With the season turning to Spring, my taste buds yearn for fresh greens and crunchy salads. This is a recipe from Taste of Home (submitted by Jeanne Holt) that I adapted with new found knowledge from our recent trip to Mesa. Nancy Baggett, keynote speaker at the US Lavender Growers Association conference, opened my eyes to flavor pairings in her new cookbook The Art of Cooking with Lavender. Lavender, cumin, orange and lime work magic together and make this salad spectacular. Thanks Nancy for cluing me in!
We are offering Nancy's cookbook at our market booth and at our farm shop when we open in May. She offers 80 original recipes from savory to sweet...all featuring delicious, culinary lavender.
Southwest Chicken Salad (adapted)
I make this with chicken or beef as a meal, or without meat as a side. Love it both ways!
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper jelly
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon culinary lavender
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ripe mango, cubed
3 - 4 mini sweet peppers, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
2 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breast or thinly sliced cooked steak, (optional)
1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds (optional)
2/3 cup jicama or water chestnuts can be added for crunch (optional)
3 cups fresh baby spinach
3 cups mixed greens, torn
Crush lavender and cumin together in a mortar and pestle. Combine with first six ingredients in a mason jar. Shake to mix well.
Mix beans, mango, peppers, onion and optional ingredients. Pour contents of mason jar over bean mixture and allow to marinate in the refrigerator 10 minutes (or longer).
Wash, dry and tear spinach and salad greens into bite size pieces. Just before serving, toss marinated mixture with spinach and salad greens. Enjoy!