Forage: How to source edible weeds from your lawn and turn them into an impressive autumnal salad
Chef Shawn Adler shows us how to create something beautiful out of the plants we consider pests
Anishinaabe chef Shawn Adler has been harvesting wild edibles since his mother first showed him how as a child. In each episode of Forage, he teaches us how to source in-season ingredients from our own backyards and sustainably forage them, before turning them into a delicious dish we can make and devour in our own kitchens.
You’ve probably picked at least a few pesky weeds from your yard this season, but did any of them make their way into your salad bowl? If not, this foraging tutorial from chef Shawn Adler could change all that. “Most people spray their lawn for weeds, I make dinner out of [them],” he tells us. In fact, as Adler explains, edible greens like dandelion leaves, narrow-leaf plantain and watercress are hiding in plain sight in backyards all across Canada — and they’re a perfect alternative to that box of spring mix sitting in your fridge. Check out the video below to learn how to safely and sustainably source these weeds from your own property, then scroll down for a recipe that’ll turn them into an impressive autumnal salad.
Note: When collecting your lawn greens, ensure you are collecting from a location that has not been sprayed for pesticides. Types of greens may include dandelion greens, narrow leaf plantain and watercress.
Lawn Weed Salad
By Shawn Adler
- 2 cups mixed lawns greens (a store-bought alternative would be baby arugula)
- ¼ cup parsnip, peeled and julienned
- ¼ cup carrot, peeled and julienned
- ¼ cup golden beets, peeled and julienned
- ¼ cup red beets, peeled and julienned
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Roasted pumpkin puree
- Goat cheese, crumbled
- Walnuts, toasted
Thoroughly rinse your lawn greens in cold water to remove any dirt. Pat dry with a paper towel and place in a large bowl.
Prepare your root vegetables by first peeling them and then finely julienning. A mandoline is a great tool for this process. Add the vegetables to the bowl of greens.
In a small jar, combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Screw on the lid and shake until blended. Pour a few glugs of the dressing over the greens and give it a toss.
Spoon a dollop of pumpkin puree onto each plate and, using the back of a spoon, swipe across the plate to create a design. Place some of the dressed salad overtop and garnish with crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and any remaining julienned beets and parsnips.