Creamy citrus and poppy seeds salad dressing

Citrus poppy seed salad dressing

Sunday is here which means it is time for a new and refreshing salad dressing recipe. The weather is warming up, and with spring in the air, I crave colors! it is like I need to wash away the months of winter gloom. I go hunting for color and beauty every where,I’d be stuck in traffic but my attention is on the sidewalk admiring a tender flower opening up its petals to greet the world. Driving home late from work , I try to focus on the breath taking hues of sunset, it is like the sun is a silent artist painting the horizon everyday trying to remind us that even endings can be beautiful.  I get home and all I crave is a bowl of refreshing greens dotted with splashes of colors from the different fruits and veges and perfectly complimented with a new homemade salad dressing

Today’s dressing is creamy,sweet and tangy with a little bite of Dijon mustard, it is a perfect compliment to green salads especially salads that feature fruit.

Citrus poppy seed salad dressing

Citrus and poppy seeds salad dressing

Recipe source:Women’s weekly salad cookbook

2 teaspoons (10 ml) orange zest
¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (10 gm) (1/3 oz) poppy seeds
1/3 cup (80 ml) sour cream (I usually use labneh for a lighter dressing)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) mustard
1 teaspoon (5 ml) honey

Whisk all the ingredients until homogenous

Layered avocado beet citrus salad

Beets and I have never been on good terms. My mum used to boil them and sprinkle the slices with sugar for us when we were kids. I always found that it was too sweet and the texture was just too soft. I knew it was good for you, I loved the color but one bite into the soft mushy sweet overload was all I could handle.

That all changed this winter when I came across a recipe in the women’s weekly for roasted beets and feta salad.The idea of roasting and pairing sweet with salty intrigued me. I had to try it and I am glad I did “I will be sharing that recipe for that beet and feta salad soon”. The roasted beets were much firmer than their boiled counter parts and when paired with other ingredients the sweetness was balanced off nicely.

I started looking for more recipes to use roasted beets in, the results of the search were quite interesting. Sandwiches, salads and even cakes feature this deeply colored delight and now the one thing I never noticed when grocery shopping is on the list almost every time.

Today’s recipe was inspired by this salad I found on pinterest. It had roasted beets, check. Arugula which I love and always have on hand, check. Grapefruit, hmmm ,no one eats grapefruit around here but me so I decided to use blood oranges instead. I also replaced the grapefruit juice, maple syrup and cumin dressing with an orange vinaigrette and garnished it with pomegranate seeds.The result was a success in terms or looks, texture and flavor. 

Layered salads are fun, versatile, elegant and really easy to make. I had a question from one of my readers on my facebook page “what can you use to replace the oranges, no other citrus fruit will work ,allergic”, I suggested feta cheese with a balsamic honey dressing because I have already tried the combo and it works brilliantly.Don’t have avocado,try cucumbers.Try different combinations and dressings,be adventurous. If you do give it a go and let me know how you like it.

Layered avocado beet and citrus salad

adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

Makes one serving (Printable recipe here)

2  Beets, roasted, peeled and cubed

1 blood orange sectioned and cut into cubes

1 small avocados, cut in half, pit removed and cubed

1/2 cup arugula leaves

1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds


1/2 cup fresh orange juice ( one to two oranges)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
 1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard

To make the dressing, add all ingredients into a small jar and shake well.

To prepare the beets, cut off the tops and bottoms and drizzle with olive oil .

 Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45-60 minutes at 180 C  until fork tender.

 Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel and cube.

To assemble,  Lay the Arugula leaves on the bottom of your plate.

Put a ring (7 cm) on top of the arugula leaves.

 Layer with the beets then the avocado and finally the oranges.

 Remove the ring and drizzle with the dressing.

 Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds

Lemon bars

When I Shared Greg and Katherine’s  amazing lemon bars a while back, I told you about my favorite lemon bar recipe.  I have had this recipe for years and it was and still is my go to recipe for lemon bars. I have tried quite a few other recipes and they always turn out, too sweet or too sour. Some have too little crust (I love the crust part almost as much as the lemony part)  or their topping is too gooy or too eggy (is that a word?).

This recipe on the other hand is just right. To me, it is the perfect balance of sweet and sour. The crust uses a recipe that is my favorite base for any bar cookie. The lemony topping is creamy, yet its very top is crackled and has the faintest crunch to it.Biting into it feels like a blast of flavor and refreshment exploded in your mouth. 

Lemon bar

For the crust

3/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

For the lemon topping

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cups sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon water

To make the crust

Whisk the flour and sugar, then rub the butter into the mix with your finger tips

Press the flour, sugar and butter into the base of your baking dish (I used a 20 cm by 24 cm pan).

Bake in a preheated oven (375 F or 180C) on the middle rack for 15 minutes.

To make the topping

Whisk the eggs until pale, add the vanilla and sugar then continue whisking

Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk till combined.

Pour the topping over the crust and bake on the middle rack (180 C or 375 F) till the topping sets.

Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely

Cut it into squares and…

Enjoy :)

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