If there’s one thing that can distract me from any stress in my life, it’s being in the kitchen. Two people that I love dearly have not been feeling very well lately. Not having the power to wave a magic wand to make them all better is frustrating. So, I tend to head toward the kitchen for solace. Usually, I’ll pull out my largest pots and cook up some comfort food, but today, with the sun shining and the air finally feeling warm, creating a very bounteous salad seemed to do the trick.
I’m convinced that my best ideas and recipes come from those moments when I either have nothing in the fridge and so many great plans or when I have way too much in the fridge with no plans at all. Yeah…take a moment to decipher that. This is one of those times when I very absentmindedly went grocery shopping and just threw everything into the cart with no plans at all and not much concern. It all worked out in the end. My overloaded fridge provided a great palette to create this beautiful salad.
I love papaya. The trick is to allow it to take a little siesta on your countertop until it is golden and gives a bit to the touch. If you do, it will be sweet and wonderful. Papaya is a great source of Vitamins A and C and potassium. Along with juicy strawberries, they add a great balance of sweetness to this salad that’s loaded with so many great flavors. I love the bits of creamy and tangy blue cheese, the crisp cucumber and the buttery avocado bites. It all comes together with a lemony vinaigrette with one of my newest favorite ingredients…ground sumac. If you can’t find the sumac, it is fine to leave out, but it just enhances the citrusy notes so much. I even sprinkle additional sumac on top of the whole salad…it’s that wonderful!
- 8 cups your favorite mixed greens
- ½ large papaya, seeded and cubed (use a whole small papaya)
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ pint yellow grape tomatoes
- ½ english cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (omit to keep this vegan)
- Lemony Vinaigrette with Sumac:
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey (use pure maple syrup to keep this vegan)
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a jar or small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- On a large platter, arrange your mixed greens. Top with the remaining ingredients and as much dressing as you’d like. There will be plenty left over to use on other salads. If you’d like, sprinkle a bit more sumac on top. Serve.