Eating Wild: Lovage & Sorghum Salad

Eating Wild: Lovage & Sorghum Salad

Fresh, clean, with a little bite and celery undertones, this easy and delicious salad highlights the flavor of wild lovage.

Lovage, a member of the parsley family, grows on sandy beaches across the state. Once you learn to recognize it, it’s hard to miss its triplet of three leaflets, each often with three lobes, and growing in a mound that looks exactly like an overgrown pile of flat-leaf parsley.

Lovage has a strong parsley smell, so you’ll immediately know if you have the right plant. But as always, with any plant you’re picking for the first time, pick a sample, bring it home and match it to your favorite book or online resource, verify, and then go back and gather what you need for a recipe.

I’m a huge fan of Janice Schofield’s book “Discovering Wild Plants of Alaska, Western Canada, and the Northwest,” which you can find on sale right now at Costco.

The best time to pick lovage is early summer when the whole plant is new, tender growth. But one of the great things about lovage is that you can pick parts of the plant all summer long. To pick lovage from an older plant, simply push past those big leaves and look down into the center of the plant where you’ll find the newer leaflets.

You can use lovage any way that you would parsley. It’s a little hardier, and has a stronger flavor, so I use a little less and often rough chop or chiffonade my lovage rather than pulling it apart by hand like I would with parsley.

What follows is a riff on my friend Nelli’s go-to potluck dish. It’s a cold grain salad that disappears in seconds. You can make this recipe with any kind of grain. Nelli makes hers with quinoa, which is delicious, but lately I’ve been on a sorghum kick. It’s a little bigger and firmer than quinoa and has a lovely nutty taste, it’s also gluten-free if you’re into that kind of thing. And it’s inexpensive.

Lovage & Sorghum Salad

Prep: 20 min. active, 1.5 hours total

Makes: 10+ servings

• 1 ½ cups sorghum (or whatever grain you want)

• 4 ½ cups water (or however much your chosen grain needs)

• 1 cup lovage, rough chopped, stems and all (or one bunch flat-leaf parsley)

• ¾ cup kalamata olives, diced

• ½ of a red onion, diced

• 1 lemon, juiced

• ¼ cup olive oil

• Salt & pepper to taste

Don’t skimp on the olives or the lovage (parsley). This is a bold herb salad, and you’ll be sad if you pull your punches. If you’re using wild lovage, be sure to give it a good soak. Lovage grows on sandy beaches, so you’ll want to make sure you swish it around in a bath and dry it before using.

Cook your grain. For sorghum, bring sorghum and water to a boil in a covered pot. You can also throw in a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt with the sorghum and water. I’m not convinced that it actually helps, but it makes me feel fancy. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Keep covered and simmer for 45 minutes or until sorghum is chewy. Strain out remaining water and set aside to cool.

When sorghum is cooled and everything else is chopped, combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss, and season to taste.

• Erin Anais Heist is a food blogger in Juneau. Readers can contact her at, or on Instagram or Twitter at @erinanais. “Eating Wild” recipes publish every other week.

Eating Wild: Lovage & Sorghum Salad
Eating Wild: Lovage & Sorghum Salad

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