Spring has officially arrived here in Northern Illinois and yet they’re calling for an inch or two of snow tonight. Sigh.
We had a week or so of nice 50+ degree weather though and we even grilled out a couple of times, so I know these latest flurries won’t stick around long.
Thinking spring thoughts, I was excited to see a display of gorgeous papayas on my last trip to the grocery store. As the weather starts to warm up, I’m always looking for delicious ways to amp up the flavor in my green salads so that they don’t get boring. This is an easy, nutritious, delicious salad dressing that I quickly threw together in my blender. Papaya seeds are high in protein and a good source of calcium and magnesium. You may not suspect it but their flavor is similar to black pepper and they add a definite kick to this dressing.
Salad dressings are so easy to make at home and if you’re trying to stay away from processed foods, dressings are a good way to start. Most store-bought dressings are loaded with junk – read the labels and you might be surprised at everything that’s in them.
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup roughly cut onion (I used about 3 large slices)
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 heaping tablespoons papaya seeds
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place everything except olive oil in a blender and blend on high speed for a couple of minutes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until everything is well blended.
You can certainly play around with this recipe quite a bit. If you don’t have ground mustard, add a bit of dijon. If you don’t have rice vinegar, try champagne or tarragon vinegar. If you want some extra color, add some chopped chives or scallions. Use raw honey instead of agave nectar. Add a bit of garlic to the mix. Never be afraid to play with your food.
Oh, and how to tell if a papaya is ripe? Ideally, buy them at the store while they’re still partially green. Let ripen at home for a few days and then enjoy! The skin of the papaya will turn yellow as it ripens and have a little bit of give when you touch it. You don’t want it overripe, so don’t let it get too soft.
Keep thinking spring and enjoy!