Petals on Your Plate

Words by Paulette Phlipot

Photos by Paulette Phlipot

Recipes and photography by Paulette Phlipot

With spring in full bloom, flowers are everywhere. But why limit yourself to a bouquet in a vase, when you can put petals on your plate? Adding edible flowers to your dishes and drinks is more than a feast for the eyes. They add a nutritional punch from antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Pansies, violas, nasturtiums, calendula, roses and lavender are standouts with endless recipe possibilities. Many herbs and vegetables also yield lovely, delicious edible flowers, such as cilantro, rosemary, oregano, chives, squash, fennel, broccoli and arugula. Search for them at the farmers market or make good use of any flourishing in your very own yard. Fresh or dried, these colorful delights will enhance the look and taste of your meals. Incorporated into salads, infused into vinegar, frozen into ice, blended into creamy cheeses, baked into treats and even pressed into melted chocolate—their flavors and colors combine in an endless array of possibilities.

When choosing flowers, handle with care, selecting only ones that are safe to eat. Make sure the blooms have not been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides. To prepare, trim the stems, rinse them gently in water and let the floral fun begin!

Chocolate petal pops

Chocolate and flowers are a natural pairing—especially enjoyed this way!

Serves 4

Edible flowers (fresh or dried)
2 cups chocolate chips (white,
milk or dark)
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Lollipop mold and sticks

+ Remove flowers from stems, making sure they are free of debris and completely dry, then set aside.
+ Place a lollipop mold onto a tray that fits in your refrigerator and place lollipop sticks in the mold.
+ Melt the chocolate chips in a double-boiler or heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat.
+ Carefully spoon melted chocolate into the lollipop molds. Tap the filled mold onto the counter to get rid of air bubbles and level the chocolate.
+ Quickly and carefully press fresh or dried flowers on top of the chocolate. Using a toothpick can be helpful.
+ Keeping the lollipop mold on the tray, carefully place it into the refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 40 minutes. Then carefully remove the lollipops from the molds. Enjoy within a day or two, while the flowers look fresh.

Rose + Cardamom Lemonade

A little twist on well-known rose water. Adding a splash to lemonade brightens the color and enhances the flavor. If picking roses from the garden, gather them in the early morning when they’re most fragrant.

¼ cup dried rose petals (or
¾ cup fresh rose petals)
1½ cups water
4 green cardamom pods,
lightly crushed with the
back of a spoon
1 pitcher of lemonade
Lemon blossoms to garnish

+ In a small saucepan, combine the rose petals, crushed cardamom pods and water.
+ Cover and bring the water to a boil, then reduce temperature to low. Simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes or until the petals have faded.
+ Turn the heat off and let it cool completely with the lid on.
+ Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar. Add to lemonade and garnish with lemon blossoms. Store jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

No Beans Fava Salad

Fava greens are a fantastic choice for salads, offering a subtle taste reminiscent of fava beans—mildly sweet and delicate. Naturally, they pair well with fava flowers! This recipe is inspired by Cheryl Sternman Rule’s Cucumber-Halloumi Salad.

Serves 4

2 cups fava leaves
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon avocado oil
8 ounces Halloumi cheese,
sliced ¼-inch thick
1 cucumber, sliced
Fava and calendula flowers to garnish

2 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

+ In a cast-iron skillet, toast fennel seeds over medium heat for a few minutes until they become aromatic. Remove and set aside.
+ Heat the same skillet to medium-high. Add avocado oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Place the cheese in a single layer, working in batches if needed. Cook the cheese until it is browned on each side, then set aside.
+ In a large bowl, whisk salad dressing ingredients together. Add fava leaves, sliced
cucumber and fennel seeds and toss it well.
+ Divide the salad into four bowls, adding cheese slices, then garnish with fava and calendula flowers.

Petal Ice Spheres

Turn heads and elevate your cocktail game by swapping out plain cubes for colorful ice spheres.

Edible flowers
Distilled water
Fresh herbs (optional)

Ice sphere mold

+ Boil distilled water, then set it aside to cool. (This will create clearer ice.)
+ Remove the flowers from their stems and rinse.
+ Place flowers into the base of the ice mold. You can also add herbs, if you choose.
+ Pour the room-temperature
water into the ice mold,
covering flowers completely.
+ Place the mold in the freezer until frozen solid.
+ Remove from the freezer and wait a few minutes before removing the ice spheres.
+ Add to your favorite beverages for an elegant pop of color.