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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Spicy Magnolia Salad Cups

Jun 30, 2022 08:30AM ● By Marie Viljoen
Magnolia salad on plates

photo courtesy of Marie Viljoen

Yield: four appetizer servings

All magnolia petals have a strong, gingery flavor with a hint of cloves or menthol, depending on the variety. Blooming through summer, North American southern magnolia flowers (Magnolia grandiflora) are the size of dinner plates. Their substantial, fragrant petals make beautiful edible cups for assertively flavored salads or ceviche. Here, blandly creamy avocado, crisp peppery radish slices, quick-pickled onion and a kiss of high-quality soy sauce fill the luscious petals with complementary textures and flavors. Pick the whole petal up like a taco and bite to get the full effect in a mouthful.

1 ripe avocado, cubed
3 radishes, very thinly sliced 
2-3 Tbsp quick-pickled red onion rings 
2 pickled Japanese knotweed shoots (optional)
¼ tsp chili flakes
2 tsp soy sauce (like organic Ohsawa nama shoyu)
Roasted sesame oil

Quick-Pickled Onion

The heavy seasoning is important to make these pickles pop. Leftover pickles keep indefinitely in the refrigerator, and the flavorful brine is delicious in salad dressings.

½ cup white wine or rice vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 small red onions, thinly sliced into rings

In a Mason jar, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Close the lid tightly and shake to dissolve the seasonings. Add the onions. Allow the mixture to sit in the brine for a minimum of 30 minutes before using. 

To assemble the magnolia cups, arrange the avocado cubes, radish and pickled onion between the four petals. Season lightly with chili flakes and soy sauce. Add a few drops of the roasted sesame oil. Serve at once and inhale. 

Recipe courtesy of Marie Viljoen.

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