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Herb Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

herb salad

I love these salads. They are hearty and powerful and can be alarming to those used to iceberg — or even mesclun. There is no lettuce in this salad. It is all herbs, and the wider the variety the better.

The salad is tamed with a lusty walnut dressing that provides the fat needed to round out a plate full of sharp-edged herbs.

How to make this salad? Be sure to have lots of parsley, as it is the backbone. Depending on the season, add things like cress, basil, lovage, celery leaves, sorrel, mint, salad burnett, miner’s lettuce, dandelions, borage leaves and so on.

Here’s the warning: You must understand these herbs and their relative strengths to make this salad work: Too much mint and you’re eating cough drops. Too much borage and the little fuzzy hairs will annoy your guests. Lovage is a prima donna and dandelions in warm weather are impossibly bitter. A little bitter is good, though, so keep that in mind.

Serves 6-8

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup young borage leaves
  • 12-14 sorrel leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  1. Wash and dry the leaves. Anything too large for a fork should be torn to size.
  2. Buzz into a paste the walnuts, vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt in a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the walnut oil and buzz to combine.
  3. Toss and eat.


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