Mar 15
2012

Avocado Endive Pistachio Salad & An Avocado Grove Adventure

in Avocados, Californian, Fruits & Vegetables, Honey, Salads

California Avocado, Endive, and Pistachio Salad

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.

Ingredients for salad

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!

Fuji Mama Birthday Traditions

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?

California Avoacdos Direct Avocados

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.

Fujilings exploring the avocado farm

Earlier this year I made another visit, but this time without the kids.  It turned out to be a gloomy rainy day.

Rainy morning in Avocado Country

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.

Magical avocado grove light

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.

Avocado leaves in the rainAvocados getting a showerSpiderweb

I loved the old farming equipment that they keep on the farm and the wild peonies.

Old farming equipmentwild peony

It was a morning that I will forever treasure.

Avocado grove in the rain

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?

Lone AvocadoCalifornia Avocados Direct Fuerte Avocado

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.

California Avocados Direct Ambassador

I returned from our visit giddy and inspired.  A morning walking through beautiful avocado groves with a dear friend does that for the soul!

Making Avocado, Endive, Pistachio Salad

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

Print This Recipe

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.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Olga @ MangoTomato March 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

swoon!! I want that right now ;) Also the picture of the flower is stunning.

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s'mee March 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I feel so at home looking at these photos! The Avocado Highway was our foot path when I was a little girl. Fallbrook, Rainbow, Bonsall (and Gretel! lol), and of course Big Blue! Growing up in northern San Diego county we were bound to love avocados! Your salad will like eating heaven! Can not wait! Thanks for sharing!

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Trish March 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Sounds delicious. Love endives… And I underutilize them. Sounds like a fun fieldtrip!

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kellypea March 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Wonderful post — loved all of it including the rainy day which we get precious few of in San Diego county. Great birthday salad as well — avocados work so well with citrus. My favorite way to eat them is halved right from the shell with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a sprinkle of salt. Heaven on Earth.

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Fuji Nana March 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Let’s make this MY birthday salad, okay?

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LiztheChef March 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm

What a magical day – and wild peonies, never heard of those – my favorite flower.

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Chez Us March 16, 2012 at 7:59 am

Great post and lovely photos; even though it rained, I think it made everything so much prettier! My mom use to cook our favorite meal for our birthdays. I usually wanted these great cheesy enchiladas. I wish I would have had your avocado salad. I eat them for lunch almost everyday, just them, with a little drizzle of olive oil. LOVE!

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Urban Wife March 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Such stunning pictures! Avocados are at the top of my must-eat-all-the-time list. :)

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carol March 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Wow! This salad looks amazing, yet simple.

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