I love living in Alaska, but one thing I miss about living in California is the produce. There are farmers' markets and road-side stands everywhere. Even the produce in the local grocery stores is amazing. And they have everything. Citrus fruit, apples, berries, and melons? Check. Fresh avocados? Check. Fresh greens? Check. Fresh tomatoes, corn, asparagus, peppers, onions, and garlic? Check. And the list goes on...
You can visit orchards, farms, and vineyards to sample the local harvest, and there are numerous festivals throughout the state. Have you ever heard of the Gilroy Garlic Festival? Yes, even garlic gets its own festival. I've also been to the Stockton Asparagus Festival and Lodi Strawberry Festival.
Unfortunately, I never got into gardening while I lived there. I was young and probably preoccupied with chasing boys and hanging out at the local pool. I do remember living in a house that had an avocado and lemon tree in the front yard though. All of our neighbors would sneak over at night and steal our avocados. I don't know why they didn't just ask, but it was pretty funny watching them try to be sneaky.
This salad reminds me of living there. It's full of fresh corn, avocados, red and yellow tomatoes, green onions, and snap peas. I also added grilled chicken and bacon to make it more substantial for dinner, but you could leave these out for a light lunch or side salad. I finished it off with a honey-mustard poppyseed dressing made with white balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and Greek yogurt.
California Chopped Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Servings: 2 large portions
6 1/2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (or 10 oz. bag)
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
6 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (red, yellow, or both)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup snap peas, chopped
Honey Mustard Dressing:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. poppy seeds
Pinch of salt and pepper
To prepare the salad, divide the lettuce in half and place on 2 large plates. Divide the remaining ingredients and place on top of the lettuce.
To prepare the dressing, in a glass measuring cup, whisk all of the ingredients together. Drizzle desired amount of dressing on top of the salad.