Recipe: Spinach Fig Salad

First and foremost, your favorite bummed out baker (I hope that’s me) is PUBLISHED! I tied for third place in a flash memoir contest (750 words or less) put on by Writer Advice. I wrote about the last time I saw my brother, which was about ten months ago. I visited him under the bridge he was living under. Read my piece called “The Bridge” here.


Greetings! If you live in NYC you know spring has semi-sprung, but who knows. I’m actually still bummed out about the fact we didn’t get a terrible, north-of-the-wall-type winter including several feet of snow that requires staying indoors for unending weeks of darkness and the family golden retrievers to high step around in the snow shoes they hate, (deep breath) but I’m trying to get on board with sunny weather.

I know I’m a bit premature on the fig scene (optimum time = summer), but this salad is so simple, lovely to look at and tasty and can inspire your salad creations for months to come. It’s an easy, healthy recipe and the dressing is so good it makes me mad. I licked the spatula. :(

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 c walnuts, roasted
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T dijon mustard
1 t maple syrup
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 big, giant handfuls fresh spinach
4 figs, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced
~1/4 red onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and roast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for five minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, maple syrup, sea salt, and pepper in a blender and set aside.
  3. Assemble salads, dividing ingredients evenly between two plates: spinach, figs, avocado, onion, walnuts and, finally, drizzle it all with dressing. Serve immediately.
undressed (just like that MTV show from the early 2000s)
dressed to impress
tastebuds will be wilin’

Serves two, or perhaps one ravenous person.

There will be leftover dressing, which is something to rejoice about. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week for future salad concoctions, or drink it straight.

Adapted from Spinach Fig Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.


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Recipe: Crack Italian Dressing

 

Fresh salad dressing is so simple that once you find a recipe you love, you’ll wonder how you ever bought bottled dressing. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and everyone loves it. Seriously, it’s been nicknamed my crack dressing. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

1 T garlic salt
1 T onion powder
2 T dried oregano
1 t black pepper
1/4 t dried thyme
1 t dried basil
1 T dried parsley
1/4 t celery salt
2 T sea salt
1/4 c vinegar*
2/3 c oil*
2 T water
1 garlic clove, minced

*For this rendition I used apple cider vinegar and hazelnut oil because it’s what I had on hand. Vinegar ideas: champagne / red wine / white wine vinegar, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar. Oil ideas: olive, canola,  pumpkin. Feel free to be creative with the vinegars and oils you use.

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  1. Mix together garlic salt, onion powder, oregano, black pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt, and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. Pour vinegar, oil, and water into a jar or dressing shaker.
  3. Add 2 T of dry mix and the minced garlic to liquid mix. Store remainder of dry mix in an airtight container.
  4. Seal and shake dressing until well combined.
  5. Toss desired amount of dressing into salad and keep the remainder in the fridge for up to a week.
  6. Next time you need salad dressing, simply repeat steps 2-5 until dry mix runs out.

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This dressing is fabulous over greens, but it’s also awesome over veggies (raw or cooked) and grains.

Serves 4-6.

Adapted from Italian Dressing Mix.