Creamy Avocado Dressing

Like me, you probably did your share of holiday indulging ( no, we weren’t counting those pigs in a blanket per se), but now it’s time to try to undo the damage, i.e., unwanted pounds, by walking that straight and narrow path of good intentions known as New Year’s Resolutions.  I resolve to eat my meals on smaller plates, and to make those meals healthier.  Ha!  Here goes….

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Hopefully that will be a little easier with this incredible salad dressing.  It’s creamy and seems quite indulgent, but its thick texture and rich taste come from healthy avocados.  Toss it with lettuce, cucumbers, and halved cherry tomatoes for a simple salad, and you’ll feel like you’re being bad, when you’re really being so good!

Makes a simple salad feel indulgent.

Makes a simple salad feel indulgent.

CREAMY AVOCADO DRESSING

Very few ingredients.

Very few ingredients.

Yield:   Makes  1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted  (I used 1 large Florida avocado)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  Scoop the avocado flesh into the bowl of a food processor.*  Add the garlic and lemon juice and process until coarse.

2.  Add the vinegar and process until the mixture begins to look smooth.  Gradually add the olive oil and mix until totally smooth.  The texture can be thinned by adding a little water of desired.

3.  Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer it to a storage container.  The dressing will keep for up to three days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

IMG_6094

*  No food processor?  Don’t feel like getting your big processor “dirty” with this small recipe?  Do this instead.  Make this dressing much like you would make guacamole, by using your trusty potato masher.  Be sure to mince the garlic well first, and add both the vinegar and oil gradually until the texture is smooth.

Another use for this mixture is to toss it with cooked quinoa or bulgur for an easy grain salad.

SOURCE:    Pure WOW

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Three B’s Salad: Beets, Brussels Sprouts, and Bacon

Roasted Beets, Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Salad

I subscribe to quite a few food magazines.  More than I should probably, because I’m always 2-3 months behind in my reading of them, but I love to look at them and get ideas, or try new recipes.  In the issues that have arrived this Fall I have noticed a great emphasis on the use of Brussels Sprouts for salads.  I don’t think I would ever have thought of making them into a salad, but once introduced to the idea I gave it a shot, and this is the one I tried.

The recipe’s biggest attraction for me was the use of roasted beets with the Brussels sprouts, and bacon as a garnish adding another level of flavor.  The dressing is lemon based instead of vinegar with olive oil and a little mustard.  I had golden beets on hand, so that is what I used in this salad.

ROAST BEETS, BRUSSELS  SPROUTS AND BACON SALAD

SERVINGS:     4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends and outer leaves removed

    Golden beets, roasted.

  • 3-4 beets, roasted    You can find my method for roasting beets here.
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and drained on paper towel
  • 1 bag salad greens of choice, or leaves of Romaine
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

ASSEMBLING THE SALAD

1.  Bring a pot of salted water to boiling.  Drop in the Brussels sprouts, bring back to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.  Drain immediately and immerse or rinse with cold water to stop the cooking action.  Drain throughly and pat dry with paper towels.

Brussels sprouts after blanching.

2.  Slice each of the sprouts into thin slices,  about 1/4 inch thick.

Slice the sprouts into 1/4 inch slices.

3.  On individual salad plates, make a layer of salad greens as a base for the remaining ingredients.  Cover with the sliced Brussels sprouts, then wedges of roast beets, and bacon crumbled over the top.

Layering on the vegetables and bacon.

4.  In a small bowl or cup whisk together the lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.  Drizzle over each salad before serving.

A very nice mixture of flavors and textures.

My reaction to this innovative salad:  I was pleasantly surprised by how well these ingredients worked together.  I particularly liked the saltiness of the bacon with the vegetables, and the Dijon mustard in the dressing enhanced the Brussels Sprouts, giving me the thought that mustard would be good to add to a sauce for Brussels sprouts when they are served hot as well.  This salad is filling and nutritious.  I served it with a meatless pasta dish for a hearty meal.

SOURCE:   Eating Well

Dressed to Impress

During this most recent bout of super-warm weather I’ve been trying to come up with meals that are cool and refreshing to eat, and don’t require the generation of more heat in my kitchen. The end result has been a variety of salad plates that incorporate greens, raw or cooked vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, bits of cooked meats like ham, chicken, or steak and cheeses. More and more often I’m including fruit in my salad plates, and also in my side salads.

The dressing you use on a salad should compliment each of the ingredients, and turn the various parts into a cohesive whole. When fruit is part of the mix, I think the dressing should be a little on the sweet side. I’m not quoting any rules here, that’s just my opinion! So I came up with a salad dressing that I feel is complimentary to any salad that has fruit in it. What started out as a regular oil and vinegar salad dressing, became one that contains a little sugar and a tiny amount of Almond extract. That subtle flavor of almond makes all the difference. Here’s how to make it:

ALMOND VINAIGRETTE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons MALT vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a screw-top jar combine oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and almond extract. Cover and shake well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Chill.

Some of the salad combinations I have used it on include:

1. Mixed greens with red grapes, sliced pears, celery, crumbled feta cheese and walnuts

2. Mixed greens with roasted golden beets, mango, and green onions.

3. Mixed greens with thinly sliced fennel, orange sections and pistachios.

4. Romaine lettuce, roast red beets, orange sections and walnuts.