a salad in san diego

It’s hard to believe that one week ago, I was getting on a plane to San Diego.

OceanAny time I’ve ever been to SD, it’s so hard to leave. I always end up going in the summertime, which of course makes it that much more difficult to leave the cool sea breezes in exchange for the never-ending drudgery of 100+ degree temps back in Phoenix.

While the weather was a nice bonus, the main goal of my trip was to visit with my dad. It had been over 2 years since I’d seen him last, and it was so great to catch up. He’s halfway through his chemo treatments and doing relatively well, all things considered! He’s had a few minor setbacks but so far it hasn’t been anything he can’t handle.

Since he was diagnosed, he has radically changed the way he eats, namely going all organic and mostly vegan. He’s incorporated chicken and fish back into his diet occasionally, to increase his protein intake because he’s lost a lot of muscle mass since he’s been sick. Before my trip, I talked with him about making a dish for him that I could post on my blog, and he thought it was a great idea. The only challenge I had was coming up with something that he would be able to eat!

Back last Thanksgiving, I made a wonderful recipe for vegan green goddess dressing from Oh She Glows. I’d been looking for an excuse to make it again and I figured a bright salad drizzled in that pretty green dressing would be perfect. While brainstorming ideas, my dad said he loves pears, so we came up with a fruity and savory salad that I garnished with organic edible flowers — it’s my tribute to all the pretty flowers that seem to be planted on every corner in the San Diego area. This one’s for you, dad! I love you!

kale salad with pears, pistachios + grapes
with vegan green goddess dressing

(serves 2)

adapted from ohsheglows.com
(yields 2 cups dressing; enough for several salads)

1 garlic clove

1 cup packed organic avocado (about one medium avocado)

1/2 cup packed organic parsley

1/2 cup packed organic basil leaves

1/2 cup packed organic green onion (green tops only)

12 Tbs water

5 Tbs cider vinegar

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

for the salad

5 oz package organic baby kale

1 ripe organic pear, sliced thin

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup organic red grapes, halved

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup salted roasted pistachios

1/4 cup fresh shaved parmesan cheese

edible organic flowers, optional

Begin this organic salad adventure by making the dressing. In a food processor or a blender, chop the garlic clove until it’s very finely minced. Add the avocado in chunks, along with the parsley, basil and green onion. Pour in the water, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Turn on the blender/food processor and blend until the dressing is smooth and all the herbs are fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl/blender as needed, and continue processing until everything’s all well mixed. Pour the dressing into a jar and set aside in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. This dressing keeps beautifully for a few days in the fridge, so you can make it well in advance if you’d like!


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For the salad, wash all your produce well. Chop up the baby kale into bite sized pieces if desired. Throw the kale into a medium sized bowl and toss with about 6 tablespoons of the prepared dressing. You can start at 4 tablespoons and go up from there if you want a very lightly dressed salad. Set the dressed kale in the fridge while you prep the fruit and cheese!


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Halve the pear lengthwise and cut each half into thin slices. Set them aside and halve the grapes. Using a vegetable peeler, grate some long pieces of parmesan cheese off of a larger block, and crumble them up slightly if you want. Now, it’s assembly time! Grab your dressed greens from the fridge and divide them up on two serving plates. Arrange half of the pear slices on top of each mound of kale, followed by half of the sliced grapes. Sprinkle on half of the pistachios and half of the parmesan cheese. Garnish with a few grinds of fresh black pepper and a few edible flower petals, if you’re using them.

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Easy as pie! A pretty, colorful, delicious organic salad for your scarfing pleasure. This salad was great as a light lunch, but you could also serve it as a side dish for your main meal. It’s perfectly light and has great textural contrast and sweet and savory elements all mingling together. My dad approves!

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As I said earlier, the dressing can be kept for a few days or up to a week in the fridge in a jar or some other airtight container. It’s awesome as a dip for raw veggies or chilled tiny boiled potatoes! Use it as a sandwich spread in place of mayo, or as a sauce for grilled chicken — the possibilities are almost endless. Of course, it’s best on a fresh, bright salad like this one, full of healthful and delicious ingredients that will make you feel like a million bucks. Here’s to you, Dad, and may you keep your strength and sense of humor as you continue on your recovery. With love…


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