Intro: Spinach Salad With Fruit, Nuts, and Sesame Lime Vinaigrette
A light, fruity spinach salad that works especially well with seafood.
Step 1: Acquire Greens
Go find yourself some nice, yuppie, E. coli-free baby spinach. Fully-grown spinach, romaine, or another strong-leafed lettuce will do; it just needs some structural integrity to stand up to the toppings.
Wash and dry your greens. Chop them into bite-size pieces if necessary, and add them to a large salad bowl.
Step 2: Add Fruit & Nuts
Peel and chop two oranges. I find it easiest to cut the top and bottom off the orange, then use my big sharp knife to slice away the skin on the sides. The orange flesh stuck to the peel makes a nice snack for the cook. Then cut the orange in half vertically, flip the flat side down, and slice across the segments to create ~1/4" pieces. I usually give another cut directly down the middle to cut these slices in half. The picture should be much easier to understand if the instructions are confusing.
Core and chunk two apples. Leave the peel on, and determine what "bite size" means to you.
Add a handful of toasted almonds, chopped in half, a handful of toasted cashews, and a handful of coconut chips. Chopped macadamia nuts, toasted pecans, or toasted peanuts would also work nicely; use what you've got.
Step 3: Add Vegetables
Chop tomatoes into bite-size pieces and spread over the top.
Thinly slice purple onion, chop into ~1 inch lengths, and add to the salad.
Other good things: grated carrot, chopped cucumber, finely chopped purple cabbage, sprouts, small chunks of jicama, and chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint. Again, use what you've got.
Step 4: Prepare Dressing
Juice one large (or two small) limes; this gave me almost 1/3 cup of lime juice, then add the following:
~2 Tablespoons sesame oil
~1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
~2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
~2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or honey or sugar)
~1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 small clove garlic, grated
salt & pepper to taste
Mix up your dressing, then give it a taste. It should taste sweet and fruity, but with a bit of an acidic lime bite and some depth of flavor from the sesame oil and garlic.
Step 5: Serve
Dress and toss the salad just prior to serving. Be careful not to let all the toppings end up on the bottom.
This salad works particularly well with seafood, and is light and fruity enough for summer or a winter reminder of warmer days. If you use a resilient lettuce this can also make great breakfast leftovers.