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Grow a Salad Garden

Greens are one of the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow in containers. They sprout almost daily—simply pluck the outside leaves you need and find more awaiting you tomorrow. Read on to see what's sprouting in our salad garden. 

Meet Our Growers Jay and Graham Yelton live near Cooking Light headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. These avid gardeners oversee a yard that's packed with containers of delicious plants and stylish spaces for outdoor entertaining. "We have a passion for eating organic, plant-based diets whenever possible," Graham says. This year, the Cooking Light Garden celebrates the joy and ease of growing themed containers. We enlisted the Yeltons' help to make our plans a beautiful reality, then brought their bounty back to our kitchen to create simple, straightforward recipes that will put your crop to delicious use. Grow, harvest, and cook along with us.

  • Arugula Yields edible leaves quickly. Harvest leaves from the outside of the plant. The flavor gets stronger as the plant grows, so consider replanting throughout spring.
  • Spinach Plant about a month before final frost; leaves should grow quickly. Likes a sunny spot.
  • Radishes Pick a sunny spot for planting in well-drained soil; water consistently.
  • Turnips To yield top results from your crop, sprinkle soil with coffee grounds soon after planting.
  • Microgreens (Tatsoi) These little ones need about four hours of direct sun a day. They're a great option for windowsill gardening, especially if you are located in a colder container climate or don't have much outdoor space.
  • Pea Shoots Plant in organic soil that's rich in micronutrients. Water when top of soil feels dry.

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing Hands-on: 10 min. Total: 10 min. This light but rich dressing meets at the happy place between Caesar and ranch. 

1.5 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated and divided (about 6 tablespoons) 1/3 cup canola mayonnaise 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 cups baby spinach leaves 4 cups baby arugula leaves 3/4 cup matchstick-cut or shredded turnip, divided

  1. Combine half of cheese and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Add spinach, arugula, and half of turnip Toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and turnip.
SERVES 6 (serving size: about 1 cup) CALORIES 77; FAT 5.4g (sat 1.2g, mono 2.7g, poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 3g; CARB 3g; FIBER 1g; SUGARS 1g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 6mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 252mg; CALC 107mg

Pea Shoot Salad Hands-on: 10 min. Total: 15 min. Pea shoots offer the crunch of a salad green with the springy sweetness of green peas. They take wonderfully to Asian seasonings like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ginger. Grating garlic accentuates its pungency. 

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger 1 teaspoon grated garlic 8 cups pea shoots 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber 1 cup very thinly sliced radishes 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and divided

  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pea shoots, cucumber, radishes, and half of almonds; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.
SERVES 6 (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups) CALORIES 126; FAT 10.8g (sat 1.3g, mono 5.1g, poly 3.9g); PROTEIN 3g; CARB 6g; FIBER 2g; SUGARS 3g (est. added sugars 1g); CHOL 0mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 194mg; CALC 75mg

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