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Inspired Salads

June 18, 2016

summer saladAuthor: Lily Mazzarella
It’s Summer, when fresh greens and herbs abound and we’re naturally drawn to lighter foods. Let’s keep with the “vegetable variety premise” from our bowls to make the ultimate inspired salad. Remember: the more vegetables you eat, the greater variety of inflammation-fighting phytonutrients your cells are exposed to!

This recipe is adapted from Al’s Place in San Francisco, which has received a Michelin star, and Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurant of 2015 award. At this amazing restaurant in the Mission, meat and fish are served as sides, and chef Aaron London lets vegetables glow in the spotlight.

For this salad, you’ll be making an herbed avocado “dollop,” a simple dressing, and tossing an inspired mix of young greens and – if you’re lucky enough to get them – edible flowers. Serve with seared salmon, trout, halibut, shredded chicken, or lentil salad.

Ingredients for Herbed Avocado Dollop:

1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.5 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ a lemon; use Meyer if available)
1.5 large or 2 small avocados, pits removed
½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
½ preserved lemon
2 heaped tbsp Cashew Crema
3/4 cup chopped fresh leafy herbs, such as basil, cilantro, parsley, mint

Combine shallot, apple cider vinegar, ¼ tsp salt, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Combine avocado, preserved lemon, yogurt or cashew crema, and shallot plus liquid. Pulse to combine.
Add chopped herbs and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and lemon juice, if desired.

Simple Vinaigrette ingredients:

1.5 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ a lemon; use Meyer if available) or Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp hemp or flax oil (optional)
Pink Himalayan salt and organic black pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together by hand. Adjust for acidity and salt.

Salad Fixings:

*4 cups of mixed mild/sweet lettuces – mache, pea shoots, baby romaine, red leaf, little gem, boston
*2 cups mixed pungent greens – sunflower sprouts baby tatsoi, baby bok choy, arugula, microgreens, purslane (high omega-3!), mizuna
1 cup leafy herbs – see above
½ cup edible flowers: nasturtiums (careful, they’re spicy!), pansies, marigold/calendula petals, fennel flowers, borage flowers, St John’s wort flowers, sweet pea flowers, allium flowers, slivered rose petals
½ cup crushed hazelnuts (other nuts may be substituted)
Flaky finishing salt

*Note on salad fixings: while it would be lovely to have access to all these greens – and you may be able to find most at your farmer’s market – this recipe is a guideline. Use the greens you have access to – but remember to try new ones when you can!

Assembling the salad:

Toss all greens and flowers in large bowl. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of Simple Vinaigrette and toss. Finish with a flaky salt.


Spoon approximately ¼ cup of the Avocado Dollop onto serving plates or shallow bowls, and mound salad on top. Garnish with chopped hazelnuts. Should make about 4 servings, depending on how voracious a greens eater you are! If you’re making this for yourself, only dress one portion of the salad at a time, and keep the Avocado Dollop in the fridge with a layer of lemon or lime squeezed on top to prevent oxidation. Pressing wax paper onto the top of the mixture helps, too.

Add some protein and enjoy as an alternate to your afternoon stabilizer soup!

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