Red Sorrel and Arugula Salad with Avocado and Orange

Red Veined Sorrel Salad

I live in an area that is perfect for growing just about anything all year long if one can forget the pesky dilemma of drought we’ve endured for the past many years.  I’ve been a reasonably capable gardener most of my life — thanks to my mother who most likely could grow a stick in the Sahara —  so I’ve always had plants that needed tending.  Whether they were house plants, everyday geraniums, or wildflowers I grew from seed scattered over moist soil, I’ve enjoyed the peace that has come from caring for them.

Fast forward about 10 years.

I no longer have any property to speak of to plant things in;  instead, I have what I’ll call an extended patio that wraps around one and a half sides of our house.  It all seemed so wonderful when we bought it, not to have to worry about fixing a leaky roof or painting it, and for the most part, I still agree.  But there are days when I long for a yard — or at least a yard that is more than eight feet wide.  On other days, I’m thankful that I don’t have to take care of that dream yard.  I used to have one and know that as much as it provides a sense of accomplishment and overall beauty to a home, it can be overwhelming to care for.

Last spring, I finally decided to purchase an herb box.  Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that an herb box (dimensions roughly 8″ x 36″) isn’t quite the replacement for a dream yard, but I can deal with the delusion when the Pacific is a short 10 minutes from my door.  My rosemary bushes grow like weeds in my planters, so they were the least of my concerns.  It was more the need to have parsley, or oregano, and maybe marjoram, or salad greens.  Now that would be a luxury!  A year has gone by, and I’ve been so busy I haven’t spent much time on my patio.  The herb box hasn’t gotten much attention.  Thyme has disappeared in more ways than one, and the purple basil never really flourished to begin with.  What I’m surprised to find is red sorrel bursting with life and all but wearing an advertisement for snails and worms to have lunch.  It never really died down over winter, and now, after our recent rainy weather, it’s flourishing along with the parsley and marjoram.  Granted, the level of soil in the box is about 50% of what it once was, but still.  Surprisingly, the arugula is sending out tender shoots as well.  Go figure.

I decided that it was the perfect reason to make a spring salad, even though the vernal equinox is still a week away.  Anything surviving the neglect my herb box has had to withstand deserves to be celebrated.  And I suppose it’s proof that one only needs a strip of space with bright light most of the day to lull her into the notion of being an urban gardener warrior.


Red Veined Sorrel

Red Sorrel and Arugula Salad with Avocado and Orange

Salad Ingredients

a palm full of red sorrel

half a palm full of tender new arugula sprouts

a few hearty sprigs of flat-leafed parsley

some avocado

an orange

sprinkle of feta

Dressing Ingredients

the juice of half a Meyer lemon

a few teaspoons or so of excellent, fruity, extra virgin olive oil (from California)

a dash or two of superior Sherry vinegar (from Espana)

cracked pepper

sea salt


  1. Rinse the greens, because the small snail you found hiding under one of the sorrel leaves has left its mark in more than one place.  Resist trimming the edges the other garden critters have chewed, because it’s organic, right?
  2. Slice the avocado and peel the orange, removing as much as the pith as you can.  If you’re like me, eat the pith because it reminds you of times spent in childhood gnawing the inside of orange peels on hot summer days.
  3. To make the dressing, squeeze the lemon and with a fork, whisk in the olive oil.  Splash in the vinegar and mix well.  Season and taste.  Adjust.
  4. Pour a bit of dressing on the greens and toss well.  Plate and add the avocado and orange.  Drizzle on more dressing to your liking and sprinkle on the feta.

Red Veined Sorrel & Herbs


Red Veined Sorrel Salad


  • I don’t want to give anyone the idea that salad is something that has a season.  We eat salad all year long.  We have to or our bodies will rebel — and they should.  Please do not talk to me about cavemen.
  • Can I just say that it semi pains me to clip anything from my herb box?  In much the same way that I rarely clip flowers to take inside and put in a vase, I had a nanosecond of angst clipping the sorrel.  But then I was over it.
  • Red-veined sorrel, or rumex sanguineus is also known as Bloody Dock, Red-veined Dock, or Bloody Sorrel.  Makes you want to have a salad, doesn’t it?
  • And guess what? It’s a perennial!  No wonder it survived the winter.  More importantly, it loves damp soil.  Good thing it’s in an herb box instead of our less than lovely So Cal soil which is a scary mixture of decomposed granite, limestone, and clay.
  • On another note, my particular plant doesn’t sport the flower mentioned in some sources, nor does it cause stomach upset.
  • The taste isn’t what I’d call bitter, but it does have a tartness to it — much less so than escarole, or endive.
  • The sweetness of the orange is a very nice balance, but if you’re not someone who relishes biting into strong greens, then add a bit of honey to the dressing and a smidge of dijon.  It’s good for you!
  • If you’re not the “tart” green person that I am, check out this source.  Mmmm….
  • P.S.  Monosaturated fat in the avocado (and evoo) and vitamin C in the orange.  Dark green leafy veg….healthy, healthy, healthy.
  • I did find this recipe using red-veined sorrel in soup — with bacon.  Now to try and gather 2 lbs. of it.  Maybe I need another herb box.

Red Veined Sorrel Salad

Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

15 thoughts on “Red Sorrel and Arugula Salad with Avocado and Orange

    1. Outside of planting it yourself, your best bet would be to find it at the farmer’s market. I understand seeds are the best way to go because the tender greens are supposed to be amazing.

  1. I can’t say I miss our 3/4 of an acre of gardens…well not until I wish I could get my hands into soil again and plant veggies. I too have several patio containers and am still working on what will grown in the 85% shade. Perhaps sorrel would be something I could try.

    1. We used to have 1/2 acre, but only a very small veggie garden. I can’t imagine taking care of more than that! We get shade and sun on ours, so it’s nice to have a mixture of plants — mostly mediterranean or sub-tropicals. Weeding out the tropicals due to water…Sorrell needs lots of light, but the spot I have it in only gets direct sun in the summertime.

  2. I wanted to drop by and thank you for the kind words about my blog, and I couldn’t have come across a more timely post. It’s just beginning to look like spring here in NY and I have been thinking what to grow on my balcony this year. Hoping to have more success than last year. Beautiful blog you have here, and I love the project 365 section too.
    .-= Ayma Grup´s last blog ..Dear Readers =-.

  3. Not often that you see this mix of roughage. it’s a great synergy between the sweetness of the citrus the feta and a lemon vinaigrette. Thanks for the healthy seasonal ideas!

  4. Hi Kelly,
    Congrats on a great blog.
    I have a publishing idea I’d like to email you if you’d be kind enough to send me your email address?

    Many thanks in advance,

  5. What a lovely salad. This is exactly the type of food for the current weather. I also planted my own herbs this year but they are now just about 3 cm high! 😉

    You have a great blog with lovely photos! I’m glad I’ve discovered it. Thank you for your comment on my blog! 😉
    .-= Sarka´s last blog ..Olive and Caramelised Onion Tart =-.

  6. I think I would trade a 10 minute walk to the Pacific for my garden but it would be a tough trade since I love to dig in the dirt. I am going to try Arugula for the first time this season and now I’m tempted to try Red Sorrel also. The leaves remind me of Swiss Chard. That is a beautiful salad but, oh my, that view!

    Thank you so much for your visit Kellypea!!

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