Are there certain foods that just seem to make you happy?
You know the ones… they often evoke pleasant memories or perhaps bring to mind a special person who lovingly prepared them.
Some might immediately think of chocolate while others find just the thought of caramel makes them smile. Perhaps it’s some special treat that your mama or a favorite aunt used to make.
It doesn’t have to be something sweet though, actually for me, it’s just the opposite…
It’s fresh fruit and veggies of varied hue and assortment that thrill me. Maybe it’s because they were somewhat rare and quite expensive when I was growing up in the northern United States. My grandmother planted a big garden each year, providing us with great produce in the summer months. The rest of the year… not so much. We were raised on lots of canned vegetables and fresh fruit was, for the most part, reserved for special occasions.
Each year, part of the loot in our Christmas stockings, was oranges and tangerines. We were as delighted with them as we were with the hard candy, the bright, foil-wrapped chocolate Santas and the traditional candy canes. We hoarded the sweet citrus fruit carefully, making them last as long as possible.
It’s funny because to this day, my first intoxicating whiff of fresh oranges in the cold months brings back a zillion pleasant memories. And when I’m shopping and see mounded displays of big juicy oranges or little wooden boxes of clementines stacked high, it always brings a smile to my face.
So I’m calling this Orange and Avocado Salad with Peanut Hoisin dressing my, “happy salad”. It’s bright, fresh and super healthy and, after all the rich, sweet, heavy holiday food, it’s the perfect way to get back on track.
Oranges and avocados are, to me, a match made in heaven. The sweet vibrant citrus flavor is a wonderful complement to the creamy, mild, almost buttery avocado. Combined with a peppery, zesty green like arugula, a handful of thinly sliced red onions and a scatter of salty peanuts, this salad is pretty as a picture, and loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Then there’s the delicious peanut-hoisin dressing, which ties everything together and will have you craving this salad again and again. It’s super simple to throw (literally) together as everything – peanut butter, hoisin sauce, garlic, fresh ginger, lime juice, honey soy sauce, Sriracha, canola oil and fresh basil – are simply added to a blender container and whizzed up, till silky smooth. It took me six tries to get this dressing just right, but I think it’s perfect now.
Give this wonderful, beautiful, flavorful winter salad a try. I think you’ll see smiles around your dinner table, and who knows, you might even notice a few little happy dances going on because, after the holiday indulgences, you’re once again, treating your bodies so kindly!
P.S. The dressing is also wonderful drizzled on grilled chicken, pork or seafood or as a dip for fresh veggies.
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Orange and Avocado Salad with Peanut-Hoisin Dressing
Fresh and delicious with sweet oranges, creamy avocado, crunchy peanuts and the most delicious sweet-salty-spicy dressing. You’ll want to pour it over everything!
- Category: Salad
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoon water, add more if too thick
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 8 medium fresh basil leaves
- For the salad:
- 8 cups arugula
- 2 large oranges, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 large avocados, peeled and cored
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- Peanut Hoisin Dressing
- Combine all dressing ingredients, except the basil, in a blender container. Mix on low for 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium high and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Add basil and pulse a few times till basil is finely chopped.
- For the salad, place lettuce in a large serving bowl. Add oranges, avocados and red onion. Toss lightly then drizzle with some of the dressing and sprinkle peanuts over the top. Pass extra dressing at the table.
- Serving Size: 6