Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Avocado Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

I am still stuck here studying, so for lunch I wanted something light.  Nothing heavy that would put me into a stupor or, worse yet, a food coma.  After my trip to the produce section the other day, I had lots of choices, but I didn't want anything that was going to take too long either.  I thought about making the delicata squash, but that was more involved than I wanted today.  The computer and online classes were waiting for me, after all.  Then I decided to check the avocados that I bought last Thursday.  They were really firm and unripe when I brought them home, but I just left them on the counter, knowing that in a few days they'd ripen into little ovals of creamy goodness.  Well, today was that day!  I grabbed one and gave it a squeeze.  The avocado gave a bit but wasn't super soft.  That's just how you want them:  not too firm or too soft.  It might take a little while to find that right balance, but it's worth it when you do.  (I've heard a lot of people say that they don't like avocados because they are flavorless.  Here's my answer to that.  Either you picked one that wasn't ripe enough, or you just didn't use the right things to bring out the flavor.  Lime juice is the most common, and simple, addition to avocados.  It enhances the natural flavor like nothing else can.  Try an avocado with lime juice, a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of cayenne, then tell me it's bland!)

One of my favorite ways to have avocados, besides the above-mentioned, is in guacamole.  LOVE IT!  However, eating a bunch of salty chips might not be the best food conducive to studying.  I decided, instead, to go with a nice salad.  I had green leafy lettuce, a nice orange bell pepper and some green onions that just begged to be included.  The thing that tied it all together was really the dressing.  At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, which I am most certainly not, it was not too sweet, not too tart, not too smoky and not too spicy.  It blends all of those qualities beautifully, and compliments the avocado, and salad on the whole, perfectly.

Here's you Cast of Characters.

Handful of lettuce, torn up (I used green leafy, but you could use red leaf, romaine or bibb.)
1/4 Of an orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
2 Green onions, chopped
2 Sun dried tomato halves, the dry-packed not oil-packed, chopped
1 Avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

For the dressing:

1/4 Cup, each, olive oil, honey and lime juice
1 Teaspoon, each, kosher salt and cumin
1/2 Teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon, each, freshly ground pepper and cayenne pepper

Arrange lettuce, bell pepper, green onions and sun dried tomatoes on a plate.  For those of you who don't know the easy trick to pit and peel an avocado, I'm going to show you.  Cut the avocado in half.  Take a large, sharp knife and CAREFULLY whack the pit.

Then, twist the knife until the pit comes out.

Use a tablespoon to run around the edge of the avocado, loosening the skin.

When you've gone all the way around, simply "pop" the avocado out.

Chop into chunks and place on the salad.  Doesn't it look gorgeous, already?!

Next, in a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.

Whisk until well combined.

Drizzle over salad; and be prepared to be amazed at how good it is!

The honey makes it just thick enough to cling to the avocado and lettuce.  Doesn't it look delicious?  Here's a hint - it was!