Baby Spinach Salad with Violets and Blue Cheese

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.

Baby Spinach Salad image

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!

baby spinach salad
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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

Instructions

  • 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.