Local Food and Seasonal Ingredients

Fiddlehead Ferns: Spring Salad Recipe

By Seth Fera-Schanes

A few years ago, during one of my Saturday visits to the Union Square farmer’s market, I came across fiddlehead ferns.  They were tightly wound-up little green disks piled high in a cardboard box.  I kept looking in the box and although I wasn’t sure what they were, it was something new which meant I was going to buy some.

The great thing about a farmer’s market are vendors are more than happy to tell you about their product and most importantly explain how to prepare them.

Fiddleheads are actually new tightly coiled fern fronds and have a limited growing season during the spring.  [Editors Note: don’t just go into the woods and pick baby ferns because you can get sick.  Get them from a reputable farmer’s market or Whole Foods if they are in stock.]

My favorite thing about fiddleheads (aside from how they look) is the texture.  They have a nice crunchy bite and are perfect as a side dish, in a main course pasta dish or a light healthy salad.

I put together the following vegan salad recipe using red quinoa and spring fiddleheads.  Don’t let the words ‘vegan dish’ deter you.  This is a full flavored salad with a lot of heartiness and great texture.

Red Quinoa and Spring Fiddlehead Salad

Red Quinoa Salad with Fiddlehead Ferns

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


1 cup red quinoa
1/2 lb – fresh fiddlehead ferns
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup parsley – chopped
2 scallions – chopped
1 lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper


Cook Red Quinoa according to directions on the package. Allow to cool.

Thoroughly wash fiddleheads and blanch in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.  Remove and run under cold water.

In a saute pan, heat a little olive oil and saute fiddleheads for about 3 minutes.  Add to red quinoa.  Add parsley, green onion, tomatoes, zest of 1 lemon and juice of one lemon, 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve right away of allow to sit in refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to meld.

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