I’ve sat here for a while now just staring at that photo and wondering where in the world to even start! How in the world can a photo and my simple words impart to you how glorious this salad dressing tastes? And the answer is, they can’t. Ever. Even if you had a scratch and sniff feature on your monitor, it still wouldn’t come close to letting you know how wonderful this stuff is!
So let me tell you how I came to make this dressing. I was having a little luncheon earlier this summer. And I wanted to serve something fairly light and with a tropical feel. So I already had this salad in my head, but you just can’t put a heavy bought salad dressing on it. So I started pondering what in the world I could use. And I began formulating this in my head not having any idea how it would turn out in the end.
Here’s what you’ll need:
You will need some White Balsamic Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Italian Salad Dressing Mix, Orange Blossom Honey (or regular honey will work too), and an orange. You also need a small can of orange juice concentrate, but I got a little trigger happy and started making this before I remembered to take the picture for you. WHOOPS! My bad!
Start out by pouring the thawed can of frozen orange juice concentrate in a mixing bowl. Make sure your bowl is large enough that you’ll have room to whisk this once you start adding the oil.
Next add the honey. Doesn’t that look neat!?
Now add the packet of Zesty Italian Dressing Mix.
Pour in the white balsamic vinegar. If you’ve never bought this for making your own salad dressings, I can’t even tell you how amazing it is. Please, please, please do NOT substitute any other vinegar for this. Regular balsamic will not give it the same flavor, nor will red wine, white wine or even cider vinegars. So PLEASE use White Balsamic Vinegar for this! The little bottle is around $3 and WELL worth it for this fabulous dressing!
Next, zest the orange into the bowl. Orange zest smells SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! I love citrus zest! The flavor it imparts to a dish is unbelievable!
Finally, whisk in the olive oil. Make sure to really whisk so it emulsifies. If you don’t, the dressing will separate.
And when you’re all finished, pour it over your delightful salad.
This salad was actually very simple, with the exception of making the fruit skewers. They weren’t difficult to make, just a little time and labor intensive. But you could easily just place pieces of cut up fruit on this salad. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
* 1 bag mixed baby greens
* green onions
* red bell pepper
* English cucumber
* red grapes
* honeydew melon
* fresh pineapple
* goat cheese
* almond/pecan/peanut clusters
Place mixed greens on a plate, top with vegetables and fruit. Drizzle with salad dressing then sprinkle with goat cheese and nut clusters. Serve immediately.
Orange Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
* 1 small can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
* 1 packet Italian Dressing mix
* zest from half an orange
* 1/3 cup orange blossom honey
* 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
* 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until emulsified (it no longer looks like separate ingredients.) And keep in mind that if you like your vinaigrette a little more tart, add a little more vinegar than this. If you prefer a little sweeter taste, add more honey. You don’t have to follow this recipe to the letter. It’s all about your OWN taste buds and what satisfies them.
OK, now let’s talk about some of ingredients. You’re probably sitting there saying, “Amy, what in the cat hair are almond/pecan/peanut clusters?” So here’s what happened. I planned to use honey-roasted almonds for this. But alas, the friendly neighborhood Kroger didn’t have any. But on a shelf above the nuts, I found this little bag of almond clusters:
So that’s how they came to be on this salad. If you can’t find them, you can use regular almonds, slivered almonds, smoked almonds, honey-roasted cashews, most any nut you’d like to use. So don’t sweat it if you can’t find those little clusters.
Goat cheese? “Seriously, Amy?” Yes, seriously! Don’t be hatin’ on the goat cheese. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. It is so creamy and delicious! Please trust me on this! If you’ve never had goat cheese, don’t be afraid of it. It’s WONDERFUL! It doesn’t have the bite that feta or any of the varieties of bleu cheese have. It’s very mild and delightful. Give it a shot if you’ve never had it before! I wouldn’t lead you astray!
And that’s that! A wonderful salad dressing for a nice, light tropical-y salad. This dressing is so good that my ankle biters were sitting at the table drizzling it on loaf bread! No joke! I think it would probably make a great dressing for a simple fruit salad too. And someday I’m going to try it as the dressing on a pasta salad. I just haven’t decided what all to put in said pasta yet. But I’ll keep you posted!
I hope you and yours enjoy this as much as we did. The Tall Skinny Man is anti-citrus. He just doesn’t care for anything in the citrus family. But even he went wild over this dressing. So give it a whirl. Then come back and tell me how you liked it.