Slowly the temperatures are warming up, which means our eating habits are changing. We’re eating more fresh salads and less rich stews, and today I’ve partnered up with some of my favorite brands: California Olive Ranch, California Avocado Commission, Almond Board of California, and OXO Kitchen Products, to bring you a few ideas on how to make some Fresh Bright & Light recipes!
Once the weather starts warming up, my body craves fresher foods, and that’s where this Spiced Grain Salad with Avocado Raspberry-Chipotle Dressing comes into the menu. It’s a mouthful of a name and just as hearty in your belly! Although whole grain based, the additions make it a light salad that is easily put together with a dressing you’ll be making yourself at home!
Now, I know some people love their salads to be simple: a couple of soft lettuce leaves, a light drizzle of olive oil & vinegar. Well, this salad is definitely the opposite! When I crave salads, I crave hearty salad that will keep me satisfied as well as give me enough energy to get through the day without starving. Thanks to our great partners in this campaign, this is achievable with a few steps:
- Make sure to use the freshest olive oil you can find, and if you live in the USA, that will be California Olive Ranch olive oil. It hasn’t traveled thousands of miles from a far away land in Europe, thus making the flavors real and pronounced. Learn to taste olive oil with California Olive Ranch.
- When making creamy dressings, you’ll need an emulsifier. What’s an emulsifier? It’s basically an ingredient that holds together your dressing so it doesn’t separate, typically mayonnaise or mustard do the trick but for this recipe we used nature’s most delicious fat a.k.a. avocados from California. Learn to select, store, and ripen avocados with California Avocados.
- Throw in some protein! Did you know that a handful of almonds has as much protein as an egg?! With six grams of protein per ounce of almonds, they’re a great source of energy and a great addition to any salad. Be sure to toast them to bring out their nutty flavors. Learn more about the healthy benefits of almonds with the Almond Board of California.
- Pack in some extra flavor! You’ll notice I used a Raspberry Chipotle Spice Blend, made by fellow blogger Farmgirl Gourmet and her company Spiceologist. Be sure to check it out!
And when making this salad, I can’t forget to mention that having great tools is what makes this such a breeze to make! I’m not one for frilly, useless gadgets so I stick with OXO (and they don’t pay me to say that, it’s 100% true!) For example, in this recipe I used their avocado slicer, hand-held mandoline, and this cutting board. Oh also, did you know OXO has some great knives? As a professional chef, I’ve used knives from Japan, Germany, and everywhere in between, but OXO knives really are sharp and extremely awesome. I ordered their 6 inch Chef’s Knife and it totally impressed me; for less than $15, I was not only impressed, but shocked it actually was a great knife!
Spiced Grain Salad with Avocado Raspberry-Chipotle Dressing
for the salad:
- 2 cups red quinoa cooked and cool
- 1 cup sorghum cooked and cool
- ⅓ cup dried blueberries
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup slivered almonds toasted
- 5 small radishes sliced and cut into matchsticks
- fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 cups fresh spring mix greens
for the dressing:
- 1 small avocado diced
- 3 ounces California Olive Ranch Arbosana Olive Oil
- 1.5 ounces vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Spiceologist Raspberry-Chipotle Blend
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- To make the salad: toss all the ingredients except the spring mix greens until everything is evenly incorporated. On serving platter, place a bed of greens and place the grain mixture on top.
- To make dressing: using a blender/immersion blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth and season to taste.
- To serve: Drizzle the dressing over the grain salad, as well as serve extra dressing on the side.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by California Olive Ranch. Be sure to enter the Salad Bowl Recipe Contest, great prizes and fun weekly drawings!