Apricot Spinach Salad with Avocado Basil Dressingby Tori Avey June 26, 2018
Did you know that avocados have been considered a potent aphrodisiac throughout history? When Montezuma shared avocados with Cortez and his fellow conquistadors, the Aztecs explained that their name, ahucatl, was inspired not only from their physical appearance, but also because of their ability to incite romantic passion. The Aztecs believed in the aphrodisiac power of the ahucatl so much that they would not allow young women to leave the house while they were being harvested.
When Louis XIV found his aging libido in need of reviving, he turned to the exotic avocado for help, nicknaming the fruit la bonne poire (the good pear). The Sun King may have been on to something, as avocados are rich in vitamin E, which boosts the immune system and helps give skin a youthful appearance.
Avocados are abundant in Southern California markets this month. While we enjoy them year round here in California, this season seems to produce the best tasting avocados. Most of us go by feel when we check for ripeness, but there is another quick trick. If you remove the stem of the avocado and look inside, you can see the color of the fruit – if it’s dark green or turning brown, you should probably use it as soon as possible. If it’s bright green, it should be good for another day or two.
Instead of turning all of your avocados into guacamole, I suggest getting creative with the recipes below. One is for a delicious summer salad topped with an avocado basil dressing, while the other is a vegan alternative to egg salad made with smashed chickpeas and avocado. Both have a bright summery flavor and are fantastic on their own. Pair them together for an avocado-inspired feast. Serve them to your love interest, and who knows what might spark? Enjoy!
Apricot Spinach Salad
with Avocado Basil Dressing
3/4 cup unsalted raw walnuts or walnut pieces no shell
12 oz. baby spinach cleaned and sorted
5 whole ripe apricots pitted and sliced into 6-8 pieces each
1 cup ripe avocado diced
1 cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 heaping tsp. salt
You will also need: skillet, salad bowl, blender
Kosher Key: Parve
Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown and smell toasty. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine spinach, walnuts and apricot slices in a large salad bowl and toss gently to combine. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Do not over process in order to preserve the color. If the mixture is too thick and not smooth enough to easily pour, stir in water a tablespoon at a time until the proper consistency is reached.
Serve salad portions drizzled with dressing. The dressing may be made a few hours ahead; store it in the refrigerator with plastic wrap touching the surface of the dressing to prevent browning. Best made the same day you serve to preserve color and freshness of flavor.
Chickpea Avocado Salad
with Lemon and Dill
1 ripe avocado
1 3/4 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned and drained 1 can
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice or more to taste
1 1/2 tbsp. freshly chopped dill
Salt and pepper to taste
You will also need: Small mixing bowl, potato masher
Kosher Key: Parve
Add the chickpeas to a small mixing bowl and cut the avocado into chunks. Add the avocado and the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl and mash together using a potato masher. I like to leave a little texture, but you can make the mixture as chunky or smooth as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste, and more lemon juice if desired. Serve the salad on toasted bread, with crackers, scooped on top of salad, or however you might use egg salad.