Adventures in Salad Making

I love salad. I don’t love it enough to eat it as a full meal (plus, I’m a carnivore) but I relish new opportunities to try these unique combinations of fruits, vegetables, nuts, dressings, and many other adornments. I make my own dressings and put together salads with fruits and vegetables I have leftover in my fridge, and I feel that I am quite inventive at coming up with ways to use up my leftovers. But — and I feel quite guilty admitting this — I’ve never taken a well-developed salad recipe from start to finish. Keep reading to see how I’ve changed my salads from chopped leftover mixtures into a purposeful and deliberate side designed to complement a meal in the best ways possible.

It started like this: “I’ll bring a salad!” I offered to use my cooking energies to make a salad worthy of a birthday dinner, but then I realized that the leftover strategy that I employ for my own dinners wouldn’t quite be good enough for this case.

I wanted to make a salad with a great flavor combination, using some rarer veggies than your average garden tomatoes and cucumbers. Check out this recipe I gleaned from Google search… it’s genius and exceptionally easy.

Spinach Salad with Pear and Avocado

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 6-ounce package ready-to-use baby spinach, stems removed
1 ripe Anjou pear, peeled, cubed
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, cubed
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 ounces)

Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Mix spinach, pear, avocado and onion in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese. Serve, passing any remaining dressing separately.

I am making it today and will let you know how it turns out.Hope you’re having a great weekend! cheers, Jen
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