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Early morning, time to make lunches. We had almost everything I needed for a couple of rocking southwestern salads, so I pulled all my ingredients out and got to work. No radishes in the house, so I used yellow bell pepper for extra crunchiness, and I went for pinto beans instead of black beans because, well, I felt like it.

Ingredients for Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado Citronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

All of the ingredients, ready to go.

Ingredients:
(Serves one as a meal.)
4 cups of arugula.
1/2 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced.
2 mandarins, peeled and sectioned.
2 scallions, sliced.
1 fistful of fresh cilantro.
Zest of 1/2 a lemon.

Southwestern Avocado Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T fresh lemon juice.
1/2 avocado, spooned into jar.
1/2 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp cumin.
1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado Citronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

The finished salad, ready for the dressing to rain down and the fork to attack like lightning.


Since I was making two salads, one for me to eat at home and one for my husband to eat at work, I doubled all of the ingredients listed above. I started by laying down my lovely beds of arugula — mine in a bowl, his in a stainless steel container with a tight fitting lid. I rinsed and drained the pinto beans, setting them aside in a sieve to drain a little more while I worked. I zested the lemon over the greens, and crafted my salad dressings in twin jars. In this case, that included measuring out the ingredients, and spooning the avocado into the jars as well. I shook them up and tested them by dipping a leaf of arugula into the citronette and tasting for salt and flavor balance. I peeled and sectioned the mandarins. (Yes, they are far more beautiful when they are sliced open and the jeweled fruit is exposed, but those plain little membranes keep the citrus juices from wilting the greens.) I chopped the yellow bell pepper, the scallions, and the cilantro, and added all of my ingredients to my beds of arugula. I nestled my husband’s jar of citronette in with his salad and snapped a picture before popping the lid back on.

Salads just don’t take that long to make — twenty minutes or less of chopping and mixing, and you’ve got a deliciously nutritious meal, for now or later.

Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado CItronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

Here's the same salad, packed to go!


The Verdict:
You know what I thought of this. I loved it. Juicy citrus, creamy beans, crunchy bell pepper, peppery arugula… This is a can’t fail recipe for me, and, once again, it succeeded.

Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
Done.

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Improvising for dinner again, I needed a kid-friendly salad to accompany the chicken tacos they wanted. I went for a southwestern citronette, happy for a chance to play with the ingredients for one of my favorite salads.

I pulled a heart of romaine and some arugula out of the fridge, and grabbed a yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, a cucumber, cilantro, scallions, and of course some citrus fruits. Impressed by the beautiful colors, I snapped a picture and got to work.

Ingredients and Recipe for Salad with Sweet Southwestern Citronette, Arugula, Avocado, and Navel Orange

Here are the ingredients, ready to chop.

Ingredients:
(Side salad, serves 4-6.)
1 heart of romaine.
2-4 cups of arugula.
1 fistful of cilantro.
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced.
1 avocado, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
5 mushrooms, quartered.
1/4 english cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced.
3 scallions, sliced.
1 navel orange, skin sliced off, quartered and sliced.
Zest of one navel orange.
Zest of one lemon.

Southwestern Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T lemon juice.
1 tsp maple syrup.
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp cumin.
1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe for Salad with Sweet Southwestern Citronette, Arugula, Avocado, and Navel Orange

Tossed and ready to serve!


While the chicken for the tacos cooked, and my husband crisped the corn tortillas, I created a gorgeous bed of salad greens and zested the citrus fruit over the top. Then I juiced the lemon and prepared my citronette in a small jar. I doubled the maple syrup this time (from my typical half of a teaspoon for this type of salad to a full teaspoon). I’m not sure why I did that — in part to appeal to the kids, but it also just tasted right to have a sweeter dressing with the spicy arugula.

With the citronette made and mellowing, I started chopping and adding vegetables to my bowl. I saved the avocado and the navel orange for last so that the avocado would be lusciously green and the citrus juice wouldn’t wilt the lettuce.

Recipe for Salad with Sweet Southwestern Citronette with Arugula, Avocado, and Navel Orange: Plated

On the plate and ready to enjoy!

The Verdict:
The salad was delicious. It worked really well with the tacos, and was devoured by everyone at the table. Complete success!

Make it a Meal:
Easy enough — add pinto beans, black beans, leftover chicken, steak, carnitas, or shrimp, and then sprinkle some corn chips over it for extra crouton-style crunch.

Pack it to Go:
Avocado and orange need to be packed in a jar with the salad dressing. The rest of the salad is fine in a nice large glass or stainless steel container with a good rubber lid. Nestle the jar in the salad container and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, simply shake the dressing and pour it over the salad. Use only what you need (use a fork to pull the yummy fruit out of the jar without getting more citronette than you want). Fork toss your salad, or put the lid back on the salad container and give it a few good shakes to combine. Enjoy!

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