This wild miner’s lettuce salad recipe is our current go-to lunch. It’s tangy, creamy, a little nutty and hits the spot on a sunny winter day. And, it features not just miner’s lettuce but also wild chickweed and sorrel to make it the ultimate foragers’ salad recipe!
What Does The Claytonia Salad Taste Like?
This foraged salad is tangy, sweet, creamy and a little nutty. It’s perfect on its own, but you could grill up some chicken or salmon and pair with wine for a whole dinner.
Winter Is Miner’s Lettuce Season
It’s Claytonia Perfoliata season right now in the Bay Area and will keep going until early spring. The common name is Miners Lettuce or Winter Purslane, which is easy to forage pretty much everywhere in North America, but easiest to forage along the West Coast from British Columbia down to the Central California coast.
And, right now it’s growing with a rampant force out there. Seriously – just start looking at the ground when you’re out walking or hiking and you’ll spot it everywhere. I came across a huge patch while on my morning walk so I foraged a bunch of lettuce leaves and brought them home for lunch!
This plant usually grows alongside wild chickweed and sorrel, both of which are also edible foods so I encourage you to forage a bit of those while you’re out gathering your fresh miner lettuce leaves for your salad.
Where Does Miner’s Lettuce Grow?
We have a whole post on how to forage wild miner’s lettuce to help you out! In short, it grows on the west coast under shady areas. It’s a winter plant and miners used it as salad greens in the Gold Rush era as it’s packed with vitamin C. I find miners lettuce tastes a lot like spinach to me and can be a hero green or paired with other wild plants like Chickweed, or farmed veggies like lettuce or kale.
Robin calls me the Salad Queen. Making salads is absolutely an art and one that I’ve been slowly perfecting. The key is merging the right dressing flavors with fruits, nuts and cheeses alongside your greens. It’s all about texture and flavors.
Usually for quick lunches, I opt to keep salad dressings simple and use olive oil with various spices, but here I knew this wild miner’s lettuce salad deserved a bit more of a kick, so it uses a homemade balsamic honey vinegarette. Local honey is always better quality (and helps with allergies) but if you can only find the bears in store, that’s fine!
The wild sorrel stalk and flowers are really tangy and personally my favorite surprise about this miners salad. It pairs well with the ricotta and balsamic honey vinegarette to add a citrus flavor profile. If you aren’t able to forage sorrel, I would instead squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of your salad to mimic that zing.
To add a creamy texture, we use fresh ricotta here which pairs oh so well with strawberries and the honey balsamic. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds on top for a crunch nutty taste, but you could swap those with hemp seeds, hazelnuts or your favorite small nut and it’ll taste equally as good.
The only slightly complicated part of this recipe is making the balsamic honey dressing. It takes a bit of arm work to whisk the honey and vinegar together. You can opt for a food processor if you want (we did it the hard way by hand with a fork.) Otherwise, this all comes together quickly and if you’re anything like us, will probably be your favorite new lunch salad, too!
- Bowl of wild Miner's Lettuce (size up to you!)
- 5-7 Chickweed plants
- 3-4 stalks of Wild Sorrel (stem and flowers)
- ¼ cup Sunflower Seeds
- 2 TBP Local Honey
- ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 6-7 Fresh strawberries
- ½ cup fresh Ricotta
How To Make The Balsamic Honey Dressing
- In a small bowl, mix the local honey and balsamic vinegar together.
- Use a fork to whisk it well until it's smooth.
- You can add more or less honey depending on your sweetness level.
Miners Lettuce Salad Recipe
- Wash your wild miner lettuce, chickweed and sorrel well and either pat dry or dry with a salad spinner.
- Chop the chickweed and sorrel into 1/4 inch sections (give or take).
- Slice strawberries thinly.
- In a bowl, add the miner's lettuce and chopped chickweed and sorrel.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.
- Add the sliced strawberries.
- Spoon in ricotta. I like the ricotta in big chunks, but Robin prefers to mask it up to cover the whole salad. It's up to you!
- Drizzle the balsamic honey over the salad and serve.
- You can swap the sorrel for freshly squeezed lemon juice if you can't forage the sorrel
- Just like with all salads, feel free to add more or less of an ingredient (ie I always add more ricotta than Robin does to his bowl)