It’s funny how sometimes even after the most amazing experiences, nothing beats the excitement of coming home, lying in your awesome ass bed and relishing in the glory of everything familiar again.  Home sweet home.

Even better, we came home to an exploding garden! Everything literally tripled in size while we were gone — the beans, the tomatoes, my wildflowers. We instilled life back into this little yard, it’s now filled with ladybugs, butterflies, bees Oh My! The Wells farm is up and kickin, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a bountiful harvest.

I made this salad tonight using vegetables from my dad’s garden and basil, waxbeans and flowers from ours.  I never thought to use flowers in food but since starting our growing frenzy, I’ve managed to taste practically everything. And arugula, onion and bok choy flowers are on my list of top finds — they are fantastic and give little bursts of flavors throughout the salad.  This recipe is a glorious celebration of everything life: from seed to flower to fruit, repeat.

Cucumber Tomato Basil Salad with Arugula and Bok Choy Flowers
Recipe type: Appetizer
Author: Joy Zhang
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2-4
A rustic salad using home-grown organic vegetables: japanese cucumber, brandywine tomatoes, basil, arugula flower, bok choy flower, onion flower, wax beans
  • 2 large brandywine tomatoes, 1″ pieces
  • 1 japanese cucumber
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon of arugula flowers
  • 1 teaspoon of bokchoy flowers
  • 1 teaspoon of onion flowers
  • 1/2 cup wax beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Wash all vegetables thoroughly under water making sure to rid of all dirt. Dice the tomatoes into 1″ pieces and thinly slice the cucumber.
  2. Cut off the ends of wax beans and cut them in half. In a large bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumber and beans together.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk oil with salt and pepper. Drizzle on salad and toss evenly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with arugula and bokchoy flowers.

Arugula flowers have a nice spicy flavor much like the leaf — be sure to pick the flowers when they are just blooming. If you wait too long they will taste bitter.

Bok Choy flowers are more grassy with umami undertones. Same rule of thumb, harvest when the flowers are newly blossomed.


  1. Dishing the Divine says: 24 May ’11 • 16:40:06

    Where in the world do you live that you already have those luscious tomatoes?!? I live in sunny CA (which has lately been missing out on sun, but that’s another story) and my tomatoes are marbled sized and green. :O( Your pictures make me salivate for fresh tomatoes again! I will print this for a month from now when my babies are finally edible. :)


  2. Angela says: 24 May ’11 • 17:03:44

    I grew bok choy for the first time in my garden this year also and I loved the little yellow flowers it produced!


  3. Brian says: 25 May ’11 • 01:57:37

    Isn’t it the best when you can use ingredients that have been grown in your backyard? This salad brought a huge smile to my face.


  4. Yasmeen says: 25 May ’11 • 11:18:30

    what a fresh, inspired treat! i’ve just stopped by for the first time from 6 Bittersweets and subscribing to your beautiful site.


  5. [email protected] says: 25 May ’11 • 12:14:55

    As much as I love to travel, there’s nothing better than sleeping in your own bed. I guess we are all creatures of comfort.


  6. The Tame Lion says: 25 May ’11 • 14:41:07

    Absolutely fantastic!
    Thanks for sharing, you’re wonderful!


  7. Sukaina says: 25 May ’11 • 17:04:09

    Welcome home Joy….and what a wonderful welcome you had with such a blooming garden…..for some reason I remember you writing that you had a ‘black ‘ thumb- no longer the case!


  8. kankana says: 25 May ’11 • 23:48:24

    I don’t have a backyard and neither do i know how to garden even in a pot. But this salad took me back home when we used to pluck fresh vegetables from the backyard and make salad .. it taste so much better even without any major dressing!


  9. alyce says: 26 May ’11 • 19:24:50

    Congrats on your top 9!


  10. Lisa @ Tarte du Jour says: 26 May ’11 • 23:28:42

    Beautiful photos! So colorful and healthy!


Leave a comment

Rate this recipe: