Shaved Spring Vegetable Salad


My mom, the cook in our house growing up, was always good with vegetables. But her repertoire was limited, consisting of steamed vegetables topped with pats of butter, green salads with dressing she’d shake up using a Good Seasons Italian Dressing packet, and roasted potatoes.

Today, the methods for preparing vegetables has expanded far beyond what I grew up eating. One of my favorite ways to give vegetables the love they deserve is in simple shaved salads.

In this recipe, I use thinly sliced carrots, fennel, radish, and asparagus, then toss the vegetables in a light citrus honey dressing, and finish it with a little Parmesan cheese. The result is a crisp, fresh salad that’s perfect as a light main dish or a healthy side.

If you don’t have one of the vegetables listed, just swap it for something else. This salad is incredibly flexible!

WHAT IS A SHAVED VEGETABLE SALAD?

Shaved salads start with raw vegetables that you cut into paper thin slices and toss with a flavorful dressing. I usually rely on my Japanese mandolin, which makes quick work of slicing vegetables.

This Benriner mandolin is pretty affordable and has served me well for more than 20 years. You can also use a sharp chef’s knife or a food processor fitted with a slicer blade, though the slices may not be as tidy and uniform as with a mandolin.

Once the vegetables are shaved, all that’s needed is a good dressing and any garnishes you like. A variety of herbs, such as mint, chives, basil, and parsley work well in this type of salad, along with nuts, seeds, and crumbled soft or shaved hard cheeses.

WHICH VEGETABLES ARE BEST FOR SHAVED SALADS?

What’s appealing about shaved salads is that they work any time of year, depending on what’s in season. They’re best made with vegetables that are firm enough to cut very thin and still hold up well once dressed (no soggy salads allowed!).

In spring, asparagus is an obvious choice. Zucchini is ideal for summer. Root vegetables, such as kohlrabi, radishes, carrots, celery, and fennel are perfect any time of year. Even the likes of raw beets and winter squash work when shaved thin enough.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DRESS A SHAVED SALAD?

Like any green salad, shaved salads are ideally dressed close to the time you plan to serve them. They benefit from a dressing with plenty of acidity.

You can keep it simple and add a generous squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil, or make a vinaigrette using citrus fruits or vinegar for that hit of acid. Start by piling all the shaved vegetables in a bowl, add the dressing—using less than you think you’ll need—and toss well.

Taste and add more dressing, salt, pepper, or herbs, if needed. I prefer to serve shaved salads on a plate or platter rather than in a bowl, to really show off those vibrant colors.

SUGGESTIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

The variations on this shaved salad are literally endless. Here are a handful of suggestions:

  • Tinker with the ratio of vegetables. Are you crazy about asparagus? Use more and leave out the carrot, radishes, or fennel.
  • Try a different combination of vegetables entirely. Kohlrabi, celery, and daikon radish is a crisp, refreshing trio.
  • Use favorite nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts, or slivered almonds.
  • Use different cheese, such as pecorino, dry jack, or crumbled goat or feta.
  • Add minced chives or parsley to the mix.
  • Add dried fruits, such as tart cherries or slivers of pitted Medjool dates.

CAN YOU MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?

What’s nice about this and so many other shaved salads is that you can do much of the work ahead of time.

Shave all the vegetables and pile them into a bowl. Chop the mint. Cover and store both in the refrigerator. Whisk together the dressing and set aside. Just before serving, toss it all together, add the shaved Parmesan, and finish with chopped walnuts.

HOW TO TURN SHAVED SALAD INTO DINNER

This salad is on the light side but can easily be turned into a center-of-the-plate lunch or dinner by adding a protein-rich food. Grill or broil chicken breasts, hard boil eggs and slice in half, or cook a lightly seasoned piece of fish such as salmon, and you have a really nourishing supper.

Leftovers can be packed up and carried to work for lunch the next day. The salad won’t be quite as crisp as when it’s freshly made, but it will still be plenty tasty.

MORE GREAT SALAD RECIPES

  • Lentil Salad with Summer Vegetables
  • Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto
  • Shrimp Cobb Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing
  • Mixed Green Salad with Honey Mustard, Eggs, and Toast
  • Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Preparation

Step 1

Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add mint and finely grate lemon zest over. Cut lemons in half squeeze juice into bowl. Drizzle in oil and vinegar season salad with lots of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Step 2

Do Ahead: Vegetables can be shaved 6 hours ahead. Submerge in a bowl of ice water and chill. Drain and pat dry before using.

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Michelle Tran / EyeEm / Getty Images

Chopped salads are all the rage, and for good reason. Dicing up the components into similar-sized pieces results in more effective distribution than a traditional tossed salad. This easy, versatile salad uses spring vegetables like radishes, early cucumbers, and any kind of lettuce that shows up at your farmer's market first. Ham and cheese provide a salty element and a hit of protein. Feel free to customize this dish with any vegetables and mix-ins you like best.


Shaved Root Vegetable Salad

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients US Metric

  • For the shaved root vegetables
  • 1 bunch radishes, peeled
  • 2 bunches baby carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch yellow or red beets, peeled
  • 4 baby pattypan squash (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the shallot vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • For the shaved root vegetable salad assembly
  • 3 thin slices pancetta
  • 2 cups peppery greens, such as arugula
  • 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan

Directions

Using a mandoline, handheld slicer, or vegetable peeler, thinly slice the radishes, carrots, yellow beets, and pattypans, if using, into a bowl. If using red beets, shave them into a separate bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, stir together the shallots, mustard, and lemon juice. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the pancetta until crisp, turning as needed, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Finely chop.

On a serving platter, arrange the greens. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette.

Add some of the vinaigrette to the vegetables, including the red beets, and toss to coat.

Arrange the root vegetables on the greens. Sprinkle the pancetta over the salad and finish with shaved cheese.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOW TO SWAP IN OTHER ROOT VEGETABLES

Feel free to swap in whatever root vegetables you might have in your fridge. Fennel, kohlrabi, parsnips, and the increasingly popular (and common) Japanese white turnips are all welcome here.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Helen Doberstein

Refreshing is the term I'd use to describe this salad. The family loved it.

I used 2 kohlrabi, 2 golden beets, 2 candy stripe beets, 1 small fennel bulb, 4 small radishes, and 2 medium carrots. I used a mandoline to thinly slice each of the vegetables after peeling, and a spinach and arugula mix for the greens. The vinaigrette is simple to pull together.

It served more than 4 as we got 6 generous servings out of it. Even better that there’s more to enjoy.

Anna Scott

We had gotten a bag of lovely baby beets from our CSA this week so I was drawn to this shaved vegetable salad! The flavor combination of the crisp bacon, the freshly shaved vegetables, along with the salty taste from the Pecorino Romano cheese was out of this world. I loved the tang of the vinaigrette as well. This was an impressive salad in terms of presentation and overall taste!

The other vegetables I used in the salad included turnip, fennel, watermelon radishes, and carrots, which I shaved very thinly with my mandoline. I did not have the baby variety of any of the vegetables, but I think the ones I used were mighty tasty. This colorful salad was delicious and very healthy. I served it over arugula and actually cooked bacon instead of pancetta, just because I already had some bacon at home. (I actually put it on a baking sheet and baked the bacon. Less cleanup this way!)

I would like to try this salad again, maybe with goat cheese instead of Parmesan or Pecorino?

Karen Lynch

Salads usually are a side at a meal and are mostly ho hum. They don't spark a part of our dinner conversation.

But this dinner salad made with root vegetables placed on top of the usual salad greens? The first thing my family noted was how colorful it looked and how the root vegetables were abundant. Fragrant whiffs came from the dressing and were complemented by the cheese.

Everything was available in our store except for the pattypan squash, rather than omit I decided to use a different summer squash, zucchini. I loved the addition of the pancetta for its salty quality and want to make with the other Italian favorite prosciutto.

Shave or cut your vegetables very thin and enjoy all the flavors this salad offers for a winter vegetable salad.

Gail Rueckl

I'm always looking for new ideas for salads and thought this recipe sounded very simple and good. It was a very lovely salad and VERY BEAUTIFUL when plated. This is surely a keeper.

I used carrots, kohlrabi, and red beets. I would have loved to use white turnips, however, for some reason the store was out of them.
The shallot vinaigrette was very good. The fresh parsley gave the dressing some nice color. I fried the pancetta in a small saucepan (no need to dirty a large fry pan). Burns fast so I stayed by the stove until it was done.

I plated the salad with a mix of organic baby spring greens, topped with vegetables, and finished with shaved Parm and the bits of crisp pancetta. Loved the crispy and salty pancetta with the salad.

Lila Ferrari

This is a nice change from the standard green salad and one that works well now that it’s winter. My testers really liked the sweet vegetable taste combination with the salty pancetta and Parmesan and peppery greens. The shallot and mustard in the dressing gave the salad another layer to savor. The beets just livened it up with their red strips. Visually the salad was very pretty and interesting looking.

The only negative is using the vegetable peeler. I couldn't find my mandoline so peeling by hand took forever. I think the large holes of a grater would work just as well. This is not a last-minute salad--you should get the vegetables and pancetta done ahead of time. But we felt it was well worth the work.

Sita Krishnaswamy

I loved the layers of texture, flavours (the salty and sweet) and the pepperiness of the mustard vinaigrette complements the greens beautifully. A well executed salad. It is definitely a pleasant change from the usual salads.

Robert McCune

What a delightful winter salad! Our good friend has been digging what is left of his root vegetables and he had a bumper crop. Needless to say, I didn't refuse his offer of 2 large bags of yellow, red, and orange carrots as well as turnips and beets.

I already had on hand just the right amount of pancetta and the greens so this seemed like a natural to make. I used the above mentioned vegetables and did shave a little bit of Korean radish to add some more zip. I didn't use the squash.

The vinaigrette is wonderful. Something about adding shallot that just gives it a little boost. That, along with the pancetta and cheese made these veggies sing! Can't wait to try this with fennel or kohlrabi.

Elizabeth and Lena Alvarez

This is a stunningly beautiful salad, a rainbow of a presentation, delicious and satisfying. We used a mandoline to slice fennel, carrots, turnips, and beets.

We started by putting the pancetta on to fry over low heat for about 15 minutes while we prepared the vegetables. Just as described, everything came together in 25 minutes. Served the salad with an excellent bread and fine cheese from Spain. We are super glad that we made this dish and the whole family loved it.

Sofia Reino

This recipe was a definite YES. Extremely easy to make and even faster than it says if you shave the vegetables in a food processor.

Apart from looking like an absolutely gorgeous salad with vibrant colors, the taste was simply magnificent. The crunchiness of the vegetables, the dressing, everything about this recipe is a winner. Also, it tastes just as good without the cheese in case you do not want to add it.

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Be choosy when picking your produce, and look for a new-harvest olive oil for this, which will lend a bright, robust flavor.

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SUGGESTIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

The variations on this shaved salad are literally endless. Here are a handful of suggestions:

  • Tinker with the ratio of vegetables. Are you crazy about asparagus? Use more and leave out the carrot, radishes, or fennel.
  • Try a different combination of vegetables entirely. Kohlrabi, celery, and daikon radish is a crisp, refreshing trio.
  • Use favorite nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts, or slivered almonds.
  • Use different cheese, such as pecorino, dry jack, or crumbled goat or feta.
  • Add minced chives or parsley to the mix.
  • Add dried fruits, such as tart cherries or slivers of pitted Medjool dates.

For the Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette:

In a small sauce pan, add the honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from the heat. All to cool slightly before placing in a blender. On medium speed, blend the mixture while slowly drizzling in the oil until the mixture is completely emulsified.

For the Spring Vegetable Salad:

In a large pot, heat 3 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt over high heat. Once boiling, blanch the English peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas and asparagus tip for 30 seconds and immediately transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water. Drain the vegetables and dry on them paper towels.

In a large bowl, add the blanched green vegetable mixture, tomatoes, radishes, shallots, chives, 1/4 cup of the Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Optional: garnish with the edible flowers.


Reviews

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Shaved Spring Vegetable Salad

Asparagus, fennel, radishes and onions are some of the ingredients in this fresh spring salad with a Middle Eastern twist.

Ingredients

  • bunch of asparagus
  • 2 bulbs fennel, reserve leafy tops and chop
  • 1 puntarelle, if available
  • bunch of radishes, with leaves if possible, washed then torn
  • 2 spring onions, washed and sliced
  • 2 red onions
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of sumac
  • 60-100 ml red wine vinegar
  • splash of olive oil

Method

Start by slicing the red onions with the mandolin, or very finely with a knife.

In a bowl, mix the sliced onions, sugar, salt, sumac, allspice and vinegar – scrunch the onions between your fingers to thoroughly combine all the ingredients and set aside for at least one hour to macerate.

Next, using the mandolin, or peeler, slice all the vegetables into strips.

Toss the vegetable strips with the red onion mixture, spring onions, fennel tops, olive oil and radish leaves. Adjust seasoning to taste. Pile on a plate.

Additonal notes

Recipe by Field Kitchen head chef, James Dodd.

“This is an adaptation of a dish I used to make when I worked for Mark Hix. It uses a Japanese mandolin to thinly slice the vegetables – an effect which is almost impossible to achieve with a knife using a peeler to peel strips will create a similar effect. The original dish is a little simpler and contains only fennel, asparagus and dressing but I have given it a bit more a Middle Eastern twist.”

The Riverford Field Kitchen is an award-winning organic restaurant where diners can expect a feast of freshly-picked seasonal produce straight from the fields. The Field Kitchen is completely meat free on Mondays and works creatively with the seasons so the menu changes daily. Riverford recently launched a campaign called How Much Meat, inspiring debate about how much meat should be consumed to ensure the best for the environment and our health.


Reviews

I sliced everything paper thin in a mandoline. Then I blanched the beets, turnips and carrots for about three minutes in salted water. This preserved the crunchy texture but gave them a little tenderness. As others have suggested, handle the beets separately because the colors will run. This is a nice salad that has endless variations such as using bleu cheese and toasted walnuts, adding apples, serving on a bed of greens such as kale, arugula or wilted spinach.

Beautiful presentation and the orange flavor worked perfect with the earthiness of the root vegetables. Vegetables must be VERY thinly sliced.

The mandolin made this very easy and beautiful. Paper thin slices obviated the need to cook anything. I used a variety of beets, radishes and some turnips. Stunningly beautiful. I will make it again this year and will switch out the orange juice for a champagne vinaigrette.

I'm gonna be harsh. you can go through my other reviews and see that I almost only ever say nice things about recipes I liked. This one, though. hurm. It got 50% outright "no way" votes at my dinner party of ten. It looks beautiful, but a pile of raw root veggies is a bit overpowering, and I'm not sure this would ever balance very well. I personally found it okay, but I felt there were things I could have done with the ingredients that would have unleashed so much more potential than this recipe, so for that I give it a D-minus.

Served this over arugula with cilantro instead of parsley so it would go with my Southwest themed Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone loved it.

To A Cook - I agree, a vinaigrette would be better perhaps the orange juice keeps the shaved roots from darkening. In which case, I would quickly pop all of them except the beets, which won't need it, into a bowl of cold lemon water (a few T fresh lemon juice in as much water as it takes to cover). Also, I might sprinkle fresh lemon juice just before I add the vinaigrette and toss. I might also julienne a few of the veggies for variety w/ thin slices. Yum?!

I have not tried this salad yet but I am eager to do so. In response to A Cook, yes you can eat beets raw. I have had them at salad bars raw. They were cut julienne-style.

ok. sorry. not a review. a question. is it intended that the beats and turnips are sliced raw? i've never heard of using raw beets before, so i feel a need to be sure.

Really delicious salad - of course I made a few changes. I used roasted/chilled beets and simplified the dressing, leaving out the hazelnuts. The sweet/spice balance was perfect and colors looked amazing on a white platter.

so pretty. I did it with the slicer on my food processor, so it went quickly. I am making it in the morning to serve at night and I am wondering if I should put the dressing on right away and let it sit, hoped someone would have an answer.. I will do as the acid might keep the colour from turning..

The combo of veggies is delicious and looks great. It made good lunch leftovers, but as a side I think it needed a different dressing - the orange juice predictably over-ran the veggies. Some kind of vinegarette might be better. Also I'm no chef but it took me way longer than 20 minutes to slice all those pieces.


Shaved Spring Vegetable Salad - Recipes

For cooking the beans: If you soak them overnight, the beans will rehydrate, shortening their cooking time. If you forget to soak the beans, or just can’t be bothered, cook straight from dried. They will take a touch longer, but everything else will be the same.

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil until smoking hot. Add the chili flakes, paprika and cumin. Fry briefly to enliven the flavor. Add the beans and enough water to cover them by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the beans until tender. There should be plenty of water in the pot at all times add more water as needed to keep the beans covered.

After the beans are tender, add ½ teaspoon salt, stir and let stand. The beans will absorb the flavor of the spices and the salt as they cool.

Shave the asparagus and the carrots into long, thin pieces. Combine the vegetables, herbs, ½ teaspoon salt, olive oil, lime zest and juice to make the salad. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid for a soup later. Warm the beans on the stove top at low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, top with the vegetable salad and serve.


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