Need a lucky salad for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday? This salad may not be Irish, but it’s bursting with lucky green ingredients! Crisp juicy endive, creamy chunks of avocado, and crunchy roasted pistachios all tossed in a pistachio dressing. It feels doubly lucky to me, because it also features ingredients grown here in my home state of California—avocados, California endive, and pistachios! I even used an olive oil made from olives grown in California for good measure.
This salad was inspired by my sweet friend Mimi Avocado. Mimi and I became friends because of one of our favorite topics: avocados. I grew up in a town that Theodore Roosevelt once called “a sight for the gods,” and boy was he right. My town used to be the largest navel orange producing region in the world, and still hosts a wonderful variety of locally grown citrus and avocados. As a result, I’ve been spoiled my whole life to know what perfectly ripe citrus and avocados should taste like. Every year for my birthday in January, one of the things I request my mom make as part of my birthday dinner is a salad that marries these two items—a green salad with avocado, grapefruit wedges, and a sweet poppy seed dressing. This year was no exception!
Mimi is originally a Vermont girl, but now operates a large avocado farm with her husband about an hour away from where I live. They also have an online store, California Avocados Direct, that ships freshly picked avocados from their home to your door! An avocado doesn’t start ripening until they are picked, so these avocados start their ripening process en route and finish while they sit on your kitchen counter. Isn’t that genius?
Last fall a friend and I took our kids out to visit Mimi and her farm. We spent a wonderful day showing the kids avocado trees, eating avocados, and enjoying the sunshine.
Earlier this year I made another visit, but this time without the kids. It turned out to be a gloomy rainy day.
Mimi and I were a bit bummed, because we had been hoping to get some good pictures of the avocado groves, but decided to brave the weather and see if we might still be able to get a few shots. The hope for a few shots turned into a magical morning.
We spent several hours walking through the groves taking pictures. Sunlight filtered through the gray clouds and misting rain to produce an almost ethereal glow around the trees. The misty rain bedazzled the green foliage of the trees and avocados, giving them a sparkling bling that any photographer would love to have.
I loved the old farming equipment that they keep on the farm and the wild peonies.
It was a morning that I will forever treasure.
As we walked, I told Mimi about my birthday salad tradition, and she remarked, “Avocado is your birthday fruit!” Now how had I never made that connection?
Mimi and I can talk about avocados for hours. I know this from experience! Due to this shared love, we have dubbed ourselves the “Avocado Sisters” and have hatched a plan to share with you the avocado stories that come from our friendship.
I returned from our visit giddy and inspired. A morning walking through beautiful avocado groves with a dear friend does that for the soul!
I used a few avocados from Mimi’s farm to whip up a salad that I had been creating in my head while walking with Mimi, and now I’m sharing it with you! Life is so much richer because of good friends. (Read Mimi’s post about our adventure!)
Avocado Endive Pistachio Salad
Makes 4 servings
For the pistachio salad dressing:
1/4 cup shelled roasted pistachios
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 heads endive, chopped
2 medium-size ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
1/4 cup shelled roasted pistachios
1. Make the pistachio salad dressing: Puree half the pistachios, the oil, vinegar, honey, and lemon zest in a blender or food processor.
2. Assemble the salad: Toss the endive and avocados with the pistachio salad dressing. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.