This Asian-inspired vinaigrette — bursting with flavors of ginger, garlic, sesame, soy sauce, rice vinegar, & honey — is the perfect accompaniment to mixed greens topped with sweet orange segments, crunchy almonds, and creamy avocado chunks.
I realize that it’s fall and that we’re in the throes of comfort food/casserole/crock pot season here, but sometimes I still get a hankering for a good salad. Regardless of season, this salad is one of my favorites. Or I could also say that regardless of salad, this vinaigrette is one of my favorites. I think you could put it on various combinations of greens/veggies/fruit/nuts and it would be delicious.
But in my humble opinion, it’s perfectly complemented by mandarin or clementine oranges, which are conveniently in season through the late fall and winter months. Oranges go especially nicely with almonds (don’t you think?), so I toss those in as well. And while avocado has a relatively neutral flavor, I love the richness and creamy texture that it adds to a salad while mellowing out the vinaigrette.
This vinaigrette is one of the best I’ve ever had. Back when I was a first grade teacher, one of my student’s sweet moms once brought me a salad with a jar of this dressing and the accompanying recipe. From that point on, I was hooked. This gingery vinaigrette has an Asian flair that’s salty from the soy sauce, nutty from the sesame oil, tangy from the rice vinegar, warm from the ginger and garlic, and sweet from the honey.
In summary? It’s a party in your mouth. I really can’t describe to you how perfectly all of those flavors meld together. You’re just going to have to take my word for it and try it for yourself!
Yessiree Bob…you can turn an ordinary salad special just by dressing it with this vinaigrette. But if you also toss some sweet, juicy mandarin segments, cool cubes of avocado, and toasty almond slices onto your bed of greens, your salad course will instantly be elevated to the next level. I’m a sucker for adding fruit and nuts to salads, and this strategy always seems to appeal to my kids as well. However, I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love this particular fruity/nutty salad at first bite, even those who previously professed to prefer their greens unadultered.
When I made this salad last night, I decided to turn it into an entree by slicing up some tasty leftover Panko crusted chicken I had hanging out in the refrigerator, and laying it on top. Would you believe that my kids left nary a leaf of salad on their plates? It was good, y’all.
In the past, we’ve also enjoyed this vinaigrette drizzled over various raw veggies (think red peppers, shredded cabbage, even broccoli!). But if you’re not feeling your greens, this dressing is particularly outstanding at giving an Asian flair to grilled or roasted salmon and seared tuna. If you’re a fan of Ahi Tuna + Ginger, this combo will be right up your alley. (Yum.)
I like to use my mini food processor when I make vinaigrettes. I toss in my garlic cloves and chunks of ginger and process until they’re minced to smithereens. Then I add my other ingredients and whir it all together until everything is well blended. However, you can certainly finely mince (or even grate) your garlic and ginger, and then shake everything up a tightly sealed Mason jar (or rapidly whisk it all together in a big bowl).
Now some of the ingredients that comprise this vinaigrette might not be ones that you already have laying around, but if you buy them once, I promise you’ll be using them to make this vinaigrette time and time again. As for the type of sesame oil recommended, I’ve used regular and toasted before and they both work great. And as with any salad dressing recipe, tweak amounts of this and that according to your tastes. For instance, after you blend everything together and give it a taste, you can always add another squeeze of honey if you prefer your dressing a tad sweeter.
Don’t get me wrong, folks…my crock pot and I are BFFs this time of year. But on a crisp fall day, a salad can also be surprisingly refreshing. If you’re drawn to a variety of textures and flavors, I think you’ll really enjoy this salad. And if you like ginger, sesame, and all flavors Asian, you are going to downright love it.
♥More salad goodness…