Eating Well: Spring Bitters Salad


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This salad calls for fresh ingredients readily available in early to late spring. Serve the salad before meals to stimulate digestion and help the body process the meal to come.

Dandelion leaves, which have a bitter but pleasant taste, are diuretic, meaning that they help flush toxins from the liver, bladder, and urinary tract; they also are high in potassium. Parsley is diuretic and high in vitamin C. Violet leaves are a source of vitamin A, and detoxifying greens help move waste out of the system. Olive oil is unsaturated, garlic is antibacterial, and sesame is rich in B vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals.

The recipe makes only about 2 tablespoons of dressing, enough to coat the greens without a lot of extra calories. Serves 4.


• 1/2 cup unsprayed young dandelion leaves
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley
• 1/4 cup young violet leaves, if available
• 1/2 cup tips of chives, fennel, mint, ­tarragon
• 4 cups red leaf lettuce

Optional: Up to 1/4 cup each chicory, borage, sorrel, spinach, beet greens, and yarrow (people with kidney problems or allergies and expectant mothers should avoid these greens)


• 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, pressed
• 1 tablespoon minced scallion bulbs
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
• Lemon wedges

1. Clean the greens, then gently tear them into bite-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl.

2. To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil with the garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper. Toss the dressing with the greens, then top with the sesame seeds. Serve with the lemon wedges.

Debbie Whittaker demonstrates her healthy cooking style as the “Herb Gourmet” in Denver, Colorado.

Click here for the main article,  Eating Well: The Herbal Path To Daily Health .