A couple of years ago I became aware of the magic that is agave nectar. I use it in everything from herbal tea to oatmeal, and sauces to dressings. I even use it in Erin's Kick-Ass Hiking Granola instead of honey and it does a great job of sweetening without adding that clover flavor of which I've never been a huge fan. Lately, I've been adding it to salads and I'm excited to share my simple recipe for a light, sweet and tangy salad dressing from agave nectar.
Everyone has their standard favorite ingredients for a great green salad that they serve along their favorite chicken or or pasta dinner. I'm pretty picky when it comes to green salads... I can't stand anything too soggy or wilty, and I don't like a dressing that's too heavy. My idea of the perfect green salad is crunchy, packed with a good mix of sweet and salty ingredients and filling enough to stand on it's own as the main event for dinner. This is my standard green salad for 2018 (so far) with a sweet, light salad dressing made from agave nectar.
- Greens (Use your favorite)
- Red or Green Grapes, halved
- Sunflower Seeds (salted or not, it's up to you)
- Dried Cranberries
- Carrots, chopped
- Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
- Bell Pepper (I used yellow for this particular evening)
- Salmon, broiled or smoked
- Agave Nectar Dressing
- 1/4 cup Canola Oil (Or Olive Oil, your choice)
- 1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Greens Are Good
Wilted lettuce makes me want to throw something. I've recently started storing my greens in the fridge inside my salad spinner and it seems to work pretty darn well. This makes me very happy. It's the little things in life, people.
I'm currently obsessed with this little mix of greens that I can find at most supermarkets. It's a mix of Swiss Chard, Tat Soi, (I have no idea what that is), Arugula and Spinach. Using any of these greens on their own is a little boring to me. But this mix is pretty perfect. The dark greens are packed with vitamins and the Arugula and Spinach add just enough crunch.
Admittedly, with grapes, agave nectar and carrots this is a pretty sweet salad. But who says that's bad? I DON'T! Given my mission to cut back on sugar (I miss you, dear donuts) I welcome anything that gives me a little zing in the sweetness department. But if the stuff I add to this salad are a bit too sweet for you, don't hesitate to trade some of them out for things you like better. That's the beauty of a salad, right? To throw all your favorite stuff in a bowl and mix it together! For me, the abundance of salty sunflower seeds in this salad recipe is the perfect way to balance out the sweetness of the fruit and dressing. But you know, you do you. I won't be mad.
Have It Your Way
I feel kinda silly directing you on how to put a green salad together. You'll notice that in the list of ingredients I don't even direct you on how much of each ingredient to use. Green salads are such a personal thing... everyone has their preference as to how much to use of each item. My basic rule of thumb is to use a lot of the things I like a lot, and a little less of the things that I like a little less. Say that three times fast.
Chop your carrots, rinse your beans, slice your bell pepper and then throw everything in a salad bowl in the amount that you see fit. Have it your way.
Salmon in Your Salad
Nine times out of ten my intention is to have a salad be a side dish. But more often than not I end up chopping up whatever protein I've cooked and adding it to the salad for dinner. Smoked Salmon would be really really really good in this particular salad mix, but what I had on hand this particular evening was a beautiful salmon fillet, which I simply broiled for 12 minutes with a few drops of Canola oil, a pinch of salt and a lot of black pepper.
Broiling a salmon fillet is my favorite way to prepare it, as it gives it just a bit of crunch on the top and keeps it tender and flaky.
Wait til your fillet has cooled before adding it to your salad, unless you like wilty greens. I do not. Don't like em. Did I mention I don't like wilty greens? Because I don't.
Once it's cooled, go ahead and chop that bad boy up however you see fit.
Dress It Up
You could easily make this dressing in a shaker, but I like to whisk. And yes I'm using WHISK as a verb. Throw everything into a bowl and whisk it. Whisk the shit out of it. Make sure that vinegar and oil has become incorporated and you're left with a nice smooth consistency.
Throw those delicious bite sized salmon pieces into your salad, and add a couple tablespoons of your Agave Nectar salad dressing.
You know how to do this part on your own, right? Make sure to give your dog a carrot or two. He deserves it.
Hungry for More
After devouring this salad in under 20 seconds, you'll already be dreaming of how you're going to mix it up and make it again the next night. At least that's what I did. So on night #2 I added some celery to the mix and some biet-sized bbq chicken. Here are the results:
Have You Made This Recipe?
We want to hear from you! Leave your reviews and suggestions for this crunchy green salad in the comments section, below.