Avocado is a delicious addition to salads and smoothies. Because of its high-fat content and silky texture, it's also a perfect base for salad dressings. Filled with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—the "good" ones—all those fatty molecules help carry other flavors around your mouth, making the salad taste even better.
For this dressing, choose ripe avocados. They should have a little give to them, but not be too soft and should have smooth skin. Because avocados oxidize rapidly and change color from bright green to gray within minutes, this dressing is best when made right before eating the salad. Although the vinegar will keep it green for a while, it tastes best when mixed in at the last minute.
- 1/2 to 1 avocado (peeled, no pit)
- Optional: 1 shallot (minced)
- Optional: 1 clove garlic (grated)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Black pepper (to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
Mash the avocado (1/2 for a lighter consistency, a whole one for a thick dressing) at the bottom of a salad bowl.
If using, add the minced shallot and grated clove of garlic and mix well with the help of a small whisk.
Whisk in the red or white vinegar and the Dijon mustard. Mix well.
Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil, start with half, and check the consistency. If you want it silkier and smoother, add the other half of the oil. It all depends on your preferences and on how much avocado you used for the recipe.
Add the sea salt and taste the dressing. Adjust the seasoning and add a dash of freshly ground black pepper.
- This dressing is tasty on plain lettuce and really lovely on peppery greens like arugula or mizuna, the pungent flavors of which are toned down by the creamy avocado. It also serves as an excellent foil to something hearty, like kale. Once dressed, let the kale sit a bit to soften in the dressing.
- If you only use half the avocado, be sure to cover the remaining half and leave the pit in as is. The pit and a tight cover (like plastic wrap or a special avocado holder) will help keep the remaining flesh green. Store the remaining half in the refrigerator for a day or two.
There are lots of ways to play with this basic dressing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar.
- Whisk in avocado oil, sesame oil, or your favorite salad oil instead of olive oil.
- Add a minced chile, but be sure to start with very little, taste it, and add more if needed.
- Throw in some fresh cut herbs like cilantro, mint, dill, or parsley.
- Add soy sauce or Tamari instead of salt.
- Grate in some fresh ginger or galangal.
- Use one tablespoon of poppy or sesame seeds to add some crunch.
- Add crispy bacon to the salad. The earthy meat pairs really well with this fresh and vibrant dressing.