Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fruit salad

Sometimes, for me, the salad makes the meal.

For years, I never made or experimented at restaurants with a green salad that wasn’t your basic lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper mixture topped by some gooey dressing. Gotta love that gooey, fatty dressing!

But in recent years, my husband and I have loved experimenting with new salad combinations, and, more than anything, new dressings we make ourselves.

Twice this summer, we’ve made a delicious salad using a fruited dressing recipe of my sister’s. The dressing is so delicious and so simple to make using an envelope of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix. I saw this recipe again when I was thumbing through a school cookbook my sister helped with several years ago. Susan has several ideas for the toppings for this salad, but I tweaked that (of course) and used what I had on hand each time I made it.

The first time we made the salad dressing, which uses the juice of an orange, I topped my romaine lettuce with chunks of fresh orange, crunchy gala apple and toasted, sliced almonds. The citrus-based dressing was the perfect complement for my choice of ingredients.

I had planned to make the same salad the second time, but when it came time to assemble the salad, I realized I didn’t have any apples (which is unusual for me.) So instead of oranges and apples, I used oranges, fresh blueberries and toasted pecans. Both versions were so delicious! And I was a happy girl when I realized there was salad dressing for leftovers the next day.

I’m sure many fruit and nut combinations would work with this salad. I’d love to try strawberries, blueberries and oranges with toasted pecans or walnuts. And I know all versions would be delicious as a main course salad topped with strips of grilled chicken.

Salads are so perfect for these hot summer days, and I hope you’ll give this easy one a try.

Orange Dressing
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar because it’s what I had)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (I squeezed my own)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (0.7 oz.) envelope Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
Combine ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Store in refrigerator.

Use on a variety of fruited salads. I’ve used romaine lettuce topped with chunks of apple and orange or romaine topped with oranges and blueberries, both sprinkled with toasted nuts.

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