Orange, Avocado, and Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

The past few weeks have been a bit hectic around here.  Most of the time, I thrive on compact schedules and rise to the occasion.  And then there are those moments when the train is unexpectedly delayed, when you’re already running late, and when you’re caught in an epic downpour without an umbrella which leaves you drenched in five seconds and therefore despising the world in general. When those moments are plentiful and patience runs thin, slowing down seems like a pretty good idea.  I’m having a hard time keeping my attention in one place, so not a lot of energy has been devoted to cooking my meals. But, alas. Hopefully things will get back into a regular rhythm soon and I’ll be able to share some more complicated and involved recipes with you.

To continue with my not-heating-up-the-kitchen theme of late, I made this salad for dinner.  I love to make vinaigrette dressings because they’re so endlessly adaptable, and the citrus flavors here go really well with the avocado.  How I made it so many years without eating avocado is beyond my comprehension.

This salad is light and best as a side dish, but can be made into a complete meal with the addition of some grilled shrimp or chicken.

Orange, Avocado, Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
(serves 4)

For dressing:
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
2 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For salad:
10 oz baby spinach leaves
2 navel oranges, cut into segments
1 large avocado, cut into slices
1/2 cup pecans, toasted

For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients except for oil.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well combined.  To serve, toss the salad ingredients with the dressing.

*You can use other citrus zest and juice for the dressing, such as grapefruit, blood orange, lemon, or lime.

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