This is now my third spring with the garden at our house in Nashville, and I still maintain that this time of year is my favorite for the garden. It’s in late spring that the root vegetables and lettuces start becoming harvest ready, and the other heat-loving vegetables are small and full of potential.
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It took me some time to realize that Nashville was too hot to reliably grow lettuce and greens into the summer months, so I really relish these spring harvests. We have more lettuce than we know what to do with right now, so salads have been on the recipe docket on repeat.
If you’re like me, you get tired of the same old salad over and over again. And my go-to salad always consists of lettuce, tomatoes, maybe some cucumber, and some sort of balsamic vinaigrette. It’s familiar and easy, but sometimes I want something different.
So instead of my normal garden salad go-to, I dressed up this salad with a tangy and nutty sesame miso vinaigrette. Spicy sliced radishes and crisp crunchy sugar snap peas just seemed to go well. A healthy sprinkling of sesame seeds at the end make the salad pop and add some pleasant texture.
Garden Salad Fixings
Radishes are underrated. And WAY more varied than our grocery store shelves would have you believe. Before I visiting Europe, my experience with radishes was limited to the spicy, red produce department varieties. These radishes are good – don’t get me wrong – but there’s more to be discovered.
In fact, I’m growing four different radish varieties in my garden right now. For this recipe, I used French Breakfast Radishes and Watermelon Radishes both of which are garden favorites and so beautiful.
Did you know radish greens are edible too?! One they get mature, the leaves can get a little fuzzy but when you dunk them in some of the sesame miso vinaigrette, you really don’t get that texture at all. They have a mild spiciness that’s similar to radishes themselves. I used radish greens for this recipe in addition to my regular salad greens!
After greens and radishes, the only thing left aside from the dressing in this garden salad is the sugar snap peas. I love sugar snap peas blanched whole, but there’s something a little extra about thinly slicing them after you blanch them that I really like. It gives a totally different texture to a super familiar vegetable.
How to Make Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
The savory nuttiness in this sesame miso vinaigrette comes from good sesame oil, and it’s a non-negotiable in this recipe. Sesame oil can be overpowering, especially in a vinaigrette, but it’s thinned out with some water and then balanced with the tang of white miso.
You might also hear white miso referred to as “sweet” miso – it’s milder in flavor and generally less salty than the traditional red or dark miso we’re used to seeing in grocery stores in the US.
P.S. Miso is a flavorful paste used commonly in Asian cuisine that’s made using fermented soybeans and some sort of grain (depending on the strength of the miso). Here’s a good Bon Appetit Miso article if you’re interested in more info.
If you’re not on the miso train already, you should be. It’s a great way to add lots of flavor to all kinds of recipes – this sesame miso vinaigrette is just one of them. It takes the place of dijon mustard in this vinaigrette, both as an emulsifier and in terms of tangy/salty flavor.
I’ll step down from my miso soapbox now. But just trust me you need to be using this ingredient.
After you mix up the sesame miso vinaigrette, all you need to do is toss with the salad greens, radishes, and blanched sugar snap peas then top with lots of sesame seeds and fresh chives.
Garden Salad with Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
This fresh salad makes all the best of a late spring garden, and the sesame miso vinaigrette is a nutty topping that everyone can whip up!
Fresh Garden Salad
- 2 cups sliced sliced assorted radishes
- 8 cups torn salad greens
- 8 oz sugar snap peas blanched then sliced
- 8 tbsp Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
Sesame Miso Vinaigrette
- 2 ½ tbsp white or sweet miso
- 2 tbsp unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp neutral oil like avocado oil
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
Start preparing the salad by blanching the sugar snap peas and slicing the radishes. After the sugar snap peas are blanched, slice them thinly on the bias
Wash, rinse, and tear the salad greens and add to a large mixing bowl.
Mix the miso paste, rice wine vinegar, and sugar together in a small mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the sesame oil and neutral oil to emulsify. Add the water, whisking continuously to thin the dressing. Season with kosher salt to taste and set aside.
Toss the greens, radishes, and sugar snap peas with the sesame miso vinaigrette. Spread over a serving platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives.