Petunia Bowl Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Posted May 15, 2014 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 2 Comments


Oddly enough, the petunia bowl is practically a character in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s one of the book’s most iconic story elements, second only to the towel. And no wonder! Who can forget that fateful bowl of petunias plummeting through space, consumed by only one thought: “Oh no, not again”?

I’m sure leaving the petunia bowl out of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy menu is a crime punishable by Vogon poetry, but incorporating flowers into food can be tricky. Petunia bowl cupcakes came to mind, but I really really REALLY wanted to use actual flowers (plus, I already have something exciting in mind for dessert). Then the idea fell from the sky: edible flower salad!

The resulting side dish was both colorful and flavorful, not to mention fun to assemble. I used a spinach and fruit base, but you can use whatever you want—have fun with it! And since certain varieties of petunia are poisonous, I used other varieties of edible flower instead (namely violets, pansies, and strawberry blossoms). I even threw in a little purple basil!  Of course, any salad is incomplete without dressing, so I made a delicious, easy poppy seed dressing that I found on the Taste of Home website.

NOTE: For your flowers, you’ll want to avoid using plants you bought in a store. Even if the species is edible, many store-bought flowers are sprayed with pesticides (and therefore not safe to eat). The best way to be sure of a “safe” plant is to select one you’ve grown yourself without using sprays of any kind (or you can get some from a friend whom you know does not spray).  The edible flowers from organic greenhouses and all-natural grocery stores can be safe, but always ask someone who works there to be sure.

Petunia Bowl Salad

“The two thermonuclear missiles had turned into a very surprised looking whale and a bowl of petunias…curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias was ‘Oh no, not again!’ Many people have speculated that if we knew WHY the bowl of petunias had thought that, we would know a lot more about the universe than we do now. ”
— The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

INGREDIENTS:

hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy-petunia-bowl-salad-sd-2078

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • at least 3 flowering plants
  • For the dressing: 1/3 cup white vinegar, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp dried minced onions, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground mustard, 1 cup canola oil, 5 tsp poppy seeds
  • Makes 4 servings

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 3-5 minutes.
  2. While your almonds are busy toasting, rinse the spinach and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss the spinach, toasted almonds, blueberries, golden raisins, and feta together in a large bowl.

    I shredded a few purple basil leaves into the mix as well, but if you go that route, tread lightly. A little basil goes a long way!
  3. Snip several blossoms from the plants you intend to use and toss them in the bowl with the rest of the salad components. I used violets, pansies, and strawberry blossoms. With these flowers, the entire blossom is edible, but the petals are the flavorful part. I chose to keep the blossoms whole to better achieve the look of a flower pot, but if you want, you can just use the petals!

    Of course, the kinds of flowers you use will vary depending on seasonal availability. A great comprehensive list of edible flowers can be found here.
  4. For the dressing, combine the vinegar, sugar, onions, salt, and dried mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. Then add the canola oil about a 1/2 cup at a time, blending well after each addition. When it’s all blended and beautiful, stir in the poppy seeds for the final touch.

    It will be a mite thicker than store-bought dressing but much more delicious. 🙂
  5. Serve the flower salad in food safe glazed ceramic pots, with a little cup of dressing on the side. If you want, you can arrange one or two extra blossoms on top, to really showcase the flowers.
  6. Enjoy while reading about the famous petunia bowl from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! 🙂

 

 

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Here’s the Yummly printable!

Petunia Bowl Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • at least 3 flowering plants
  • For the dressing: 1/3 cup white vinegar, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp dried minced onions, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground mustard, 1 cup canola oil, 5 tsp poppy seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 3-5 minutes.
  2. While your almonds are busy toasting, rinse the spinach and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss the spinach, toasted almonds, blueberries, golden raisins, and feta together in a large bowl.
  3. Snip several blossoms from the plants you intend to use and toss them in the bowl with the rest of the salad components. I used violets, pansies, and strawberry blossoms. With these flowers, the entire blossom is edible, but the petals are the flavorful part. I chose to keep the blossoms whole to better achieve the look of a flower pot, but if you want, you can just use the petals!
  4. For the dressing, combine the vinegar, sugar, onions, salt, and dried mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. Then add the canola oil about a 1/2 cup at a time, blending well after each addition. When it's all blended and beautiful, stir in the poppy seeds for the final touch.
  5. Serve the flower salad in food safe glazed ceramic pots, with a little cup of dressing on the side. If you want, you can arrange one or two extra blossoms on top, to really showcase the flowers.
  6. Enjoy while reading about the famous petunia bowl from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!
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