The key for me to really enjoying a salad is all about the combination of ingredients, and perhaps even more important… the dressing. If I have a lot going on in a salad and a really flavorful dressing, I can be happy with a huge bowl of leafy greens for dinner – nothing else needed!
This salad makes the best of what winter has to offer with sweet, juicy oranges, avocados, and a vinaigrette that’s lightly reminiscent of a Caesar salad dressing. Top all of that with buttery walnuts and an added savory touch from the green onions, and you have the perfect salad for dinner. Sometimes I make just a salad for dinner if we’ve had too many heavy meals in a row, and other times I like to grill some chicken thighs to go with it.
The idea for this salad is loosely based off a pasta salad my mom used to make. I just replaced the pasta for mixed greens, but you could also toss this salad with freshly cooked pasta and make a bit more dressing. Mixed greens are surprisingly good mixed in with pasta. Last summer I made a spaghetti with Farmer’s Market mixed greens and fresh tomatoes tossed together with a balsamic dressing. I never had a chance to get the recipe up here because I ran out of summer days first, but it’s so good you’ll probably be seeing the official recipe in a few months, (if this snow ever melts).
On that note, has anyone else totally had it with winter yet!?! Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow but I’m really missing the sunshine, and I’m just itching to climb a mountain. It’s always around this time of year that I just can’t wait anymore for hiking season but it’s too risky, (for me anyways) to get into the mountains because the avalanche danger is really high right before springtime.
I like to start this salad by roughly chopping the walnuts before moving on to the rest of the ingredients. Once the cutting board gets wet from the fruits and veggies, it makes it harder to chop the nuts so I always prep any dry ingredients first.
For the celery I like to slice it as thinly as possible because I find it’s flavor is better in small amounts, that way it doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.
After the oranges are peeled, cut them into eighths before slicing crosswise into little triangles.
I like to use both the green and white parts of the green onions, but if you’re not to keen on the flavor of raw onion reserve the white parts for something where you’re cooking them – like scrambled eggs.
To quickly dice an avocado, start by cutting it in half – then remove the pit by sticking the point of the knife into the bottom end of the pit (this helps it pop right out). Next holding an avocado half in your hand carefully make slices down the length, (be really careful not to cut too hard and slice through the skin into your palm) and finally cut across the strips into little cubes.
To get the cubed avocado out of the skin, I use a spoon to simply scoop it right out. I’ve tried a few methods to cube up and avocado, and this is by far the easiest method once you get the hang of it.
The dressing is easily made by shaking all the ingredients together in a mason jar. You can also whisk them together in a bowl with a small whisk.
If you’re not feeling like firing up the grill in the middle of all this chilly snow, you might try this Easy Herb Roasted Chicken which pairs really well with this salad. As an added bonus it makes the house smell amazing as it cooks, and it’s the beginning of some fantastic Homemade Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup!
- 8 cups pre-washed mixed greens, 8 ounces
- 1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, washed and thinly sliced
- 3 navel or Cara Cara oranges, peeled
- 1 avocado
- 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ Teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- ¼ Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Place the greens in a large serving bowl and scatter the chopped walnuts and celery over the top.
- Cut the oranges into eighths lengthwise. Then thinly slice crosswise into triangular pieces an add them to the bowl.
- Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit by barely inserting the tip of your knife into the base end of the seed and popping it out. Next cut slices lengthwise in each half and then slice crosswise to make small cubes, being careful not to cut through the skin and into your hand. Finally using a spoon, scoop the avocado cubes out and scatter them over the top of the salad with the green onions.
- Make the vinaigrette by placing everything into a mason jar, tightly secure the lid and shake vigorously until the dressing is emulsified. You can also whisk together all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl. Then add the oil in a slow steady drizzle while whisking constantly until all the oil is added and the dressing is emulsified.
- Toss the salad with the vinaigrette or serve the dressing on the side.
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