Arugula-Avocado Salad w/ “Out Of This World” Tangy-Sweet Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad with Avacado, Spiced Candied Almonds and Roasted Blueberry Vinaigrette

Food blogger Jennifer Farley has a strong opinion about bottled dressings. “There is absolutely no reason to ever purchase a bottled salad dressing,” she declares. “They’re usually full of weird ingredients that aren’t part of a healthy diet.”

Farley notes that all you need to make your own dressing is a blender or “just a jar with a tight lid to shake.” The blueberry-infused dressing she created for the arugula salad featured here is a case in point. (Click here to see salad recipe.)

The dressing pairs oven-roasted blueberries with balsamic vinegar and our fruity Arbequina extra virgin olive oil. “It creates a tangy, naturally sweet vinaigrette that’s out of this world and unlike anything you’ll buy at the store,” says Farley, who pens the blog Savory Simple.

Farley’s salad – made with baby arugula – also includes sliced avocado as well as spicy, candied almonds. The almonds are first tossed with a combination of Arbequina, maple syrup, ground cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt, and then roasted in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 20 minutes.  (Click here to see recipe.)

Speaking of salads and dressings, we asked Farley for her tips about how to make your own at home.

When making a salad dressing, do you have a preferred ratio of extra virgin olive oil to vinegar?

Technically the correct ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar; but I like a bit more acidity in my vinaigrette. I usually go 50-50.

What types of vinegar do you like to use in your dressings?

Mostly balsamic and red wine vinegar, though I have some amazing flavored oils and vinegars that I love to add. I don’t include them in blog recipes since people won’t have them on hand. I have fig balsamic, peach balsamic, butter olive oil, etc. I highly recommend checking out specialty shops to find them.

What are some of your favorite things to add to a basic green salad – i.e., vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.?

I almost always add fresh or dried fruit and some toasted nuts. Sliced Medjool dates are amazing.

Can you briefly describe your favorite grain salad so that our fans could try to replicate it in their own kitchens?

I love using farro and sorghum in salads. One of my favorites is a butternut squash cranberry sorghum salad. (Click here to see recipe.)

Farley, by the way, is so passionate about creating homemade salads that she’s devoted an entire blog to the topic. (Click here to see blog.)

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch