Whenever I cook for other people, I am torn between trying a new recipe on unsuspecting partners in crime, or sticking to some tried-and-true recipes. I battle between knowing a dish will be great, to the possibility that I might find a new dish I love as well! Or if I don’t, others will help me eat it (just kidding!). Certainly some dishes lend well to large gatherings, like creamy lettuce salads.. because they just don’t last until the next day.
So when I was confronted with meeting (many!) strangers over a potluck, I erred on the side of trouble, and a large salad (salad = trouble ? No way!). Thankfully, this gamble paid off. I taste-tested it before I brought it over, so I knew I wasn’t doomed to disaster.
I must admit I don’t make many creamy dressings, and my only mayonnaise is Japanese (courtesy of okonomiyaki cravings), but the majority of this dressing was entirely avocado. It was pretty scrumptious and the green onions had a small kick of heat that balanced out with the avocado nicely and while I omitted the hot sauce, I am sure it would have been nice for those who enjoy more spice. The Romaine and chips had nice crunch that complemented the rich creaminess from the dressing. The black beans were a nice addition too. I am reminded how much I love creamy salads and now I have to wait for another grand gathering to make such a monstrous salad a second time. Enjoy!
This dish was adapted from Noble Pig, and also spotted at Krista’s Kitchen. It is my submission to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring Mexican soups and salads as well as this month’s My Legume Love Affair hosted by The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Now that I have moved into a small apartment, I try to declutter as much as possible. An easy way not to accumulate junk is not to start hoarding in the first place. This is easier said than done, as I am a self-professed hoarder, but one thing I have relinquished are my magazine subscriptions. I find them not very high-yield if I want to find something and they store terribly.. hence, I try to stop them from coming through the door to begin with.
However, one magazine that I love, and borrow from my mom regularly is the Nutrition Action Health Letter. It is basically the consumer reports of food, healthy food. It is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an independent non-profit consumer health group promoting healthy eating. I like that there is science behind their articles and they explain it in a down-to-earth manner. Articles range from cover stories that explain why whole grains are important, investigating claims of specific foods (ie. comparing yogurts with probiotics, omegas, fibre, etc), exposing how many calories can be found in restaurant meals (ie. The Keg), comparing foods side-by-side consumer report style ala healthy (ie. the best salad dressings, oatmeals, etc), and providing healthy recipes. And as a Canadian, I appreciate that their Canadian version truly is geared for Canadians and the products on our shelves (they also have a US version).
This recipe was adapted from the January/February 2008 newsletter and I really enjoy its simplicity. I find the orange complements the red lentils well. Personally, I do not like too much spice, so I leave out the chili flakes, but I find it nice with the garlic alone. Certainly you could add more flavour with other ingredients should you choose.