Learn how to make a garden salad to compliment your dinner. This will be a treat and wonderful health boost for your family!
When I plan my dinners, I usually think in this order: meat, staple, vegetable. That is why most days I get a main course all prepared, and in the last minute have to think up a quick vegetable to compliment.
In comes the garden salad – the perfect last minute vegetable. It is not like the broccoli steamed last minute. Broccoli last minute can be dull and boring. No, a garden salad can be imaginative and explosive with flavour. The bonus benefit is that it gives you a chance to use up any odds and ends in your fridge or in your pantry.
How to pick salad from the garden
Right now in the garden, we can pick a salad from the ever bearing Lacinato Kale and bright lights Swiss chard. We are in the winter days of the garden here in the Pacific North West. Our salad options in the garden are Kale, Spinach, Swiss chard, Mustards, and Pac Choi. Picking your salad directly from these crunchy leafed bushes is a very satisfying experience. That is why it is totally worth planting your own garden. No matter how big or small a space you have. There are even gardening possibilities for balconies and indoor gardening if you don’t have any outside garden space. See what we planted in the fall here.
When I first learned about gardening, I was puzzled wondering how to harvest salad greens. For example: with the kale plant, could you just break off the leaves at the stem of the plant or do you need to harvest with scissors? And how much do you break off, the leaf with its stem or just leaf? I was even worried that I cold harm the plant if I did harvest wrong.
Let me put your mind at ease – it is as easy as a snap! Yes, you can just snap off a leaf with your hand, with as much stem as you desire! Pac choi and mustard snap off easily, similar to kale and spinach leaves. I carry a bowl or strainer out to the garden with me and add my produce in the bowl as I pick it. I should note, the only leafy plant that takes a little extra wiggle and twisting is the Swiss Chard, which has a rubbery-like stem.
Learn how to plant a garden with salad leaves
If all of this talk about salad makes you want to plant a garden filled with salad, learn how you can plant seeds indoors right now at this tutorial. That way, you can have your own salad greens in the next few weeks!
How to harvest carrots
To harvest carrots, look for carrots that have pushed their tops out of the soil bed. Firmly plant your hand around the stalk that connects the leaf and root, and pull upwards. The carrots should come out easily.
Wash salad greens and carrots
After a harvest, I bring the salad leaves to my sink to wash off any dirt and bugs. I also use this time to look for spider webs or bug nests. A good tip I can give you, is to add a paper towel layer to the base of your sink before you begin. This will catch the dirt that washes off of the vegetables or leaves. It will prevent a bunch of dirt from clogging your kitchen sink.
Rinse each leaf on the front and on the back with a sprayer or with lightly running tap water. Inspect the leaves well to catch any hidden eggs or bug nests. After you rinse the leaves, leave them in a strainer to strain off any additional water.
I have wondered if it isn’t quicker to fill the sink with water and to let the leaves soak in the water for a while. This may be quicker, but you would still need to inspect each leave. Since the inspection could take some time, I may as well rinse the leaves by hand while I’m inspecting.
Learn how to make a garden salad
Here you will learn how to make a garden salad. A salad doesn’t have any rules, you can add nearly anything. A traditional salad will have some kind of leaves and a few other vegetables. For example, you can add tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers. Or cheeses like feta or cheddar. I have also added vegetables at times like pomegranates, apples, or tangerines.
Ingredients for this garden salad
This salad includes salad leaves from our garden and a few extra things from my counter and pantry.
From the garden:
Kale (the varieties are Lacinato and Red Russian)
Swiss Chard (Flamingo Pink, Fordhook Giant and Silverado)
Pac Choi (Dwarf White, Shanghai Green)
Mustards (Southern Giant (green) and Japanese Giant Red)
From the pantry:
A pomegranate’s seeds
Tangerine slices, sliced
Homemade salad dressing (see recipe below)
How to make a salad dressing
For the salad dressing, you can use any oil as the base and add a few other ingredients to sweeten and add some tang. I learned to make this homemade salad dressing from mom in law, who always makes a rockin’ salad dressing.
The quantities of the ingredients in a salad dressing will change depending on each persons taste. That is why I dip pinky into the dressing to taste it often while I’m making it. Thereafter, I adjust to taste. For example, I will add a little more maple syrup or lemon juice depending on the mix. The measurements below are my “rough measurements”.
Salad dressing ingredients
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
Pinch of salt
1 garlic clove (crushed and very finely chopped)
Direction to make a quick homemade salad dressing
- Combine olive oil and lemon juice.
- Stir and let it sit and “combine” while you chop the garlic.
- Peel and finely chop a garlic clove.
- Add the garlic clove, maple syrup (or honey), and salt.
What’s for dinner?
This garden salad will compliment our pot roast for dinner.
Ingredients in my instant pot pot roast
Pot Roast (3lb)
Carrots (3-4 medium)
Small potatoes (5-8)
Directions to make pot roast in an instant pot
To make the pot roast in my instant pot, I followed these directions:
- Remove roast form the fridge about 1-2 hours before cooking, and add salt and pepper to each side
- Add some olive oil to the instant pot and press the sauté button
- Sauté all the the edges of the roast (roughly 4-5 minutes each side)
- Slice vegetables larger than normal, because they will pressure cook well in the instant pot
- Make beef broth form cubes if you don’t have any on hand.
- Remove roast from instant pot and add in sliced vegetables to sauté for a few minutes in the meat flavour that has “cooked/burnt” to the base of the bot.
- Move vegetables to the side of the pot and add the roast back in to the centre of the pot.
- Pour in the beef broth
- Add potatoes and thyme
- Close lid and pressure cook for 45 minutes (or 15 minutes per pound of meat)
- Once finished, let the pressure decrease naturally.
- Serve and enjoy!
Now you can say that you did learn how to make a garden salad! Your future dinners can now be paired with delicious garden salad creations, and keep your family and bodies healthy!
Watch how to make a garden salad
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