Salad Seasons by Sheela Prakash, a review

I’m still working my way through some of the best cookbooks of  2023 (at least according to Bon Appetit).  Salad Seasons by Sheela Prakash is next on the list.

About the book:

Create simple yet show stopping salads that will make them the perpetual star at your table. With a focus on approachable, flexible recipes that are easy to prepare and bring vegetables to the center of the plate, Salad Seasons will inspire home cooks to eat well and live well. The recipes in Salad Seasons not only span all four seasons, but show off salads’ versatility as both vibrant main dishes–such as Brown-Buttered Brussels Sprouts and Orecchiette Salad and Smashed Potato and Chorizo Sheet Pan Salad–and as fresh side dishes, like Israeli Corn Salad and Bittersweet Radicchio Salad. Also included are a handful of playful fruit salads, like Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad with Lavender Honey and Brûléed Citrus Salad, which make for unfussy, modern desserts.

About the author:

Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of two cookbooks: Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year (named one of the best cookbooks of Spring 2023 by Bon Appétit) and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. She works extensively with a number of other outlets and brands such as Simply Recipes, New York Times Cookies,, Serious Eats, Culture Cheese Magazine, Kerrygold, OXO, California Walnuts, and more, and was previously on staff at Kitchn, Epicurious, and Food52.

Sheela received her master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.

What I thought…

We’ve been eating a lot of salads recently as The Hubs is doing a weight loss challenge.   I have to say that while I haven’t lost as much weight as him (what is it with men?), I have lost a few pounds and felt healthier.   I’d been trying to get Salad Seasons from the library for a while.  It’s popular.

I’ve totally embraced the salad making in our house because it’s easy.  Maybe too easy.  Prakash states early on in the book that…

A salad isn’t meant to be a complicated endeavor.  At its most basic, it’s a bowl of greens.  Arugula dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, flay salt, and a few grinds of black pepper is a no-fail salad solution in our house.  That’s just the start, though.  (9)

I needed a little jump start and this book was it!

What provisions should you keep on hand for your salad trek?  It is a practical grocery list:  EVOO along with red wine, white wine, sherry, balsamic, and apple cider vinegars.  Lemons round out the acid ingredients.  Besides salt and pepper, have some chile flakes, smoked paprika, sumac, honey, maple syrup, shallots, scallions, garlic and herbs on hand.  Rounding out your pantry staples, make sure you have Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, mayo, tahini, nuts and seeds.

Salad Seasons goes beyond being  “lettuce-centric” and journeys into “chef-y” options.   Prakash advises to think outside the box of usual greens and traditional salad ingredients.   Think parsnips or rhubarb or persimmons.   I like the organization of this book, first divided into the seasons (Spring,  Summer, Fall, Winter) and then into “Side,” “Star,” and “Sweet.”  Star salads are entrees and sweet salads are riffs on fruit salads.

The side salads included are more inventive than spinach, tomatoes and purchased Italian dressing.  (That’s what I just served with some grilled meat.)   But, they’re not too elaborate for a weeknight meal.  I could whip up “Quick-Pickled Radish Salad” (23) in less than five minutes with a food processor.  (You just have to let it set and marinate for 30 minutes.)  The same is true for “Cherry Tomato Salad with Knife Pesto Vinaigrette”(66).   There are twenty-four other options in the book; six for every season.

There are eleven options for every season with the big “Star” salads.  Some of the main meals go a little beyond salads in my opinion like “Spicy Smashed Cucumbers with Chickpea Scallion Pancakes” (43).   I would totally still serve this option.  Some are heartier like “Balsamic Steak with Caramelized Peppers and Gorgonzola” (83).  Prakash includes lots of vegetarian options for the mains, more than the recipes containing meat or fish.

Twelve sweet salads are included.  I was probably most intrigued by these.  “Bourbon Baked Apples with Cinnamon Toast Croutons” (154) and “Boozy Blueberries and Maple-Cinnamon Yogurt” (108) would be perfect on a brunch buffet.    I would totally serve these for dessert (or just eat them for breakfast).

The photos are delicious and vibrant.   I don’t know how the publishers were able to pick a true star for the cover.  “Scorched Sugar Snap and Burrata Salad” (30) won.

Finally, the side salads serve four.  That would be perfect for us and I would love to work my way through the book and try every single side salad.

Alas, this book was due at the library and I swear I copied a few salads to make before posting.  Don’t you know I cannot find them anywhere.  And it’s the hectic season of parties, eating out, and rushing around.

Maybe I will get this book for Christmas and then I can share some recipes.

Until then, try to have as non-hectic lead up to the holidays as possible.   DO consider this book for your healthy eaters!  (Or, for anyone who needs to recover after the holidays with healthier eating.)


I’m linking up with Foodie Reads for December.


4 comments to Salad Seasons by Sheela Prakash, a review

  • “Star” Salads are my faves and the more wacky the ingredients, the better!

    However, I’m really intrigued by the Bourbon Baked Apples with Cinnamon Toast Croutons! Yum!!!

    Definitely adding this book to my list, even though I have over 100 cookbooks that I’m trying to weed out and donate 80% of. lol

  • This is a great cookbook to feature as we go into the New Year when we all try to eat a little healthier after binging on Holiday foods for a month.

  • mae

    The definition of “salad” has always seemed mysterious to me, and I think a salad is anything that you want to call a salad as long as it has at least one vegetable or fruit ingredient. But I love sAlads as you do, and I’m not worried about the definition.

    I hope Santa does bring you a copy of this cookbook so you can continue your experiments!

    best, mae at

  • I hope when you opened your presents that Santa left you a copy of Salad Seasons, it sounds like a wonderful book. Merry Christmas.