Summer Sunburst Salad With Creamy Cashew And Orange Dressing

If you are anything like me, you are a fair weathered salad eater. I love salads, and I eat a lot of them too, but usually only in the warmer weather. In the winter, I live in snow country, and a salad just doesn’t do it for me. Or as my dad would say, “it doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart”. But in the warmer weather, there is nothing better than a cool, crisp salad to help beat the heat.

Because we eat so many salads in the warmer weather, I am always looking for something different. I like a lot of variety, both in my salads and my dressings. I also like a lot of color and different textures. This new summer salad is a definite winner, and meets all my salad requirements. It’s very colorful. It has a lot of different flavors and textures, and most importantly, it tastes really good too. I call it my summer sunburst salad. I served it with a vegan creamy cashew and orange dressing too. As is, this whole salad is vegan, but if you want to make it more of a main meal, all you need to do is add either shrimp, salmon or chicken, and you’ve gone from a vegan side salad to a main meal.

Summer Sunburst Salad

This salad is all about presentation. You want people to say “WOW” when they see it. The sunburst is in the presentation.

Mixed baby salad greens

1/4 red onion, sliced very thin

1/2 avocado, sliced

1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks

1-2 small oranges, sliced into segments

cooked asparagus spears

1/2-1 cup blackberries

1/3 cup chopped cashews

Start with a layer of the mixed baby greens then arrange all the rest of the ingredients on top to make a bright, colorful sunburst. Start with the avocado slices, then add the orange segments. Add a few blackberries in the center, and then sprinkle the rest of the ingredients around to really make the salad pop. You can use any kind of dressing you like, but I served it with a creamy orange and cashew dressing, also vegan. I actually made the dressing first, then created the salad around the dressing.

Creamy Orange and Cashew Dressing

This dressing can be used as a dipping sauce as well.

This can be a thick sauce or a more liquidy sauce or dressing, depending on how you use it and what you like.

3/4 cup cashews

1/4 red onion

1 TBSP garlic

1 cup orange juice

1 TBSP lemon juice

1-2 TBSP lemon olive oil, optional

1-2 TBSP lemon balsamic vinegar, optional

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1 tsp maple syrup

salt & pepper to taste

red pepper flakes to taste

2 cups + 1/4 cup water, or more as needed or desired

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat off and add the cashews. Let them soak for at least an hour.

Once the cashews have soaked for at least an hour, drain them and place them in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse away until you have a liquid sauce. If you want the sauce thicker, 1/4 cup of water is fine. If you like it thinner, add more water until you reach the desired consistency.

I like bolder dressings, so I added more lemon olive oil, lemon balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Once the dressing is ready, place it in the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to use it.

Let the summer salad season begin. I’m sure you will be seeing a lot more delicious salads and dressings coming your way since the season has officially started. Enjoy!

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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