With warmer weather comes salads in all forms. And while I try to eat salad as either a side dish or main dish at every meal, I don’t always succeed. So I throw in fruit or nuts or weird crunchy or chewy things that add interest to my good-for-me greens. Here’s one I came up with today.
Flashback to my salad days
Back in my college days my friends and I used to haunt various affordable food joints with mostly run of the mill offerings and quirky hours. There was a 24-hour diner in the East Village that served salad from dawn to dusk and every hour in between, but it wasn’t the salad that was notable- it was the dressing. Every single bowl of salad was served with a tangy carrot dressing that made us all swoon in ecstasy. It didn’t matter if the lettuce leaves were brown or wilted; it made no difference if the tomatoes were perfectly ripe or vaguely beige- it was the carrot dressing we craved. I swear, I can’t remember the number of times one or more of us would declare that we could guzzle the dressing plain and forget about the salad.
Recreating a carrot-infused favorite
Fast forward a bunch of years and a bunch of fad diets and life changes and events and I’ve still never been able to fully duplicate that magical elixir that transformed a humble lettuce leaf into a culinary masterpiece…so I stopped trying. Instead, I’ve been making variations of this carrot dressing for a while now, with one notable difference. While I once pureed the whole thing in an effort to recreate my favorite dressing ever, this time around I left it chunky and chewy and delicious enough to eat with a spoon, or to use as a dipping sauce.
For the salad:
3 cups of leafy greens – I used spinach
1 medium size tomato
1 red Holland pepper (or the pepper of your choice)
1 medium beet (use a prepared version, either from a can, roast your own, or use one from the vacuum packs you can find at the grocer).
1/2 cup blueberries
1/3 cup pitted cherries
1/3 cup roasted cashews
For the relish:
2 medium size carrots
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove finely minced
1Tbsp. soy sauce
1 small knob fresh ginger (about the size of a scant teaspoon)
1/4-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (depending on your taste)
Wash all fruit and veg and pat dry or use your salad spinner or whichever kitchen gadget you have handy.
Cut tomato, pepper, beet and cherries into small pieces and add to salad along with the cashews and blueberries. (reserve a few blueberries or cashews for garnish)
In a food processor (or use a grater) chop carrots until they have a thick texture. Add sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, ginger and the vinegar and process again. Keep adding vinegar until the taste is tangy enough for you. Add enough water so that the consistency changes, but not enough so that it’s smooth. You’re going for chunky here.
Divide salad between plates. Add a healthy dollop of carrot relish dressing to every plate, saving the most for your own. Garnish with a random blueberry or cashew.
Till we beet again,
Did you make this recipe? Hashtag it #EvolvedFoodie and share on social media or below if you’re so inclined. I love to see your delicious dishes!
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