Sunflower Shoot Salads

For the past few weeks, I’ve been practically living on salads – one of the many perks of working on a small organic farm and vineyard that specializes in microgreens and shoots.

Microgreens (such as arugula and radish) and shoots (like pea and sunflower) spend only a week or two in the soil. They are harvested at the stage in between sprouts and baby greens, after the plant has established its roots and developed its “seed leaves” but before the plant has developed its “true leaves.”

Although I’d sampled microgreens and pea shoots at restaurants before I started working on the farm, I’d never tasted sunflower shoots. They’re crisp, mildly nutty, and a nutritional super food.

Look for sunflower shoots at your local farmers market (many producers grow them indoors year round) or grow your own at home.

Because sunflower shoots are pretty crunchy, they pair best with something creamy. Here are some topping ideas for a sunflower shoot salad:

  • Goat cheese + lemon vinaigrette (Blend 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon warm water, the zest of one lemon, salt, and black pepper.)
  • Cannellini beans + creamy vinaigrette (Blend 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of soft tofu, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 chopped shallot, salt, and black pepper.)
  • Avocado vinaigrette: Blend 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/2 of an avocado, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, salt, and black pepper.
  • Yogurt sauce: Blend 1 cup yogurt, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Thin with olive oil and lemon juice. (Variation – Nutty yogurt sauce: Whisk in up to 1/4 cup of your favorite nut butter to the yogurt mixture. Thin with olive oil, rice vinegar, and honey.)

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Image courtesy of ne* via a Creative Commons license.

Kits make growing microgreens easy

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