home this time of year. The combination of flavors you have used here, and your photos, are simply stunning. Many thanks for sharing.

  5. 5

    5 Star Foodie — April 23, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

    What a pretty salad with violets! Just gorgeous!

  6. 6

    ciaochowlinda — April 23, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

    I just love your salad with violets. If you check my blog, you’ll see I have a thing for violets too!

  7. 7

    Emma @ Poires au Chocolat — April 24, 2010 @ 7:32 am

    That is absolutely stunning! Every ingredient is wonderful.

  8. 8

    Chef Dennis — April 24, 2010 @ 9:14 am

    what a perfectly beautiful salad!! The violets and blood oranges add such an amazing quality to the salad!

  9. 9

    Justin Marx — April 24, 2010 @ 11:46 am

    Gorgeous. Inspired and inspiring!

  10. 10

    dokuzuncubulut — April 24, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

    Beautiful photo and This is very healthy recipe. Thanks for the post.

  11. 11

    I Sicilian — April 25, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

    What a beautiful painting. I too use flowers for my salads, Nasturtium, Pansies etc… I always appreciate a dish that is appealing to the eye, besides being tasty and healthy.

  12. 12

    Joanne — April 26, 2010 @ 4:54 am

    I’ve been seeing edible flowers in the Farmer’s Market and haven’t bought any because I don’t quite know what to do with them. You have inspired me, however! This dish looks seriously fantastic, especially with that yogurt dressing.

  13. 13

    Sara — April 26, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

    baby spinach used to be the only green I would use for salads back in the day, and i thought Id burnt out on it completely. This looks like it could change my mind :)

  14. 14

    Esther — April 27, 2010 @ 11:58 am

    How wonderful and if they like clay i should make sure some of the ones that randomly seed themselves round my garden get up to the allotment so i have plenty to try in recipes !! I’ve had them candied in the past but I love flowers in salads and can’t think why i hadn’t thought of using violets!

  15. 15

    Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul — May 1, 2010 @ 6:13 am

    This has got to be the prettiest salad I’ve ever seen!

  16. 16

    David — May 6, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

    This salad looks amazing! Beautiful colors!
    I’ve never tried to use flowers in cooking but I’m urging for it now. I’m curious about what violets taste like (except from mild)? Do they taste similar to any kind of spice?

  17. 17

    drwinnie — May 6, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    David,
    They honestly don’t have much flavor.They are here much more for the visual appeal (and the health aspects) than for the taste…

  18. 18

    A Gamut of Healthy Recipes | Live Lighter — May 6, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

    [...] Spinach and Blood Orange Salad with Violets. This recipe sounds absolutely divine and the accompanying pictures are gorgeous! Winnie Abramson loves to talk about real food on her blog, Healthy Green Kitchen, and can do so comfortably having a background in nutrition and natural medicine. [...]

  19. 19

    Healthy Green Kitchen Baby Spinach Salad with Violets and Blue Cheese » Healthy Green Kitchen — July 24, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

    [...] blogged about violets in salad just about this time last year, too. I don’t know why, but I just love them with baby [...]