This arugula salad recipe has it all - it is delicious, nutritious and effortless! No need to settle for a boring salad it is ready in less than 10 minutes, it features peppery arugula, sweet pumpkin flowers and crunchy pistachios all packing a nutritional punch that you can pair with anything.
You may be thinking what on earth possessed me to add pumpkin flowers to a salad! To be honest, it was purely by accident, I found myself absent-mindedly munching on them while I was stuffing them (a Cretan delicacy) I just loved the taste so much and immediately thought they would work well in a salad and how right I was.
Raw pumpkin flowers have a gentle sweet yet slightly earthy taste, pairing well with the peppery rocket, crunchy pistachios and simple lemon olive oil dressing in this salad.
With such simple flavours this salad pairs well with almost everything, it is such a pretty salad that you could serve it at your next dinner party to impress your guests.
We had it with Mum’s stuffed calamari with tall glasses of iced ouzo. But we have also served it at a special dinner that we paired with a whole roasted snapper recipe by Neil Perry.
So where do I find flowers for my arugula salad recipe?
We are lucky enough to have a neighbour with an endless supply during the summer months, but you may be able to find them at a farmers market or some greengrocers, otherwise, zucchini or squash flowers are a great alternative as they are all closely related cucurbits.
What else can I do with the flowers?
If you are wondering what else you can do with your pretty little blossoms, you could...
- Roll them in pancake batter and fry them just like you would your pancakes then serve them with fresh berries, maple syrup, whipped ricotta or fresh cream as a sweet treat.
- Stuff them with rice or ricotta and goats cheese as a great starter or light lunch.
- Snack on them raw, they are low cal and delicious!
How to prepare your flowers
First of all, make sure that you choose flowers that are brightly coloured with no shrivelling or wilting.
- Use kitchen scissor to cut off the stem, then gently remove any spiny leaves around the blossom as they can sting.
- Gently open up the blossom and cut off the pistil with your kitchen scissors or you can gently reach into the flower to remove the pistil and stamen. The flower is very delicate, so take care not to break it.
- As these delicate blossoms tend to close up soon after picking we keep them, one inside the other and stack them. We then wrap them in paper towels so that they stay fresher for longer and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.
It is very difficult to stuff them once the flowers have closed up.
How to make this arugula salad recipe
1Prep your veg
Wash your rocket, remove any damaged or wilted leaves, then either pat dry or spin dry in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
Remove the papery skin from your French shallot (eschalot) and cut into fine dice.
Gently cut your flowers into strips with a small sharp knife.
2Make your vinaigrette
Add the lemon juice and olive oil in a glass jar, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper then shake until emulsified.
3Assemble your salad
Place all your ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss gently to combine.
Arrange the salad in a salad bowl, then scatter the extra crushed pistachios on top to garnish.
Pour the dressing in a small jug to serve on the side.
Serve your salad and pour the dressing on top and toss just before eating.
Some tips for your arugula salad recipe
- Make sure that you store your flowers one inside the other otherwise they will close up quickly and won’t look as attractive.
- Assemble your salad and leave the dressing in a separate container to add to at the last minute at the dinner table. This is a delicate salad that should be eaten soon after you make it.
To meal prep this salad for your lunches
- For meal prep, make up the salad and put it in a container with the dressing on the side to add to at the last minute.
- I would prepare this salad the day before eating and not any longer than that, the flowers are just too delicate.
- For additional protein, you can add pretty much anything that takes your fancy, from meatballs to grilled chicken, pulled pork, flaked salmon, baked ricotta, crumbed and fried tofu all work really well.
If you are keen to try more cucurbit flower recipes then try our:
- Salad Spinner
- 120 grams wild rocket (arugula) (approximatel 3 cups)
- 8 zucchini flowers
- 1 small French shallot
- ¼ cup pistachios, crushed
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsps lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 2 tbsps pistachios (crushed)
- Wash your arugula (rocket) and pat dry. Trim your eschalot and cut into a fine dice.
- Prepare your zucchini flowers by cutting off the stem, any outer green leaves and inner pistil and stamen with kitchen scissors.
- Take care not to tear the blossoms and place them one inside the other so that they stay open for longer.
- Gently cut your flowers into strips with a small sharp knife. Then place everything in a large mixing bowl with the crushed pistachios.
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil in a glass jar and shake until emulsified.
- Place the rocket, zucchini flowers, eschaots and the pistachios in a mixing bowl and toss gently to combine.
- Arrange the salad in a salad bowl, then scatter the extra crushed pistachios on top to garnish.Pour the dressing into a small jug to serve on the side.
- Serve your salad and pour the dressing on top and toss just before eating.