Little Gem Spring Salad with Toasted Seeds & Herbed Goat Cheese


Little Gem Spring Salad with Toasted Seeds & Herbed Goat Cheese

When my brother was a kid, he convinced my aunt that he was allergic to “green stuff”…aka salad. But he most definitely said “green stuff” which should have been a big red flag that he was full of crap. I’m not sure what’s more unbelievable: the fact that my aunt bought his fib and let him get away without vegetables for the night, or that my brother later went on to become vegan for a several years.

The same 10-year old who would have sooner done all of the dishes for a month than take a bite of lettuce, would easily eat a whole bowl of this little gem spring salad nowadays.

Little Gem Spring Salad

It’s been almost two years since I shared a salad on this blog. And it’s not because I’m allergic to green stuff. To put that in perspective, I’ve shared 54 dessert recipes since I posted my last salad. This ratio would explain a few things. Namely, why all my pants seem to have shrunk and why my cat’s suddenly taken a liking to kneading my belly at night.

Fortunately this isn’t actually an accurate representation of my salad to sweet ratio – I promise. And this isn’t like last week when I promised my dentist I floss regularly either – I really have been eating my greens!

Toasted Nuts & SeedsGreen Goddess HerbsLittle Gem Spring Salad with Toasted Seeds

My mom just passed down my late grandma’s wedding salad bowl, so I’m finally getting around to sharing one of my so-called salads publicly. A bowl like this deserves a salad in its honor. The antique bowl came to me showing its age through a severely chipped finish that needed some TLC. Lucas sanded the surface just in time for me to pile in this spring salad the second he handed it to me…without washing the bowl. In my defense, he handed me a sexy smooth salad bowl that didn’t appear to have sawdust on it, so we’re probably not going to die.

We definitely still ate the salad. That’s how awesome it is – you’ll look past any trace of sawdust for another bite.

Little Gem Spring Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese

This green-on-green salad pulls herb-y inspiration from Alanna’s Green Goddess Sandwiches (somebody get me a napkin to wipe up my drool). In true green goddess form, this salad version is heavy-handed on the greens, but with a lightened up herby vinaigrette that’s only ever-so-slightly creamy.

Little Gem Spring Salad with Toasted Seeds & Herbed Goat CheeseLittle Gem Spring Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese & Toasted Seeds

Nine times out ten, we consume salad with chopsticks in our house (seriously, try it – it’s so much easier that trying to stab soggy greens), but this sweet little gem lettuce has enough crispy oomph to be picked up with a fork. Radishes are tossed in for spice and texture, roasted nuts and seeds give a salty toasty crunch, tangled ribbons of silky shaved asparagus add a grassy note, and with pockets of creamy herbed goat cheese, this salad is my new favorite spring combo.

Little Gem Spring Salad with Toasted Seeds and Herbed Goat Cheese

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Little Gem Spring Salad with Toasted Seeds and Herbed Goat Cheese
Yields: 4 side servings
For Salad
  • 6 small heads of little gem lettuce, leaves ripped apart
  • 1lb asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed off and spears shaved with a vegetable peeler (*See note)
  • 1 cup sliced English breakfast radishes (from about 10-15 small radishes)
  • ⅓ cup broccoli sprouts (or other sprouts)
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios
  • ¼ teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Herbed Goat Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • ½ tablespoon packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 ounces goat cheese (chèvre)
Herbed Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoon honey
  • Salt & pepper, to taste (a couple of pinches should do)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Layer the little gem leaves, shaved asparagus, radishes, and sprouts in a large salad bowl.
  3. Toss the sunflower seeds, pepitas, and pistachio with olive oil and salt and spread them out in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant for 10 minutes, tossing the nuts halfway through baking.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the herbed goat cheese. Pulse 1 tablespoon basil, 1 tablespoon chives, and ½ tablespoon tarragon in a food processor until finely minced. Add the goat cheese and pulse a few times to incorporate. Use a spatula to remove it from the food processor and set in the refrigerator while you prepare the vinaigrette.
  5. Without cleaning the food processor, pulse the remaining 2 tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons chives, and 1 tablespoon tarragon in a food processor until finely minced. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and purée until smooth and creamy.
  6. Toss the dressing with the greens in the bowl. Top with toasted nuts and dot with herbed goat cheese. Serve!
*Depending on your peeler, each spear of asparagus will yield only 3-5 shavings. Chop and reserve the rest of the spear for a later recipe. Stir fry, anybody?

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  1. Alanna says:

    Ohmahgaw, this is the prettiest salad I’ve ever seen. I love the curls of shaved asparagus – yum!! We too eat salad with chopsticks — soulmates?? (Do soulmates get salad?) xo

  2. Oh my goodness!! Shave all the asparagus! Why have I never done this?? It looks amazing. I’m going to have to get a lot more mature so that I can start using chopsticks to eat my salad. Do I get extra goat cheese if I pull it off??

    • Shave all of the asparagus – then your salad feels like it’s filled with pretty ribbon. Hahaha – I just realized you totally experienced our salad chopsticking when you were here! If you master them, I’ll give you double the goat cheese. (Limited time offer).

  3. I’m totally crushing on these photos and all these salad ingredients. I can’t believe you haven’t shared a salad in 2 years. That’s crazy talk. But glad to hear you have actually been eating your greens this whole time. :-)

    • Aw – thank you Liz! I agree – totally crazy talk. I’m going to start filling up my blog with all salads all the time (just as soon as I finish sharing like 54 more desserts…;)

  4. HAHA!!! I cracked up so many times reading this post. First of all, I can’t believe you’ve posted 54 dessert recipes since you last posted a salad! Good for you :) AND also, who the heck flosses regularly? No one, that’s who.

    This salad is so gorgeous! Seriously, your photography just gets more and more stunning each day. (And I love Alanna’s green goddess sandwiches, I’ve made them before and they are so good!)

    • Aw – thank you so much Laura! I’m afraid I’ve got about 10 recipes on the docket up next….maybe I should try squeezing another salad in haha. (Also – THANK YOU – NO ONE flosses regularly. While I was getting my teeth deep cleaned today – likely from all the desserts – I was wondering if my dentist flosses regularly and I concluded she must not because who can really do that??)

  5. I love any excuse to shave asparagus and this salad is gorgeous! I’m glad your brother’s taste buds changed and he decided that he loved the “green stuff” because I wouldn’t be able to resist this salad.

  6. I am obsessed with salad lately. This one looks fab! I’m always on the look out for new dressings. Going to try this one tonight!

  7. Allergic to green stuff. Haha, that’s hilarious! I bet if it was time for a green mint chocolate chip milkshake he wouldn’t been allergic to green stuff anymore! And oh my gosh, how pretty is that antique salad bowl? I love it! And I love this salad!

    • Haha – ain’t that the truth. He’d have been a pretty serious contender in any ice cream eating contest. Thank you so much Natalie! I’m in love with my “new” old salad bowl too. Time for more salads!

  8. Marissa says:

    Well, you’ve pretty much made my dream salad here. TONS of veggies, check. Nuts, check, Cheese, check. Gorgeous!!!

  9. I am so making this salad for dinner tonight, it looks so healthy, nourishing and delicious. And makes such perfect use of beautiful fresh Spring produce!

  10. This salad has my name written all over it! It definitely says, “stay away Greg”, however. Hah!

    I actually looooooooooove salad and I can eat it in any form for many many days. However, I feel your “pain” when it comes to blogging. I’m sure you relate. But as much as I love to eat green stuff and share about it, I get too easily entangled in this whole baking biz. It’s just too addicting and fun, and if I don’t post about baking then it’s like I get ants all over me. :P But yes, eat your greens because there’s no better way to live and feel good physically.

    • Yes! Baking is so much fun (and produces really fun pictures to boot) so it’s hard to get out of the dessert rut. Oddly enough, my savory dishes were my most popular of 2014….so maybe there will be more salads to come in 2015! hehe.

  11. Your third photo down.. I can see on a cookbook cover! After your thesis, please? What a delicious, hearty and beautiful spring salad, Sarah! Thank you for this! The herbed dressing and goat cheese make me melt.. full of flavor and so satisfying! I can’t seem to handle chopsticks… I get all fumbly and frustrated.. then need to drink more wine. I’ll keep practicing. Thank you my dear. Fabulous, beautiful, recipe! (oh, love all the sweets, so keep em’ coming. I’ll look forward to another salad recipe next year! hehe).

    • Wow – what a compliment, Traci! Thank you so much! Talk about cookbooks – YOU need to start working on one…please?;) (Haha – yes, keep practicing with the chopsticks and one day you’ll realize it’s so much easier to eat salad that way.)

  12. This salad is gorgeou! Haha I don’t know anyone that could ever be allergic to this beauty :) Yes to shaved asparagus and to eating salad with chopsticks! Love the bowl too!

  13. I don’t know what I love more- this salad or the fact that your brother is vegan! Great story. Adore these spring greens with the herbed vinaigrette- crunchy, fresh and I’m sure, delicious! xo

  14. Salaaaaad! I love salad. I would eat MORE salad if someone washed all the parts for me. How cool would that be? #businessidea (Some people would hire a daily makeup artist if they won the lottery. I would hire a veggie washer.) (Then a makeup artist.)

  15. Sheri says:

    Having just returned from a week in Costa Rica where I carefully avoided all lettuce, I am so looking forward to eating fresh salad and raw vegetables again! This I’ve to to try, all my favorite things!

  16. Anna says:

    omg this looks amaziing!! and so refreshing :) perfect for a sunny spring day

  17. Sarah, you make the prettiest salads! They are so pretty, I don’t want to eat them. Ahhhhh, who am I kidding? Pass a fork! :-)

  18. What a great looking salad, Sarah!!! Your photos are so beautiful; I love love love them :)
    I can definitely eat this salad daily… OK, weekly <3 <3 <3

    P.S. I love your photos more and more, lady. :)

  19. Alana says:

    I’m on the chopsticks tip too!! Love this salad and seriously love all those gorgeous green ribbons of asparagus. Dream salad right here.

  20. ‘Tangled ribbons of silky shaved asparagus…’ oh this is like salad porn for the green-fetished amongst us.
    I cannot wait to brighten up my lunch box or dinner table with this beautiful greens on greens salad. Without the sawdust at this stage. It counts as extra fiber I suppose?

  21. adina says:

    I love the looks and the ingredients of this salad. I am making this soon, before the asparagus dissapears again.

  22. Me = obsessed with salads right now. This looks like it is right up my alley!

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