On New Years Day, we were invited to a friend’s house to celebrate her husband’s birthday. She asked if I could bring a green salad, which ummm is something that I rarely make. And yes, I know I need to more often (see yesterday’s post on my New Year’s Resolutions). Unfortunately, the migraine got me. I had purchased the ingredients for what I thought was an ingenious salad, but I ended up spending the entire day in bed in a dark room avoiding all noise, light and thought of food.
So much for my salad at the party. Fortunately, yesterday I was feeling better, and I didn’t want my ingredients to go to waste, so I decided to make the salad for myself. The only issue was the missing heads of Romaine that I had purchased. Apparently my husband had gotten ambitious and made a Caesar Salad (which hmmm I just realized I’ve never posted here – definitely something to rectify). This would explain why I thought I smelled garlic at some point on Sunday. I readjusted what I was making but still created a pretty tasty salad for myself. It would have been great with the Romaine, so I’m going to pretend like I was able to make it the way I’d intended. You’ll play along, right?
Tomato Avocado Salad
2 heads Romaine lettuce
4 medium avocados
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro
1 1/2 c corn, fresh or frozen
1 c black beans (dried and prepped, if possible)
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c lime juice
juice of 1/2 orange
1/2 c olive oil
1 t salt (or more, to taste)
3/4 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
(I did forget to buy some green onion, and that would be a great addition to this, thinly sliced and mixed with the veggies)
Prepare your black beans, soaking them overnight then simmering them for an hour and a half until they are just tender. Personally, I am not a fan of canned black beans, as I find them too mushy and they would be especially in this recipe, I think.
Wash your Romaine, and cut it into chunks. Make sure it is dry before you put it into the salad. You can do this ahead of time, and cover it in the fridge with paper towels to keep the Romaine nice.
If you are using fresh corn, roast it so that it is just blackening, then cut it from the cob. If you are using frozen corn – which of course I did in January – heat it in a nonstick pan until it starts to brown a little bit. It adds a great roasted flavor when you do this, and it’s super easy. Make sure to let the corn cool fully before you add it, as you don’t want to cook the rest of the ingredients.
To make the dressing, place the red wine vinegar in a blender (I used my immersion blender with the deep container is comes with, which is a super easy way for me to do dressings), along with the lime juice, half of one of the avocados (remove the skin and pit!), the cumin, chili pepper, a half cup of cilantro, the salt, and the juice of the orange. Blend it until it’s completely emulsified and a nice thick consistency. Feel free to taste it and adjust it to your liking. It will have a little bit of a kick, but this is what we’re going for. Refrigerate this until you’re ready to serve it. Making this ahead and letting the flavors meld is a benefit. You can always whip it up again just before dressing the salad if needed.
Slice your grape tomatoes in half, and chop your remaining 3 1/2 avocados into largish chunks. Remember that avocados tend to crumble as you stir, so you want to leave them relatively large. Chop your remaining cilantro.
Place the Romaine into a bowl, and dress it. You will most likely not use all the dressing, and that’s fine. Start by putting about half on the Romaine and toss it, then slowly add some more until you get to what looks good to you. Add your veggies and beans atop the dressed lettuce and pour just a bit more of the dressing atop these. Gently toss one more time
Add all the veggies and the beans to a bowl, and stir gently. Serve immediately, and feel really healthy about what you’re eating. And yes, I’m eating some of my leftover salad right now. It’s still awesome. Without the Romaine, this would be a great dip with tortilla chips or – like I’m eating it – just by itself.