Playing with hibiscus flowers and prickly pears and #allthepapaya was fantastic, but of the best parts about the things that came together in our little Baja kitchen were the simple, easy, obvious things. This simple, herby avocado dressing was my favorite and the one thing that has already transported its way into my kitchen at home.
We rolled into Zacatitos just about on time (minus a few extra minutes on account of the unpaved road we took to the house,) and just in time to see the sunset over the mountains, the Sea of Cortez glittering. This meant we were just in time to make drinks, and just in time to make a simple dinner with the ingredients we’d picked up at the market on the way. I had bought prickly pears, hibiscus flowers, and lots of greens and fruits I’d never seen before. While there are lots of ingredients available in Mexico that we can’t find so readily here, this dressing didn’t require any of them. It was the first thing I whipped up when we arrive (while Pete set to making margaritas,) before I’d gained my bearings in the colorful little kitchen or with any of those more exotic fruits or finds, before I’d dug into this excellent tome on Mexican cuisine. We enjoyed it drizzled over fresh tortillas topped with a quick lime and cabbage slaw, baby greens, tart little radishes, toasted pipits and crowned with grilled shrimp moments later as the sun was setting in view of the back patio.
We made more with the ancient-yet-perfect blender on the countertop again the next day, drizzling it over salad for lunch, more tacos for breakfast the next morning, as a dressing for slaw with tamales later in the week and even as dip for crispy tortilla chips a few days in a row when we were ravenous from an afternoon swim and needed something to nosh on while we plotted our next meal plan. I made up another batch here today at home; a great reminder that the souvenirs from travel are the feelings and inspirations that you bring home, and not necessarily the “things.”
A few notes here: you could use any herbs you can get your hands on and I suggest that this absolutely depends on where you are and what time of year it is. In Mexico, we had mint and cilantro on day, arugula and epazote the next. Back in Colorado, parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano and even basil are perfect in this zesty dressing. Don’t forget the miso or nutritional yeast – both will add a nice little umami kick that keeps this dressing completely craveable, no matter where in the world you are or whatever you’re eating.
- 1 medium ripe avocado, (~1 cup)
- 1 cup nut milk (almond, cashew, etc), plus more to thin if needed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, thyme or oregano)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 nutritional yeast or miso, plus salt to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Combine the avocado, nut milk, spinach, herbs, garlic, nutritional yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Thin with more milk to make the dressing pourable. Taste, and add more lemon juice and/or a bit of salt to season.
- Makes about 2 cups of dressing.