the taste space

Strawberry, Avocado and Mint Salad with a Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on July 17, 2012

Yes, I bought more strawberries!

At one point, I had fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries in my fridge. Oh, and Rob’s bananas, too. I am addicted to the fresh fruit. It was a good thing that Rob didn’t buy the case of fresh figs, too.

My Mom is probably scratching her head.. I just told her that I spend around $10-15/week on groceries. Granted, I have a pantry packed with my staples (beans, grains, nuts, spices) and a garden with herbs and greens (kale and collards) which makes things easier. Each week, I basically buy fruits and veggies. Cilantro, green onions and regular onions, too. Garlic and ginger every few weeks. Tofu or tempeh once a month. Veggies aren’t that expensive, guys! My recent grocery glories were zucchini for 39c/lb, bananas for 29c/lb and red pepper for 79c/lb. Oh, and two HUGE bunches of Swiss chard for $1. Suffice it to say, strawberries were on sale for $1.50/lb, so I got some more.

During my week of the salad, I tried so many different leafy salads. I am not that heavy with salad dressing, so they last a long time. I still have dressings left over. I need more greens! I also like variety, so I tried yet another dressing. This time, though, I made less. This is a simple dressing to put together, so I can easily whip it up again. And I will because it was glorious. Roasted hazelnut oil. Balsamic Vinegar. Chocolate. Need I explain more?

Oh wait, please, let me tell what I paired the decadent chocolate balsamic vinaigrette with: Strawberries. Avocado. Mint. Toasted Almonds. Raw Cacao Nibs…… oh, and lettuce, too.

Pray-tell, was it the lettuce that made you swoon? I thought not! ;)

I know some people don’t like fruits in savoury dishes (not me!) but here I am left scratching my head wondering whether this should be dessert or an appetizer. Does plating something on lettuce automatically relinquish this from being a possible dessert? Anyways, I ate this for dinner. And it was delicious.

With chocolate crepes, coconut cream and cherries and raw strawberry pudding pie for breakfast, it seems like I am eating dessert all day long!

This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, to this week’s Wellness Weekend, to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this week’s Summer Salad Sundays and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Strawberry, Avocado and Mint Salad with a Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette
Adapted from Choosing Raw

4 cups lettuce, coarsely torn (baby spinach would be great here, too)
1 cup strawberries, washed, destemmed and quartered (any fruit would work here)
1 cup avocado, sliced (from 1 small)
1 tbsp mint, slivered
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbsp raw cacao nibs (they give a great crunch) (optional)

4 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp hazelnut oil, or oil of choice
1 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1/16 tsp salt
2 tbsp water, or to thin to your desired consistency

1. Begin by making your dressing: Mix together the balsamic vinegar, hazelnut oil, cacao powder and salt. Thin to you desired consistency with water. The cacao powder may not dissolve very well but that is ok!

2. For the salad, plate the lettuce, top with strawberries, avocado and mint. Add almonds and cacao nibs just prior to serving.

Serves 2.

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27 Responses

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  1. Kevin (Closet Cooking) said, on July 17, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    I am really liking the sound of this salad! The use of the cacao powder and nibs sounds amazing!

  2. sprint2thetable said, on July 17, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    $15 a week on groceries?! I am totally impressed.

    I cannot wait to try this dressing. Chocolate in a salad may be the best idea you’ve ever had. :)

  3. Johanna GGG said, on July 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    wow that does sound like dessert for dinner – sounds like an amazing salad – almost right for our winter here in Oz

  4. Kammie said, on July 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    LOVE this <3 looks like such a lovely tasteful salad

  5. Flavors of the Sun said, on July 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    This is certainly the most intriguing salad dressing I have seen a long while. I live in Mexico, where we use chocolate in many savory ways, but I have never tried it in dressing. Cocoa nibs, yes. But the raw powder no. Until now. Will definitely try this!

  6. Jane said, on July 17, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    That does sound so interesting and good! I’m addicted to fresh fruit too … I have so much right now, including strawberries! Think I will need to try this salad stat!

  7. Fuss Free Helen said, on July 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    This looks lovely! I do like chocolate balsamic, try filling a bottle 1/3 full of cocoa nibs and topping up with balsamic and leave for a good few weeks to infuse. Delicious.

  8. Eileen said, on July 17, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Your fridge sounds just about like ours–we have strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, peaches, cherries, and lots and lots of plums. Salads like this sound like a perfect way to eat my way through all that fruit!

  9. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on July 17, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Wow I am impressed with your grocery bills! I don’t think mine has ever been that low even if I was just buying produce. Teach me, oh wise one!

    This salad sounds heavenly- I would probably eat this for breakfast. In fact, I have all the ingredients. Sounds like it’s gonna happen :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on July 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

      I can totally share my foodie tips for Toronto! I wish I still lived close to my favourite grocer, but I have been just fine without it! Lots of opportunities for cheap, healthy eats if you make it yourself. :)

  10. Kasandra Bracken said, on July 17, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    In this Toronto heat, salad is all that will do for me, too! We are craving the same things :) Chocolate balsamic is quite the daring move, but I like the idea of it paired with strawberries, I think I might have to give this a try!

  11. Richa@HobbyandMore said, on July 17, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    it is finally summer here and lots of fresh beautiful roduce waiting to be eaten.. made a similar dressing a while back with melted chocolat and balsamic!

  12. Joanne said, on July 17, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I am definitely so intrigued by this chocolate twist! And jealous of how cheap your produce is! Man, if I could only spend ten dollars on all those veggies a week…

  13. Homemade by Fleur said, on July 18, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    One word…amazing! I love the way you are pushing the boundaries and making a salad with ingredients that are just not commonly used. It sounds very impressive. Thanks for entering this months simple and in season.

  14. [...] Strawberry, Avocado and Mint Salad with a Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette (tastespace.wordpress.com) Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterDiggRedditTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  15. Kahakai Kitchen said, on July 22, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    That salad is so pretty and I love the sound of the dressing–perfect with the strawberries. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  16. easynaturalfood said, on July 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Cool, Janet, very cool! Strawberries and chocolate – love it!

  17. [...] second dressing is a Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette by The Taste Space. Such an amazing idea, and sounds so [...]

  18. [...] of sweet and savoury, and the second amazing entry from The Taste Space is this lovely sounding strawberry, avocado and mint salad with a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette.    Strawberries and chocolate in a salad, I would never have been brave enough to try it on my [...]

  19. [...] I know, I thought this was going to be the year of shopping at the Big Box Grocers, too, but it turns out I found a local ethnic grocer, Welcome, that meets the majority of my needs, including all my Thai ingredients, and falls within my budget. [...]

  20. [...] boldly stating that I can easily munch through a weekly food budget of $15, I had a few people suggesting I share my tips. I have been meaning to write this post for a while, [...]

  21. [...] is still down-to-earth, delicious and easy. I have made many of her recipes (there are too many to count, ok plus these, too), and I have bookmarked many more to [...]

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