Mother’s Day Picnic Salad with Pea Shoots and Grilled Asparagus

by Mary on May 14, 2012

Look what my husband made me for Mother’s Day! First this fresh fruit salad, along with glasses of watermelon juice (brought along right in the Vitamix it was blended in). He made the salad from strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, and bananas:

serving fruit salad for a picnic

fruit salad with mangos, bananas, and strawberries















Next up was a green spring salad filled with all kinds of farmer’s market goodies including grilled asparagus, pea shoots, and the flowers from a bunch of Chinese broccoli. My husband topped it with sliced avocados, a sprinkling of pine nuts and a pre-packaged blend of brown, wild, sweet brown (sticky), and red rice.


a dinner plate of spring salad topped with rice, avocado, and Chines broccoli flowers

spring salad with grilled asparagus, pea shoots, and Chinese broccoli flowers

Here’s my husband’s recipe. He likes to go light with dressing and has an especially light hand with the oil, so I’ve listed the recipe both his way, which is great for a lower calorie salad, and with an option to make a more standard amount of dressing. For the record, I liked his salad with the light dressing and should perhaps lighten my salads more often.

If you make this salad to eat at home instead of packing the ingredients up, the prep time will be shorter. Note: my good camera will be in the shop for a while so excuse the photo quality.

May 2013 update: I’ve made a slightly different (and better photographed) version here.

Mother's Day Picnic Salad with Pea Shoots and Grilled Asparagus
Prep time
Total time
A portable salad full of fresh spring flavors for your Mother's Day picnic.
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 3
  • For the salad:
  • ¾ c. dry Sunwest Organic Harvest Medley rice, cooked in 1.5-2 cups water (about 1.5 cups cooked)
  • 5 oz bagged mixed greens, or wash and shred salad greens
  • 2 oz fresh pea shoots and leaves
  • 1 scallion (green onion) and about a dozen stalks of chives (use either scallions or chives, whatever you have)
  • ⅓ cup edible flowers, in this case blossoms from Chinese broccoli (which is very like broccoli rabe).
  • ¼ cup nuts, we used 2 Tbs. pine nuts and 2 Tbs. sunflower seeds
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • For a light dressing:
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. grape seed oil (could substitute canola)
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For a standard dressing, increase the oil and vinegar to:
  • 3 Tbs. olive/grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tbs. champagne vinegar
  1. First cook the rice, which will take about 40 minutes on the stove or 1½ hours in a rice cooker. For stovetop cooking, use about twice as much water as rice.To substitute for the Sunwest rice blend you could make your own mixture of rices (caution-- wild rice often takes much longer to cook than other whole grain rice).
  2. Snap ends off asparagus.
  3. Mix olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt in a flat bottomed baking dish.
  4. Put asparagus in and mix to thoroughly coat.
  5. Put on medium grill for 10-15 minutes, turning often.
  6. Remove, let cool. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  7. You could toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a dry pan on the stovetop for a couple of minutes, though we did not this time.
  8. Mix cooked rice with asparagus, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds, put in container for transport.
  9. Chop chives and green onion, cut pea shoots into bite-sized pieces.
  10. Put greens, pea shoots, edible flowers, chives, and scallion into a portable container.
  11. Cut avocado in half, remove pit, and cut avocado into thin slices while it is still within the shell. Spoon out avocado, put in container for transport.
  12. Skin and finely mince shallot.
  13. Mix grapeseed oil and champagne vinegar; add shallot, salt and pepper to mixture and stir. (Note: for a standard amount of dressing for this salad, use the larger amount of oil and vinegar)
  14. Put salad dressing into a sealed container for transport.
  15. Bring greens, asparagus/rice mixture, avocado, and dressing to your picnic. Bring a cloth or wipe for the chef to clean up after handling the avocado. Assemble the salad on plates, drizzle with dressing, serve.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

TastefullyJulie May 15, 2012 at 3:59 am

Aww, what a lovely Mother’s day treat! I love it!


Kiersten May 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm

What a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day–a meal with a little bit of spring and a little bit of summer! I need to try pea shoots one of these days…
Kiersten recently posted..Raspberry Ginger Popsicles Recipe + Zoku Quick Pop Maker GiveawayMy Profile


Mireya May 19, 2012 at 5:21 am


This sounds like a very healthy and tasty salad!
Mireya recently posted..Avocado Tzatziki- 50 Women Game Changers – Cat Cora #48My Profile


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