Fresh Herb Salad w/ Avocado-Basil Vinaigrette

Your wish is my command …………………..

I heard from a little birdie that you’re tired of the same old salads……. Well, I’ve got a delicious new recipe for you – once you try it, you’ll find yourself making it again and again ………….. but don’t worry you won’t get tired of this one, it’s got a zillion variations*! I served this fresh vibrant salad and yummy dressing with my Quinoa Cakes w/ Goat Cheese & Slow Roasted Tomatoes (yesterday’s post) but it would also be a stellar combination with grilled chicken, pork, beef or seafood.

 If you’re not in the habit of making homemade salad dressing this will be a simple way to begin; you basically just throw everything, except the oil, in a blender, drizzle in the oil ……………….. voila! You’re done in minutes with no artificial and/or unhealthy ingredients!


The salad itself is super simple and very adaptable. I found a  carton of lovely mache lettuce at my local Whole Foods Market. Mache is sweet, tender and beautiful with it’s clusters in tiny green leaves. It’s fairly readily available during spring and early summer months. If you can’t find mache, baby spinach, arugula, bib lettuce or any of your favorite greens will do just fine.

The ingredient list in the salad is short; in addition to the mache I simply added fresh herbs and ………….. edible flowers! I used pansies as the crowning glory – they won’t be around much longer in my yard once the hot North Carolina summer begins. I decided let them have a final fling and we enjoyed their sweetness in our salad. You may have edible flowers growing in your yard that you don’t even know about – check it out here! If not, don’t worry – you’re salad will be delicious even without them.

Don’t wait, whip up a batch of Avocado & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette today. You can also use it with tomorrow’s recipe, another delightful salad and a beautiful, fun, presentation technique for avocados – you’re going to love this one!

Fresh Herb Salad w/ Avocado-Basil Vinaigrette

Ingredients for vinaigrette:

1 medium avocado, slightly soft to the touch but not turning brown
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce*
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tso Dijon mustard
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for salad:
Mache, baby spinach, arugula or your favorite greens
fresh herb leaves, such as mint, cilantro, small basil leaves, etc.
edible flowers, optional

Directions for vinaigrette:
1. In a food processor bowl combine all ingredients except oils, salt and pepper. Puree mixture until smooth.

2. With motor running slowly add the canola oil and olive oill to form an emulsion.

3. Season generously with sea salt and pepper, to taste. If dressing is too thick, thin out with a bit more orange juice. I leave mine a little thicker if using it for a dip, for example with shrimp or crudités.


Directions for salad:
Combine lettuce and fresh herb leaves. Arrange on salad plates and scatter edible flowers decorative among salads. Drizzle lightly with Avocado-Basil Vinaigrette, pass extra vinaigrette at the table.

Notes:
*This vinaigrette is delicious on all sorts of salads. I’ll be sharing another fun recipe tomorrow with strawberries, mango and this yummy dressing. I used it recently on a salad with greens, fresh blackberries, spring onions and toasted sunflower seeds. It is delicious with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and  a sprinkle of Feta cheese. It just seems to go with everything. Use your imagination or just raid your veggie/fruit bin – you just can’t go wrong!





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