Avocado and cucumber salad with cilantro-ginger dressing [Vegan]

Jaymi's Notes:
On a hot day, there are few foods better for cooling off than cucumber, celery and avocado. The three combine here with a bright, spicy dressing to refresh you and liven up your taste buds.

The recipe calls for a bit of muddling. You can do this in a few ways, including how the instructions line out the task by using a plastic bag and a rolling pin. You could also put the ingredients in a mason jar and use a muddler or wooden spoon. And of course you can always toss everything in a food processor and make very short work of the task. It's really up to what's easiest for you, though avoiding the use of a plastic bag is always a good route.

I added in some tomato slices to provide some color other than green, and it was a welcome flavor. You can also garnish with toasted sesame seeds, paprika, or even some chopped cashews or pumpkin seeds. Get creative!

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Kelly's Recipe:

It was a hot weekend here in Toronto, which made me start thinking about eating the sort of food I usually make in July. We had a cold potato soup for lunch and I wanted to make something refreshing for dinner. This cucumber and avocado salad was a great choice as it required very little effort and I had most of the ingredients on hand.

I did not have 24 sprigs of cilantro, but I did have enough leaves, so I still got that cilantro flavour. Frankly, I'm not sure I really wanted to go to the effort of picking them all out after the cucumber macerated, so I might have left them out in any case. If you are a cilantro hater, the salad will still be delicious without it. I didn't have the dried chiles and I was going to put in some red pepper flakes, but I forgot. I ended up sprinkling a bit of paprika over top for a bit of colour.

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit, May, 2012.

Cucumber and Avocado Salad

24 sprigs cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger
6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
2 dried chiles de árbol
2 English hothouse cucumbers (about 2 pounds total), cut into 1/2" pieces
1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 avocados, halved, pitted, sliced
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1. Combine cilantro sprigs, ginger, garlic, and chiles in a resealable plastic freezer bag; seal. Lightly pound with a skillet or rolling pin until ginger and garlic are well mashed.

2. Add cucumbers, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Seal bag; shake to mix. Squeeze bag firmly to slightly mash cucumbers, 1-2 minutes. Place bag in a large bowl; let macerate at room temperature, turning halfway through, until juices form, about 35 minutes.

3. Empty contents of bag into bowl; turn bag inside out and scrape out any small bits. Discard cilantro sprigs. Mix in celery, juice, and oil. Season with more salt, if desired. Divide avocado among plates; spoon salad over. Garnish with chopped cilantro and basil.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Tags: Recipes | The Cooking Project | Vegan | Vegetarian | Weekday Vegetarian

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