Foraged Spring Salads

Mar 15 / Alberto Carbo
After long dark days, the withering of plants, browning of leaves, and heavy snowfalls (for some), spring begins to germinate, and her palpable energy courses through the land. Leaf buds patiently await their moment to unfurl, roots begin to awaken, and the birds chirp with enthusiasm. It is a feeling unlike any other, one of excitement for life, growth, and diversity.

For us plant folk, this time is sacred, we look forward to it all winter long, and our senses tingle with excitement at the mere thought of sticking our hands in the soil once again. The Earth rewards our patience with an abundance of fresh tender leaves and shoots that would make any professional gardener blush, and one that lends itself perfectly for salads. These flavor-filled green friends are full of nutritious vitamins and minerals, as well as essential oils and stimulating tastes that invigorate the body by stimulating digestion and elimination, aiding us in transitioning from the slow sleepiness of winter, into the vibrance of spring.

As with any culinary endeavor, familiarity with your ingredients is the key to combining flavors and textures into a palatable experience, and it is incredible to see how people react when they try a spring salad made with wild greens. The quality of your ingredients is equally important. Make sure to gather the young tender and succulent growths - that they are vibrant and perky, and that you are using the edible portions of the plant.

Below are some of my favorite plants to use for salads, broken down into different taste categories. I usually use the mild plants as the bulk of my salad and contrast with sours, bitters, pungents, and aromatics. Feel free to combine them in whatever ratios you desire!

Below you can find some of my other foraged spring recipes for one of my favorite salad toppers and infused vinegars.

You can also learn about "Tasting and Sensing Herbs" with Lori Rose, PhD in the free introductory class to the Herbal Medicine Making Course. Lori did some additional classes on specific plants two of which are linked below.

Foraged Spring Salad

  • Chickweed: leaf, tender stem, flower
  • Mallow: long-stalked leaves, flower
  • Violet: leaf, tender stems, flower
  • Red clover: leaves, flower
  • Lamb’s quarters: seedling, tender new leaf
  • Purslane: Leaf, stem, flower
  • Sweet cicely: leaf, tender stalk, flower


  • Egyptian Onion: Root bulbs (early spring/late fall), mature new bulbs (summer), shoots, leaves, flower
  • Scapes/wild garlic: leaves (bulbs as well, but these are becoming over-harvested, so it’s best to just use leaves)
  • Mustard: Seedling, basal & aerial leaf, tender stalk, flower, seed


  • Peppermint: leaf and flower
  • Spearmint: leaf and flower
  • Wild bergamot: leaf and flower
  • Bee balm: leaf, tender stalk (pre-flowering), flower
  • Anise hyssop: leaf and flower
  • Lemon balm: leaf and flower


  • Wild lettuce: basal and aerial leaf, tender stem, flower
  • Dandelion: young leaf, flower, flower bud
  • Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea): Leaf, tender stem, flower


  • Yellow doc: Tender new basal and aerial leaves, peeled flower stalk
  • Wood sorrel: Leaf, tender stem, green seedpod, flower
  • Sheep Sorrel: Leaf, tender stem, bud and flower
As always make sure to forage for plants away from roads and pollution as much as possible. Never overharvest any plant, as they are of course not only here for our enjoyment, but also here for the insects, bees, and birds. Have fun out there!
The information provided in this digital content is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. Matthew Wood, the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism, ETS Productions, and their employees, guests, and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.