Branches are blooming, spring has sprung and I’m craving fresh, simple meals to escape the squash-based soups we’ve lived on all winter. That first CSA basket can’t come soon enough!
This salad is my take on one my Mom and I had at the quaintest little cafe and market in Palm Desert. I have to admit that I had a hard time finding fun, local places to eat in the desert with fresh and healthy options. It seemed you were limited to chains or super expensive, haute cuisine. When we stumbled upon this place during one of the guys’ golf days, we felt like we’d hit the jackpot.
It didn’t hurt that they had two large glass displays full of glossy fruit tarts, sky-high cakes and delicate french macarons, right as you walked in the door. We poured over the menu, and finally settled on sharing “The Environmentalist Salad” and some pasta with a walnut pesto. Perhaps it was all the sun and sand that drove us to an entirely green meal, but the combination was absolutely wonderful nonetheless. Fresh herbs, tangy green-goddess dressing and creamy Parmesan melting over top our piles of pasta. It was the best meal we had on the trip and I’ve been craving that salad ever since.
Green goddess dressing gets a bad reputation for being stuck in the 80’s, but since learning how to make it a couple of years ago when I worked at Paley’s, I’ve fallen hard for it. Now that I’m unable to indulge in a great deal of dairy, I wanted to come up with an alternative that tasted just as good. Some avocado and coconut milk did the trick and I’m so looking forward to incorporating this dressing into all kinds of dishes this spring.
- [b]Green Goddess Dressing:[/b]
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
- 2 bunches fresh basil
- 3 stalks of fresh tarragon
- 3 stalks of fresh mint
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil + more as needed
- 1/2 cucumber, shaved or sliced thin
- 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
- 1 head romaine, loosely torn
- 1 head spinach, loosely torn
- 3 scallions, sliced diagonally
- 2 avocados, sliced thin
- 1 cup parsley, picked
- 1 cup cilantro, picked
- For dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more olive oil or lemon juice to adjust consistency and season to taste.
- For salad, prepare vegetables and drizzle with dressing once plated. Dressing is heavy and will wilt the greens too fast if tossed. Season with s&p.