Shaved Spring Vegetables with Garden Herbs

shaved spring vegetables Paper thin slices of shaved raw vegetables makes up this light, bright salad that has tons of color and crunch, it’s the perfect springtime and summer side! Imagine a piece of grilled fish served along side this salad, it just screams healthy and good for you!

colorful salad ingredients This recipe is specifically related to spring but it can be easily adapted by using fresh summer, fall or winter vegetables as well.

shaved spring vegetables What is a must for this recipe is the use of a mandolin, that’s the only way you will achieve thin and delicate slices, if you don’t have a mandolin I highly recommend getting one, I’m surprised how many times I use mine and it was very reasonably priced.

garden herbs I actually just recently tasted this salad at one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, Quartino, where small plates of freshly made Italian food is served and meant to be shared, this was one of the things we ordered and it was delicious and Chef John Coletta was gracious enough to pass on the recipe.

shaved spring vegetables I got carried away in the produce department as I often do and bought three different colored beets and three different colored carrots but you really don’t need to do that, using just one of each would be fine.

Don’t let eating raw beets scare you, they have a natural sweetness to them in their raw state, along with a nice crunch.

shaved spring vegetables Arugula and fresh garden herbs get tossed into this salad which enhances the flavor of all the shaved vegetables.

shaved vegetable salad with lemon olive oil Chef Coletta recommends a nice lemon and olive oil dressing for this salad but I was fortunate to receive some wonderful lemon infused extra virgin olive oil from Sorrento, via a wonderful company olio2go, that represents Italy’s finest olive oils. The intense flavor quite frankly, took this salad over the top!

Shaved Spring Vegetables with Garden Herbs
  • Adapted from Chef John Coletta
  • 1 small bunch of radishes, sliced paper thin
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, sliced paper thin
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced paper thin
  • 1 yellow, red and orange carrot, peeled, sliced paper thin
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced paper thin
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced paper thin
  • beets, 1 striped, 1 yellow and 1 red, peeled, sliced paper thin
  • a generous handful of arugula leaves
  • 4 TBLsp, chives, cut into 1 inch sticks
  • 4 TBLsp, Italian parsley leaves
  • 2TBLsp, fennel tops
  • 4TBLsp celery tops
  • 2 TBLsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 TBLsp, extra virgin olive oil, (or use lemon infused olive oil as I did.)
  • sea salt or kosher and ground black pepper, to taste.
  1. Wash the vegetables well, peel beets and carrots with a vegetable peeler. Slice and prep all vegetables before, using a mandoline. Place the vegetables, herbs and arugula into a bowl. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil onto the vegetables and herbs, toss and season with salt and pepper. Arrange salad on a platter or bowl. Put the dressing on 15 minutes before serving to infuse and soften the vegetables slightly.



Small Plates, Long Conversations at Quartino, Chicago

May is a great time to visit Chicago
usually the weather is perfect, the flowers are in bloom and spring is in the air!
A wonderful time to go sightseeing or just meet up with friends for lunch.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet a blogger friend of mine from Brooklyn, Pat from the blog, Millie Fiori Favoriti. We’ve been communicating for years but never actually met in person, of course lunch was on the agenda! My dear friend Mary-Alice and I met up with Pat at her hotel and we began our walk to Quartino for lunch.

Located on the corner of State and Ontario
Quartino is known for their Italian tapas, featuring modest sized plates of handmade pastas, seasonal prepared specialties, house cured salumi, artisinal cheese and an array of Neopolitan pizzas.

From the minute you walk in you’re warmly welcomed by the waitstaff.

They also have nice outdoor seating a great place to people watch, but on the day we were there it was close to 90 degrees so we opted for inside air conditioning.

I just love the casual atmosphere there, never did we feel rushed through our lunch, we lingered for a good couple of hours and talked and talked.
It was a pleasure to meet Pat, shes just as genuine in person as she is on her blog!

I have to give a big shout out to our friendly waiter Josh, he was extremely attentive to us
and when he heard I had a food blog he quickly told the manager who came out to meet us.

I’ve eaten here before with family and we have never been disappointed, the menu is fantastic the drinks divine and the prices are unbelievable!

For Pat’s visit we decided to order the Salumeria Tasting where you get to pick and choose from your favorite salumi, cheese, and a few different appetizers. We choose prosciutto, spicy sopressata, asiago and gorgonzola cheese, roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, eggplant caponata and an assortment of olives and bread. The perfect platter to munch on!

Our pizza of choice was Funghi, portobello with fresh tomato.

There’s always room for dessert! How about some hot chocolate cake with vanilla gelato?

Our waiter Josh highly recommended we also try the apple fritters with gelato, all were so good!
As a bonus we got to meet the talented chef who oversees the kitchen at Quartino, Executive Chef John Coletta, not only does he have an impresive bio, but he’s also a cookbook author.
If you’re in Chicago and you’re looking for great food, friendly service and a relaxing atmosphere to hang out with good friends consider dining at Quartino!