Posts made in February 21st, 2012
At our Valentine’s Day dinner last week, the chef served us a starter salad that was incredible. A bed of roasted purple potatoes, topped with fresh arugula, shallots, shaved asparagus and toasted almonds all dressed in a creamy, tart avocado vinaigrette. It was so ridiculously good that Babyface got halfway through his plate, glanced at his beer and said, “This salad is so delicious that I totally forgot to drink the beer.” Salad trumping beer? It must be something special. Even more so, I thought I hated arugula but in this dish, it was absolutely perfect. Obviously, it was the work of a well-trained, talented chef. The layers of flavors and textures were complex and interesting. And if Babyface actually touched his beer, he would have known that it paired perfectly with the small pour of Upland Wheat we were served.
Basically, it was the god of salads.
I knew immediately I had to try my hand at recreating it. If it was possible to make me want to cram greens into my piehole, I had to harness that genius in my own kitchen. After some thought, I realized the real super star of the salad was the vinaigrette. While all the individual elements were amazing and came together in a beautiful veggie-rific symphony, the vinaigrette was what really set everything off. I highly doubt I’ll ever pull together a salad of arugula, roasted purple potatoes and shaved asparagus, but I might be willing to spoon some of that vinaigrette on a standard mixture of greens and top it with some toasted almonds. And that I did. Dare I say, it was almost as good as the salad we were served?
The avocado in this dressing makes it so silky creamy that you’ll have a hard time believing there isn’t diary in it. Use good olive oil and fresh, bright lemon juice and you’ll have a new house dressing. This stuff now lives in a bottle in our fridge.
On the nutritional front, it’s hard to think of a better salad dressing for you. Avocados are packed with healthy fats, fiber, and vitamin K. Avocado flesh also helps the body to absorb two key antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene. Want to make sure your body gets all the antioxidants it can from your garden salad? Just add some avocado or this dressing and your body will soak ‘em right up.
The healthy fats in both the avocados and the olive oil helps the digestive tract to absorb nutrients, help keep inflammation down and help to lower the risk of heart disease. I bet your bottle of ranch dressing can’t say the same thing. Although, man, I love me some ranch dressing with breadsticks from Aver’s...
Creamy Avocado Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: None
Makes: 12 servings
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
NOTE: Some people have said that this recipe is way too tart for their tastes. I’ve made it quite a few times (it’s a summer staple for us!) and still love it, but if you aren’t a big fan of tang, try reducing the vinegar to 1/3 cup and use only half a lemon.
- In a food processor, combine avocado, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Run processor until very smooth and creamy.
- With processor running on low, stream in olive oil through the shoot until just combined.
What’s your favorite salad dressing?
1. I eat pears with knives. I think they are too messy to eat “apple” style.
2. I’ve been tracking my food again for an assignment in my nutrition class, and it’s forcing me to realize that my intuitive eating might not be as sharp as I thought it was. Since I’ve stopped tracking food over the past year, portion sizes have gradually increased and so have the number of treats. I might just keep tracking for a few weeks to refresh my memory of what is a correct portion size. Sigh. Does the battle to find balance ever end?
3. I’m thinking about going for my first ever spray tan before we go on our beach vacation next month. I’m not even all that concerned about being “tan” I mostly just want to match. For years I didn’t wear shorts or skirts because I wasn’t happy with my body. Last year, I started to wear them, but my legs are still about 10 years behind the rest of my body when it comes to color. Top half of my body=dark complected. Bottom half=pasty white. I look like two halves from two different bodies. I’m scared. Tanning places are scary. And I don’t want to turn out orange.
4. I forget my age. All the damn time. I know I’m not 30 yet, and I know I passed 25 a while back, but other than that, I’m usually totally lost. Why is 28 so hard to remember? TWENTY EIGHT.
5. My purse pretty much always looks like some sort of bomb went off inside of it. And I certainly can never find anything in it. I managed to even “lose” an apple in it. By the time I found it a few weeks later, it looked like this. Gross. I really need to stop carrying huge, pocket-less purses.