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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce

Your Garden Can Be Your Salad Bar! 

Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S. Former Northwest Regional Nutrition Specialist in Nodaway County, University of Missouri Extension


You don’t have to have a large garden to have a salad garden. Short rows or even large patio containers of your favorite salad ingredients, will add variety to your palate. 

Gardens and salads go together! While some of the first produce from spring gardens are greens like spinach and lettuce, our gardens can be our salad bar throughout the growing season. 

As you plan to plant your garden, plant the vegetables you’ll need as ingredients. Here is a list for starters. 

  • Cabbage 
  • Sweet peppers (red and green) 
  • Green onions 
  • Carrots 
  • Beans (Green and Wax) 
  • Fresh Dill 
  • Spinach 
  • Lettuce 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Green Peas 
  • Broccoli 

With these few ingredients from your garden, some salads you could prepare include:

  • Copper Pennies (marinated carrots) 
  • Slaw
  • Three-Bean Salad 
  • Spinach Salad 
  • Layered Lettuce 
  • Marinated Vegetables 
  • Carrot-Raisin Salad 
  • (Add your favorite to the list)

Fresh vegetables provide fiber to our diets along with ample Vitamins A and C. They generally are low-calorie until we add the sauces and dressings in preparation. But, we can make some adaptations to our home-prepared dressings so they taste terrific and contain less oil-and fewer calories. 

The trick to making low-calorie dressings is to substitute pectin (yes the kind we make jams and jellies with) for part or all of the oil. The pectin thickens the mixture to look and pour like dressings. 

To adapt your recipes follow these easy steps. 

  1. Replace all or part of the oil in the recipe with water. It’s your call on the amount. 
  2. Figure the total amount of liquid in your recipe. Add up the amount of water, vinegar, syrup, juice, etc. 
  3. For every 1 cups liquid, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of dry pectin. (Depends on thickness desired) 
  4. Allow your mixture to refrigerate several hours to thicken. You can put it on the salad as your recipe directs or store in a shakable container. Some dressings on salads are great on other types of salads too! 

The March, 2002 issue of Taste of Harvest: Information for Those Who Produce and Preserve Food in Northwest Missouri has recipes for salads and dressings using pectin. This newsletter is available on-line at:


Last update: Thursday, December 03, 2009








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