Crab Salad with Mandarin Vinaigrette

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You don’t need a lengthy shopping list to create a healthy crunchy salad for supper.  This really isn’t a recipe so much as it is a list of options based on what you have on hand.  That’s usually the way great dishes are developed.  The idea is to balance textures and flavors while packing in lots of nutrition.  And the addition of protein will satisfy the hunger pangs and stay with you longer than carbohydrates alone.

It couldn’t be simpler or quicker on a warm summer evening to throw a main dish salad together.  Fresh ginger and pureed Mandarin oranges in a vinaigrette gives this salad an Asian tweak.  The balance of nutrition from protein rich lump crab and vitamin rich mango and avocado makes this a dieter’s delight.  Some crunchy radishes and cucumbers  are added to round out the textures and flavors.  Serve it with a tomato zucchini gazpacho and a crusty baguette.  Carry the Asian theme further with a mango lime sorbet for dessert. 

For more crunch add mung bean sprouts and fresh snow peas.  Substitute asparagus for the avocado.   Use julienned daikon radish instead of red radishes.  Julienned carrots and cabbage may be added and chopped romaine lettuce may be used instead of mixed baby greens.  Substitute tuna packed in water, poached salmon, or leftover baked tilapia for the lump crab or use a can of baby shrimp.   For a vegan version use a can of black beans or cannelini beans in place of the fish and add sweet corn or corn tortilla strips to make a perfect protein.  Canned or fresh peaches will also work in place of the ripe mango and a few slices of pureed peach will definitely add a new flavor dimension to the vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups baby spring greens (or lettuce of your choice)
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed or sliced (or fruit of your choice)
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced (or vegetable of your choice)
  • 1 cup lump crab (or other protein of your choice)
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables such as radishes and cucumber
  • 1 6 oz can Mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 dashes of Tabasco or chili sauce of choice
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced parsley or cilantro
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and spin dry greens.
  2. Arrange fruit and vegetables on top of greens.  Cover and chill.
  3. Place mandarin oranges, oil, lemon juice, chili sauce, ginger, parsley, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Spoon dressing over salad and toss just before serving.
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