Saturday, August 17, 2013

#TheSaladBar: Avocados...Avocado-Mandarin Orange Salad with Citrus-Cilantro Dressing

This month, The Salad Bar is featuring one of my favorite salad ingredients: avocados! Their creamy texture and rich flavor allows for maximum creativity. This month, I challenged participants to create a salad that incorporates avocado into the salad...or includes it as an ingredient in the dressing. I love avocados, but Michael isn't a huge fan. Luckily, I love him enough to overlook this huge flaw in his DNA! That meant I needed to come up with a recipe that allowed me to make it easy to serve him a portion of salad with just a bit of avocado. Not that I minded that just meant more avocado from me. Not only are avocados delicious, they're an excellent source of heart-healthy fat, vitamins and potassium. Not bad for something that tastes so amazing! I wanted to make a side salad for a Mexican dinner this week, so I made Avocado-Mandarin Orange Salad with a quick homemade Citrus-Cilantro Dressing.
This salad pairs creamy avocado with brightly flavored citrus. I complemented this pairing with tangy feta, purple onion and sliced almonds. Just before serving, I made a quick citrus-cilantro vinaigrette and gave everything a toss. This light salad was the perfect Summer side for an enchilada bake I made: refreshing and not-too-filling.

Avocado-Mandarin Orange Salad
with Citrus-Cilantro Dressing
a Weekend Gourmet Original

  • 4 cups organic baby field greens
  • 1/2 large avocado, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 cup mandarin orange segments [Note: I used Dole jarred mandarin oranges packed in juice].
  • 1/4 cup thin slivers of red onion
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta (or queso fresco)
  • 1/3 cup sliced candied almonds 
  • Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lime, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tbs. agave nectar (or honey), 1 tbs. dried cilantro and salt & pepper to taste

1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a measuring cup or small bowl. Whisk well to dissolve the agave/honey and combine the ingredients. Refrigerate the dressing until you're ready to toss the salad.
2. Add the salad greens to a serving bowl. Arrange the avocado chunks and mandarin orange segments on top. Sprinkle with the feta, onions and almonds. Chill until you're ready to serve dinner, because this salad tastes best well chilled. Just before serving, add the reserved dressing and toss with tongs to evenly coat the salad. 

This salad is so refreshing: creamy avocado, a citrus kick from the manadarin oranges and the kick of onion all work very well together. Add a bit of salty-tangy feta and some crunchy almonds, and you've got a great side dish! The citrus-cilantro dressing works great's sweet-tart and allows the richness of the avocado to shine. I served this as a side salad, but you could easily make it a light supper by adding some grilled chicken breast or shrimp.

Make sure to see all the great avocado recipes that my #TheSaladBar participants are sharing today. You can also follow The Salad Bar's Pinterest board, which contains all of the salad recipes we've shared over the past couple of months! We have 700+ followers and growing, and there are lots of great salad recipes.

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