Pear and Avocado Salad with Blue Cheese and Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Growing up, I didn’t eat salads. I avoided them like the plague and only after years of my stalwart resistance did I finally cave and make the concession that I would eat other family member’s croutons. Now that I enjoy a very hearty salad before dinner nearly every night, I look back and can’t help but chuckle (especially when I compare myself a a child to my three year-old daughter who also enjoys her salad nearly every night…with not a crouton in sight).

As summer ramps up, I can’t help but feel inclined to mix up the salads a bit more to keep things interesting. In this case, the salad itself was light but the flavors were sharp, crisp, and creamy with bits of acidity all from the like of avocado, pear, and blue cheese. It was all brought together by a surprisingly lively dressing that would be very versatile on many a salad and sure to delight: lemon ginger vinaigrette!

The dressing has a creamy, opaque golden-yellow color with a smooth dijon-tinged foundation and the punchy, zesty flavors of lemon and ginger filling out the high notes. It has just the right level of acidity and sweetness to balance things out and it will brighten any bowl of salad greens with a gingery burst of citrus.

  • Salad (serves 4)
    • red lettuce
    • 1 avocado
    • 2 pears
    • ~1/3 of an onion
    • 2 handfuls walnuts
    • crumbled blue cheese
  • Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette (yields ~400ml)
    • 2/3 cup olive oil
    • zest + juice 2 lemons
    • 1.5 inch knob of ginger
    • 1/4 white onion
    • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1 tsp ponzu sauce
    • 1 Tbsp dijon
    • 1/8 cup water
    • 1 Tbsp apricot preserves and/or orange marmalade

To make the salad, well, just make a salad. Chop up the lettuce, slice the onion into thin rings, chunk up the avocado, cut the pear into wedges, and toss it together in bowls. Top with some crushed walnuts and blue cheese (to taste).

The dressing is equally simple. Zest and juice the lemon into a food processor/blender. Peel the ginger and toss that in with the lemon as well as all the remaining ingredients. Let this blend for a minute or two until it comes together and bottle it up, being sure to refrigerate the leftovers (if it separates, just give it a shake, and it becomes too thick, add a little water).

Enjoy!

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