There are lovely ways to use plants from your garden in such things as tomato with avocado salad or a Chinese Salad using Chinese powder in the salad dressing.  Follow these recipes for a great Greek Salad with Hummus or a Green Salad with a kicky salad dressing all using plants from your vegetable garden.


Plants from your garden will be maturing very soon leaving you with an abundance of fresh foods for great culinary uses like Tomato with Avocado salad or a Greek Salad with a hummus recipe for dipping pita bread. When your vegetable garden starts to produce for your table, you should have recipes using fresh herbs for an herb dressing, and vegetables on hand to use them in the most imaginative ways.  Here are some recipes to give you maximum enjoyment of great salads and salad dressings.  Be creative, use these as just examples and add a few personal touches, consider your vegetable garden as a living cuisine capable of any number of new twists.

When your tomatoes start to give up dozens of their fruit give some away, but better yet here are some recipes, an especially super one for Tomato with Avocado salad, that you can use for your family or a weekend get together with neighbours and friends.

Dress Up your Tomatoes with an Herb Dressing:

Use three or four of your fresh tomatoes, peel them if you wish and slice them any thickness you want. Then slice some Red Onion or Vidalia Onions to place on top.  Snip some of your fresh herbs like, basil and oregano.  In a screw top jar, add ¼ cup of olive oil or vegetable oil (or use half of each for flavour.) Then drizzle in 2 tablespoons of a flavoured vinegar (balsamic, tarragon, garlic, sherry, or raspberry – change it up for variety). Add your fresh herbs. Let the flavours blend for about 1-2 hours before using, and shake well before adding to the salad.  Next, sprinkle salt and pepper onto the tomatoes and dress with your Herb salad dressing.   Here again, get creative, use fresh sliced mozzarella or grated parmesan on the tomato salad for another variation in using your plants from your garden. 

You could use tarragon dressing to make the tomato salad a little different.  Use the same basic ingredients but from your kitchen garden substitute one tablespoon tarragon leaves and 2 teaspoons of snipped chives for the basil and oregano. Here you should only use tarragon vinegar.

Whichever herbs you choose, garnish the plate with fresh sprigs of the herb for added interest and colour.

A Chinese Tomato With Avocado Salad

For an entirely different taste and presentation try making a Tomato with Avocado salad with five spice Chinese powder.  You won’t be growing the Chinese powder but you can find it in most grocery stores. Spices have the power to create subtle or powerful flavours and this recipe using the Chinese powder will prove it.

First peel and slice about 4 tomatoes.  Do the same to two ripe avocados.  You can add some cucumber slices and make a bed for the salad out of romaine leaves or any leaves you have grown in your vegetable gardens.

After you have prepared the salad make the salad dressing with ½ of cup of olive or vegetable oil (or half of both).  Use two tablespoons or tarragon or white vinegar.  Add 1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder, a tablespoon of finely chopped basil, ½ teaspoon of both lemon juice and salt, mash a clove of garlic, a pinch of dry mustard and black pepper and add it to your screw top jar with all the other ingredients.  Mix well and refrigerate at least two hours before serving over the salad. Here again use fresh herbs or the tomato peel twirled into a rose shape for garnishing the plate.

A Green Chinese Salad, Greek Salad or Lentil Salad With Vegetables

Let’s switch gears from tomato salads to a Green Salad, a Greek Salad and a Lentil Salad with Vegetables.  The first is a scrumptious crunchy green salad which can be paired with a protein like chopped eggs or slices of grilled chicken or a starch, perhaps diced potatoes or chick peas to make a complete meal. 

A Crunchy Green Chinese Salad

For your green Chinese salad you will need 1 cup of Chinese salad leaves or any vegetable garden salad makings you have grown, or you have on hand. Chop one green pepper with the ribs removed, 3 tablespoons of lovage or fresh spearmint, finely diced celery and spring onions or ramps sliced diagonally.  Mix together.

Your salad dressing will be a mayonnaise based mixture.  Put four tablespoons of mayonnaise into a screw top jar with 2 tablespoons of orange juice, the grated rind of an orange, 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped.  Shake vigorously and chill for several hours before serving.  Put a pretty garnish on each plate and you have a perfect summer meal.   

A Cool Greek Salad With Feta Cheese And Pitas With Hummus

What is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cool Greek Salad?  Thinly slice a cucumber from your garden patch, chop your tomatoes coarsely, and toss together with 1/2 to 1 cup of feta cheese (Greek cheese found in your dairy aisle), and a dozen or so of Greek black olives. You will want to dress this simply with 1 clove of garlic chopped finely, 3 tablespoons of your fresh basil also finely chopped, 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil (use only olive oil here), and some grinds of black pepper.  Mix everything well and serve the salad on arranged beds of sprouts. Serve with hot crusty bread or for real treat heat some pita rounds and serve the salad with warm pita quarters and the following hummus recipe.

Hummus Recipe:1 12-oz can garbanzo beans1 clove garlic2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil2-3 tbsp tahini sauce (sesame paste) found in ethnic sections or gourmet storesjuice of 1 small lemon½ tsp salt

Drain 1/3 of the water from the can of garbanzo beans into a small bowl. Set aside for later use. In a blender, mix together the garbanzo beans with the remaining can water and the rest of the ingredients. Blend for 1-2 minutes until a smooth, slightly fluid paste is formed. If desired, add small amount of the saved can water and blend to create a more fluid consistency.

A Lovely Lentil Salad With Vegetables From Your Gardens

And our last summer salad will use fresh lentil sprouts and veggies from your vegetable garden. 

You will need 1 ½ cups of fresh lentil sprouts, one large red pepper diced with ribs removed, ½ cup of broccoli and cauliflower flowerets each, and 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms of your choice. You will want a dressing with kick so, in your screw top jar mix 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.  Shake the dressing until well combined then pour over the salad.  This is a perfect salad to add seeds or nuts to for additional protein.

So there you have five great summer salads to help you use plants from your garden.  Don’t forget that if you are growing any edible flowers, like nasturtiums, to add them to your garnish.  Use your imagination and the different plants from your garden for an unending, delicious, living cuisine.

Bon Appetit and Happy Gardening!