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Sunny Summer Salad

By Nancy Eisman
Image of Savory & Sweet Seasonal Salad
The sun usually shines bright here in Southern California, but coastal fog occasionally rears its gloomy head. On days like this I like to lighten things up by combining colorful, seasonal fruits and vegetables into a sensational salad.

Once upon a time there was a tale of two salads. Savory salads to enjoy as a prelude to a meal or as a light lunch or dinner entrée. On the opposite spectrum, pieces of sweet fruit are often a fresh breakfast starter, or a light, refreshing end to an evening meal.

Our relationship to food, cooking, and eating has come a long way, and today we no longer segregate vegetables and fruits. The culinary revolution of the last 20 years has opened minds and mouths to embrace the colors, flavors, and textures of ingredients, regardless of their label, in any recipe we choose.

Besides being fresh and delicious, salads are culinary champs because they are filled with nutrition and fiber to bring your palate and entire body slowly and steadily to satiety. Feeling satisfied, but not too full now and hungry again later, is one step towards more healthful portion control so we’re happy with less.

No salad would be complete without a splash of dressing, and for the icing on this recipe I whipped up a cashew-creamy Green Goddess. A beautiful shade of green from the fresh cilantro, dill, mint, and fennel fronds, and with a diced jalapeño kick, this is the perfect topping for this savory and sweet sunny summer salad.

Savory & Sweet Seasonal Salad
Image of Ingredients
1 cup fennel bulb, cubed
2 honey mangos, peeled and cubed
1 large avocado, cubed
2 organic white nectarines, cubed
1 cup watermelon radish, cubed
1 cup cape gooseberries, capes removed, washed
½ cup red onion, cubed
½ cup dried tart cherries
1 cup organic walnut pieces
2 kiwis, peeled and cubed 1 large head of red cabbage
Fennel fronds, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish

Green Goddess Dressing

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 6 hours, drained ½ cup water 2½ tablespoons olive oil ½ cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh mint
¼ cup fresh fennel fronds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon white pepper
Sea salt, to taste

To make the dressing, combine the soaked cashews and the water in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Add the olive oil and process again. Add in the remaining ingredients and process until combined. You can add more water and/or olive oil to make the dressing smoother. Adjust seasoning and herbs to your personal preference. Set aside.
Image of mixing salad
To assemble the salad, first carefully peel 4 bowl shapes from a large red cabbage, and place each one on large luncheon or dinner sized plates. Also create 4 smaller red cabbage bowls for the dressing. Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl, toss, and then divide the mixture into the larger red cabbage bowls. Pour the Green Goddess dressing into the smaller red cabbage bowls and set one next to each salad. Garnish with fennel fronds and mint leaves.
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