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Everything Green in a Salad and Spring

April 19, 2011 · 27 comments

in Austria,Gluten Free,Salad,Spring,Vegetarian

spring salad image sasasunakku

Since Auckland is pretty well evergreen and that’s where I spent my formative years, this “real Spring” thing knocks me for six every time it happens. Spring in Tokyo was beautiful too – when you came across the odd tree, concrete jungle that it is – but in Vorarlberg, well: it’s another thing altogether. And this from a girl who often declares “it’s hard to impress me with the scenery, I’m from New Zealand after all” (smug and annoying, I know).

greens image sasasunakku

Unlike most other people here (I swear, in November someone said to me in all earnestness “I hope it’ll be a long cold winter”) a white world doesn’t warm my cockles at all and while I can’t measure how much of an effect the juxtaposition from what seems like endless cold and fog to sun and pink and white blossoms has on my state, I’m pretty sure I’d feel nearly as chuffed at the freshness were I coming from summer. You heard it first here people, this summer girl is admitting that another season might just have something to it.

garden peas image sasasunakku

The mountains that surround this little village, town city seem to sparkle just so at the tops instead of bearing down ominously. Bees buzz busily (not yet fatly as in summer but frankly, somewhat cheesily) through the orchard down the road. Each morning the sun slants golden through the shades and makes pretty patterns on the duvet. Everywhere you look is suddenly green and, most importantly, I can wear a skirt. I’m frivolous like that.

dressed spring salad image sasasunakku

I’m gripped by a sudden compulsion to eat everything green I can lay my hands on and the first time the urge hit me, I made this salad. I shelled some peas, I topped and tailed some beans and diced the most darling avocado; you know, the sort that is creamy and soft yet prettily holds its shape. I let a fistful of roasted pumpkin seeds and herbs shower over it all and then doused the lot in a dressing made green with pumpkinseed oil, which, by the way, please try if you have not already.

Spring, you are the queen of my heart. At least, for now.

eaten salad image sasasunakku

Have you been gripped by any cravings recently?

Crunchy Spring Salad

There is obviously no reason you shouldn’t swap the zucchini for asparagus or broccoli for beans. The roasted pumpkin seeds and dressing are important though, for crunch and the inimitable flavour pumpkin seed oil gives, although you could use sunflower seeds or something. Wouldn’t be as prettily green though.

Serves 2 as a side dish or one greedy person munching whilst holding the bowl over their lap

For the salad

A handful of green beans, trimmed

Half a zucchini, sliced very thinly (use a mandolin if you have one)

Half a cup of peas, freshly podded

Half an avocado, diced

A tablespoon of minced Italian parsley

A spring onion, sliced thinly

A handful of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds

Blanch the beans in well salted water for a minute, add the peas and cook another two minutes and put in an ice bath. Drain.

Arrange the zucchini, peas and beans and avocado on a plate.

Sprinkle the herbs and seeds over.

For the dressing

60 ml (1/4 cup) pumpkinseed oil

30 ml (2 tablespoons) red wine vinegar

A squeeze of mustard

Half a clove of garlic, minced

A pinch of sugar

Half a teaspoon of salt

Plenty of ground pepper

Put everything in a jar and shake until emulsified.

Taste and pour over the salad. You mightn’t need it all.

Print this recipe

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My Little Expat Kitchen April 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm

It feels like summer in Holland today, as did yesterday. I think Spring just took a look and said: “see you next year suckers, I’ve had enough of you. I’m sending in the big guns”. It’s weird. And to think that in Greece it’s freezing cold these past couple of days. It’s a mad world, I tell you.
Whatever the season, the temperature or mood, I love that salad.

The Grubworm April 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Oh, what an attractive salad – all except for the demon avocado… *shudder*. I love the use of the single colour with all those textures and tastes – crunchy seeds, crisp peas, pungent spring onions – mmm-mmm, everything a salad should be. I’d love to try out something similar and throw in some pistachio as well, my favourite green nut. Oh, and maybe a seaweed based salad with pumpkin seeds, I am so getting into that green vibe.

As for obsessions – now that you mention it, I have had an odd one. I am usually a savoury kind of person, but recently I’ve been craving sweet things. I’ve even been known to get an ice-cream (matcha soft scoop since you ask) for lunch. Practically unheard of. Maybe it’s the full moon.

Sasa April 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm

You hate avocado!? But why?

The Grubworm April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Something about the texture just sends shivers down my spine (and this is from the person who loves fried intestine, soft tofu and the smell of fish sauce). I do like guacamole though, which is a bit odd. The only other thing I don’t like really is brains. And that’s for the same textural issues.

Emily April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Someone told me that in Berlin when it’s 25°C, they already declare it’s summer and apparently we’re going to have 24 this Easter weekend. I guess I have a craving for all things fresh on the market like asparagus and rhubarb, plus berries but your salad is just beautiful and exactly what I need.

Three-Cookies April 20, 2011 at 1:39 am

Even though the salad is mainly green (and no other colors), it looks really appealing. I would be happy to eat it on it own, and share with myself only:)

Suz April 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Okay, well now I’m craving that salad! I do start craving lots of salady things at this time of year. It’s a nice break after a winter of stodgy puddings and thick stews. I think spring is the best season – the smells, oh the smells – but I have a soft spot for all of them.

molly April 20, 2011 at 4:07 am

asparagus. asparagus, asparagus, asparagus.

but this looks like a pretty swell stand-in. oh, spring veg, come along already…

Kocinera April 20, 2011 at 4:26 am

Spring has definitely been showing off lately–lots of prettiness all around and lots of slanty, late afternoon sunlight. I love all those beautiful green colors in that salad!! Perfectly perfect for such a lovely season. :)

Nicolette April 20, 2011 at 5:49 am

I can’t wait to shell fresh peas here. Only a few more weeks! Beautiful postings here, thanks!

Alessandra April 20, 2011 at 6:42 am

This is just my kind of salad, in fact i think that I crave something like that now, I need to eat more greens, in the last few days, with the school holidays and all, I had kids around the house and so too much pizza, cupcakes, pasta, biscuits, pies and pastry… too much carbo and sugar!!! I need green! Tonight I am alone with my little boy, I will make something like this (he loves avocado) and I still have some yellow and green beans in the garden :-).


Marietta April 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

It has been pretty cold and rainy in Greece lately..felt like Autumn instead of Spring..But I woke up today and saw the brightest sun rising in Athens and my mood instantly mood to “happy”…

In Greece, the arrival of Spring and the super sunny days, declares one thing:
Ouzo and meze time!!
Meze is mmm like Spanish tapas… but probably more variety…and usually they contain fish or seafood in general..

Nice salad Sasa!

Lucy April 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

It’s most def spring over here in Ireland. It’s really lovely all my herbs on the balcony are beginning to spring up. This salad looks great – I feel healthier just looking at it. I love avocado – when I was small my parents called me avocado baby cause I loved them so much and there was a book with the same name – oh look I found a link

Lana April 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

Southern California is not usually associated with greenery, but we had a lot of rain in the past few months, and anything that could grow, grew:) There is green on the hills, and I am happy! I do miss the real harbingers of spring, forsythia, snowdrops, violets, crocuses, but I am willing to suffer a bit for all the other stuff SoCal offers daily.
I love all the ingredients in your salad (even avocados, even though I did not like them for the texture – I completely get Grubworm:) I just managed to cross to the right side:) It is the epitome of spring!

flo April 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

another classic! no wonder the newspapers are all over the freshest story of the year – you!

millie April 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Last night after reading this post I had a little bit of a minor sad (or maybe it was jealousy) at it not being spring here anymore. Now that I’ve slept on it I’m feeling much better again about autumn, but still. Green! Those peas! Jealous!! Enjoy while you can ;)

SMITH BITES April 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm

i swear to the heavens above, you could write the telephone book and i would swoon Sasa!! i absolutely love seeing the world through your eyes! what am i craving at the moment? sunshine, warm weather and bright, acidic, juicy tomatoes, sugary-sweet dripping peaches, watermelon, flip-flops and the float-raft in a pool . . . oh, and ice-cold beer or sangria!! lovely, lovely salad you have made . . . put that on the list too . . .

Anna April 21, 2011 at 4:15 am

I want, no need that pumpkinseed oil in my life! Do you know where to get it in Auckland?

Remember when we had it drizzled over pumpkin soup at the ski field?

Sasa April 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Maybe Zarbo? Maybe I should start importing it and make my fortune ^_^

Suzy April 21, 2011 at 9:30 am

Spring greens. The possibilities are endless. Here in Jordan, I feel like we skipped a season but hopefully the sun will still be out when I return to Berlin and I will get my fix of spring.

catty April 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm

You healthy girl, you. Those peas look too cute to eat. When we were last in Finland in spring we were eating peas out of their pods – first time for me, so SWEET! anyway my latest craving was that damn burger which gave me a tummy ache. OH wellz.

Alli April 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I totally miss the winter season living in NZ, all the snow and a whole new wardrobe with big boots and cool military style coats. Here in NZ you just put an extra cardie on that suffices for the winter months :0) . At the moment I am craving marzipan because it’s winter here….well we did have a day were it dropped to 15C ha..ha, not very cold hey?

Mairi@Toast April 23, 2011 at 5:01 am

Makes me crave Spring already….oh for asparagus. Managed to snaffle some when in the UK. But we still have broccoli and beans so reckon I can do an Autumnal NZ version of this one :)

Tine April 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm

That salad looks AMAZING!

Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 12, 2011 at 2:33 am

That is one nice looking green spring salad!

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