Cranberry Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds & Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This salad is perfect for a quick lunch, a fancy brunch, a lovely side salad or a complete meal with chicken, shrimp or pork tenderloin piled on top. You can add goat cheese, blue cheese or any other fun cheese that strikes your fancy. It’s wonderful with spinach, Romaine, field greens, Bibb lettuce, arugula… did I miss your favorite? Well, it’s great with that too!

Photo by Johanna V.

PREP TIME

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minutes

TOTAL TIME

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minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

Ingredients

  • DRESSING:

  • 1/2

    cup sugar (60g)

  • 1 1/2

    tablespoons poppy seeds

  • 1 1/2

    tablespoons sesame seeds

  • 1

    teaspoon paprika

  • 2

    teaspoons dried mustard

  • 1

    tablespoon minced sweet onion

  • 1

    teaspoon sea salt

  • 1

    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2

    cup white balsamic vinegar (120 ml)

  • 1/3

    cup vegetable oil (70 ml)

  • 1/3

    cup extra virgin olive oil (70 ml)

  • SALAD:

  • 12

    ounces baby spinach, arugula, field greens (340g)

  • 1

    small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems

  • 2

    medium avocados, peeled and halved

  • 1 1/2

    cups dried cranberries (115g)

  • 1 1/2

    cups candied spiced almonds (115g) recipe to follow

  • CANDIED SPICED ALMONDS:

  • 5

    cups almonds, sliced, or a 1 pound package (600g)

  • 1/2

    cup sugar (100g)

  • 3

    tablespoons butter

  • 2

    teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1

    teaspoon cumin

  • 1

    teaspoons smoked paprika, or more to taste

  • Sea salt

Directions

Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar. Salad: Place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table. Candied almonds: Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel. Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat, occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it’s all melted into a pale golden syrup. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don’t worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar – they will melt as you continue to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool. Note: The cumin and the smoked paprika give just a hint of mysterious, delicious flavor – even though these are savory spices, these almonds are still wonderful served with sweets like ice cream or yogurt.

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