spring salad recipe

sugar snap, tatsoi + zucchini rice bowl with sesame oil dressing by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

tatsoi? shiso? never heard of 'em.  that was until i began reading deborah madson's Vegetable Literacy.  before reading (most of) this book/cookbook, i considered myself quite vegetable literate.  but as i began reading i realized how veggie illiterate i was.  most times at the nursery i am able to tell herbs and various vegetables apart by their leaves, or just by being familiar with them over the years.  but deborah's book has really opened my eyes to some amazing lesser known veggies and plants that can be found right at your local farmers' market or whole foods.  beginning at the start of spring i remember seeing tatsoi flowers, and then in the last few weeks, tatsoi greens.  i'm not going to lie, the name intimidated me because i had no idea what they were or where they came from.  after reading the cabbage section in Vegetable Literacy, i learned that tatsoi, a leafy green, is part of the cabbage family, among its family members are: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, just to name a few.  moving on to perilla, or shiso.  shiso, which i had never used, nor seen before, had the most vibrant aroma with herby notes, as well as hints of citrus.  crush it, or chop it, and the fragrance becomes even more intense and peppery.  it was fun broadening my vegetable vocabulary and cooking with ingredients that were out of my comfort zone!


i understand that tatsoi and shiso are hard to find in all parts of the country and world.  so here are a few substitutes.  for the tatsoi: kale, swiss chard, collard greens (if planning on using kale or collards, i would wilt them slightly before eating) .  for the shiso: i would say that basil would make a good substitute, especially if you can get your hands on thai basil, or one that's more peppery and spicy.  and the black rice can be substituted with whichever rice you prefer.  


sugar snap, tatsoi + zucchini rice bowl with sesame oil dressing

| 4 healthy servings


1 cup black rice

 2 handfuls sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half

1 bunch tatsoi (scant 2 cups), stems trimmed

1 small zucchini, washed and sliced thin

1 shallot, roughly chopped

1/3 cup raw cashews, toasted

1 bunch shiso (about 20 leaves), julienned

1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking

fine grain sea salt, to taste   

sesame oil dressing

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon low sodium tamari (gluten and wheat free)

10 shiso leaves, ground (optional) 

fine grain sea salt to taste




make the rice

  • rinse and drain the rice
  • combine the rice with 2 1/2 cups of water
  • bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low - making sure the water is simmering.  cook for about 20-25 minutes depending on your stove
  • set aside

make the dressing

  • in a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar with the salt, and tamari.  taste as you go along, adjusting the seasoning to your preference
  • add the sesame oil, whisk vigorously until the ingredients are combined
  • using a mortar and pestle, grind about 10 shiso leaves until they are bruised and fragrant.  combine with the dressing
  • refrigerate until ready to use

make the vegetables

  • pre heat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with tin foil 
  • using a pastry brush, apply a small amount of oil to each side of the sliced zucchini, and arrange on the baking sheet without overlapping
  • bake for about 15 minutes; until the edges are slightly browned
  • let cool 
  • in a skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat.  cook the shallots until soft - about 3 minutes.  add the snap peas, season with salt, and cook for an additional 7 minutes
  • remove from heat


  • in a large bowl, spoon in the black rice, season with salt - a pinch at a time 
  • top with tatsoi, sauteed snap peas and shallots, zucchini, and toasted cashews
  • a little at a time, drizzle with the sesame dressing, tasting along the way (i had some dressing leftover)
  • lastly, garnish with julienned shiso leaves and give it a toss or two


roasted market salad by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


spring is definitely being felt here in nyc.  the past week we have had temperatures coming close to 60°!  after the winter we've had those temps feel amazing.  this past weekend frank and i were able to relax for a little while at our neighborhood park that overlooks new york harbor and the lovely lady liberty (statue of liberty).  we enjoyed the sun's warmth; frank reading the newspaper, and me trying to soak up as much vitamin d as i possibly could.  it was a couple hours much needed.   just enough to forget the cold days that are behind us, and to remind us of the warmer ones that lie ahead.

most of the farmer's markets here (at least in brooklyn) are year round.  but you notice that as soon as spring hits the vendors are carrying things are actually green! i think i went a little overboard on shoots and sprouts this time.  a vendor had buckets upon buckets of the most beautiful looking little sprouts, i would have bought them all if i could! one of our favorite vendors that we usually see in brooklyn was there (we call him the "potato man" because he's the only person to carry our white yams that we're obsessed with), and he brought with him these awesome spring shallots (pictured above).  alone and raw the shallots are quite tasty, but roasted with some olive oil and salt, and these onions are really good!

the ingredients in the salad were inspired by what i saw at the market; what was fresh, and in season.  i understand that not everyone has a farmer's market in their neighborhood. so if you're wanting to make a roasted vegetable salad, use what looks good to you, or what veggies you like, and go from there.

• for the salad •

1 bunch baby carrots, cut lengthwise

4.5 oz asparagus, rinsed and bottoms trimmed

2 oz spring onions, rinsed and bottoms trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil (for roasting)

2 teaspoons thyme (i used dried, but if you have fresh thyme 3-5 sprigs)

2 teaspoons parsley

large grain sea salt to taste

fresh ground pepper

3.5 oz pea shoots, sprouts, and baby spring greens (likewise, you can use mesclun or any other greens)

• poppy seed vinaigrette  •

2 tablespoons shallot (about 1 shallot), chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons good dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

• directions •

pre heat oven to 400°

line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper

in a mixing bowl, combine the carrots with some of the olive oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. (i don't give a precise amount of each, because it really depends on your preference.) turn out onto the prepared baking sheet and place in oven.  time the carrots for 15 minutes

while the carrots are baking, toss the asparagus in the same mixing bowl with olive oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  after the 15 minutes, place the asparagus onto the baking sheet with the carrots, toss gently - turn timer to 5 minutes

in the mixing bowl, combine the onions with the last of the olive oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  add onions to the baking sheet, toss the vegetables again - return the pan to the oven, lower the temperature to 375° and time for 15 minutes

the vegetables should be lightly browned when ready (you may need to adjust the cook time depending on your oven).  remove from the oven and let cool

while the veggies are cooling, make your dressing (i made the dressing a couple days in advance, so you can totally do this whenever). combine all the dressing ingredients, except the poppy  seeds,  in a small (or large) food processor and blend until the ingredients are combined and smooth.  pour into a container and add the poppy seeds, mix to combine

in a large bowl, combine your greens with some dressing to coat.  add the roasted veggies and drizzle with more dressing.  serve and enjoy