Farmers Market Salad

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You guys. Summer is right around the corner. That means a few very very important things:

# 1 Short shorts. Which also means, I desperately need a tan. And a trip to J Crew. It’s dangerous to go there this time of year. Did you know that. The store is stocked full of fabulous bright colors that are just screaming my name. Literally, I don’t think I can walk in there without walking out with at least 2 new outfits. It’s a problem. And there is no foreseeable fix.

# 2 Surprise vaca is right around the corner and I have still yet to figure out where we are going. I’ve basically decided in my mind that it’s Africa and there is no convincing of me otherwise. We’re probably really going to somewhere like Brazil or New Zealand… which means my parents will have pulled off another surprise. They win. They always do. My sister and I get clues each week leading up to the trip. They are pretty bizarre. I don’t know how else to describe them… but here are a few:

Where the buffalo roam

When puppies take a little nap they always take their favorite bone, a part of the fun!

Towering above the river, and such beautiful scenes to behold. Away from the dust and dirt in the west. What a day it will be, or two or three……

Beautiful she is, yet such a hard name. Could she be the place, so bubbly and warm, or just a stop on the way?

When I told my brother about the trip, Al says,”have a glass for me.”

Like, honestly. What do those mean?!? I’ll send a giant shipment of cookies to anyone who figures it out. I’m totally stumped. All I know is that I need my passport. So clearly it’s not in the US

And lastly #3 Bikini’s. Yup. They are coming. It’s inevitable seeing as how they are an absolutely necessity for getting a tan.

And do you know what those 3 things mean? It means that it’s time to clean up the eating and get ready! So here’s my plan. Loaded Salads. Loaded salads with tons of fresh farmer market veggies. And of course a healthy dose of avocado in each one. Last week I picked up a few of my favorite finds this time of year the at market and threw them all into a big giant salad for lunch. Loaded with arugula, fresh peas, asparagus, avocados, mint, artichoke hearts and manchego cheese, this spring bounty salad will leave you satisfied and happy.

Farmers Market Salad

This loaded spring salad is one for the record books! Wild arugula and fresh peas give this salad a big pop! You could easily blanch the peas for a quick 60 seconds in boiling water if you want, but I love the crispness of raw, freshly shelled peas.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Salad, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 2 -4 people


  • 1 tbsp dijon Mustard
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 handfuls wild arugula
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup cubed manchego cheese
  • 1 avocado removed from the skin and diced
  • 1 14- oz can artichoke hearts drained and quartered


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil until emulsified. Set aside until you're ready to serve.
  • Bring a small pan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Remove the asparagus from the water and immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove the asparagus from the ice bath and drain excess water. Place the asparagus in a large bowl.
  • Add the arugula, fresh peas, mint, manchego, avocado and artichoke and toss together. Drizzle with half of the vinaigrette and toss. Add more vinaigrette if desired and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.


  1. Our cousins, Schaner Farms from Valley Center sell at the Santa Monica market! Looking closely at your salad, I’ll bet there’s a little bit of the family in there! Glad to see an avocado too, but I wouldn’t have expected your salad NOT to have avocado! Love those fresh peas. Reminds me of my grandmother. When she shelled peas and accidentally dropped one on the floor she’d say, “Oops! I peed on the floor!” just to make us laugh.

  2. That salad looks delish. I love throwing things from the farmer’s market in one big dish and calling it a meal!

    As for that trip, good luck figuring that out! If it weren’t for that puppy clue I would think they were taking you rafting down the Grand Canyon.

    1. Oh that would be fun! I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere international thou 🙂 I know I need my passport

  3. So I read giant shipment of cookies & immediately have to help figure it out! My guess is the outback in Northern Austrailia. Not sure how far off I am, but fun to guess 🙂

  4. I am totally going with North Dakota for the vacay. Seriously, there is a ton of buffalo, the famous Red River, and yeah. I got nothin on the other clue. But for your sake I hope I am SOOOOO wrong! 🙂

  5. It’s so funny that you mention the short shorts because I actually wore one of those today. The weather is going to be in the 90s today and you know how bad it gets in the valley. As for the bikini part, yes, bring on the salads!

  6. I’m guessing Brazil/Argentina.
    They have buffalo.
    Iguazu Falls – towers above a river, also has a hard to pronounce name and rapidss are bubbly.
    Argentina has some really good wines – like Torrontes.

  7. This is probably way off, but I’m going to guess Egypt… here’s my reasoning:
    1. Egypt does have (water) buffalo.
    2. Bones = mummies
    3. The river could be the Nile
    4. Bubbly and warm… I’m thinking hot springs? Egypt does have several.
    5. “Have a glass”… Egypt is a big producer of wine.

    Wherever the vacation may be, have a great time! Sounds like a ton of fun, getting surprise vacations every year like that. ^_^

  8. I think South Africa! – they have some great vineyards, very enjoyable weather, beaches and excursions. You would do a safari while on your way to see the Victoria Falls, which would be few days trip, where you would see rawhides of animals roaming the range, and make a stop at a natural hot springs to freshen up:)

  9. We eat a lot of fresh greens sprint/summer. I can’t wait for my gardent but do enjoy my fresh herbs that I have in pots. Sound like a great vaca whereever it maybe!

  10. delicious looking salad – love those clues – I’m thinking South Africa – although not sure there are a lot of buffalo there… but wine and waterfalls and big rivers and safari – for your sake I hope I’m right – it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been

  11. My wildest guess would be somewhere east (following tip: Away from the dust and dirt in the west.)

    I went to Xinjiang, China 2 years ago and it might just fit the bill… though I have no idea if your family fancies such a far away trip. LOL. Truly a marvellous place with beautiful rustic scenery and interesting people. They have vineyards too but more well-known for raisins.


  12. I love the Argentina idea, but my first instinct was Italy.. buffalo, hot springs, rivers with things towering over..
    What great parents you have!

  13. Hi Gaby – Just discovered your blog and LOVE it!!!! I share your j-crew-bright-colors addiction! Your salted caramel bars are setting in the fridge as we speak! Last week I had almost the exact same salad at True Food here in Phoenix and it was delicious. Thanks for posting – am looking forward to making this version at home 🙂

  14. Hi Gaby,
    Your farmers market salad looks tasty
    You can submit your farmers market salad pics on It is a food photography site where members can submit all food pictures that make readers hungry 🙂
    I am already hungry to see your farmers market salad photo btw, LOL

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