For me, the one thing that screams summer is freshly cut fruit sitting in a bowl, waiting to be eaten. Well, that was the inspiration for this salad, with nectarines staying in the spotlight and a blackberry vinaigrette and an avocado-hummus fulfilling their supporting roles. I absolutely love the juiciness of nectarines, which was able to stand out by pairing them with butter lettuce and a hummus.
The term ‘butter lettuce’ may sound a little strange and foreign to some people, but it is actually not a greasy lettuce. Now that would just be gross, and even I wouldn’t touch it. (Butter lettuce has a different type of texture compared to the other members in its family: it’s softer and smoother. It’s also not as crunchy as iceberg lettuce or regular green lettuce.) Personally, I think that butter lettuce works well in a fruit salad since it takes a step back and doesn’t overshadow the fruit. The bosch pears and blackberries bring a little more sweetness and sourness to this otherwise-simple salad, and a much-needed pop of color!
The salad only has a few ingredients, but the recipes for the “add-ins” blackberry vinaigrette and the avocado-hummus are below!
2 small nectarines, sliced
6 leaves butter lettuce
½ Bosch pear, cubed
¼ cup blueberries
1/4 cup blackberries
- Wash the butter lettuce and let it drain in a colander. Wash the nectarines, bosch pear, blueberries and blackberries and let them dry over a paper towel.
- Slice the nectarines and dice the pears. (You can remove the skin of the nectarines if you want to.) Place the dried butter lettuce on a clean plate, followed by the nectarines, bosch pears, blueberries, and blackberries. Your salad is technically now done, but if you want to tie it all together with the blackberry vinaigrette and avocado hummus, keep reading!
5-6 washed blackberries (about ¼ cup)
1 tsp fig balsamic vinegar
½ tsp olive oil
½ tsp water
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until you see a thick consistency. If you want the dressing to be thinner, you can add more olive oil as you go along and continue blending.
I know that this may surprise some of you, but there are actually no chickpeas in this hummus! (I am sorry to those of you who were duped.) Instead, the cashews and avocado are what gives this ‘hummus’ its creaminess. This recipe actually came about by accident since I originally intended to make a cashew cream from soaked cashews. Apparently I hadn’t soaked the cashews for long enough, so instead of creating a smooth consistency in the food processor, they maintained some of their crunch. My solution was to add an avocado, which brought the creaminess I was looking for, then I added some lemon juice, salt, and pepper for taste.
2 tsp lemon juice
½ cup cashews
3/8 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
Salt (optional, to taste)
Black pepper (optional, to taste)
- Place the cashews in a small bowl and pour 1/4 cup water over them. Cover with a plate, and let them soak for 2 hours.
- Once they’ve soaked for 2 hours, place them in a food-processor or blender (I used my Vitamix.) Peel and cut the avocado into slices and place in the Vitamix. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice, secure the lid, then slowly turn the dial up to 10 and the second button to ‘High’. Blend for about 10 seconds, then turn the button to ‘Low’ and the dial down to 1. Use a spoon or a spatula to scoop some of the mixture from the outside back to the center of the Vitamix, then repeat the above blending process until the cashew pieces are quite small. (The goal is to have some cashew pieces left to add some crunch to the ‘hummus.’ Don’t attempt to blend until no cashews are visible–they won’t be completely incorporated anyway since they were soaked for a short period of time.)
- Lastly, add salt and pepper to taste. If you want the hummus to be a thinner consistency, you have three options: add a little more olive oil, lemon juice, or water. All three will do the trick, it just depends on how you want it to taste. If you don’t want the hummus to be too oily or too sour, I would recommend adding the remaining 1/4 cup of water as-needed while blending. Otherwise, play around with the proportions of all three until you have the flavor exactly how you want it!
The blackberry vinaigrette and avocado-hummus will definitely aid in your presentation of the dish, so use them wisely! Since the hummus is thick and the vinaigrette is thin, feel free to play around with plating possibilities (there are many videos on YouTube for those of you who are interested in plating!) My family was extremely hungry that day, so I decided to skip the extra-fancy steps and keep it simple: I placed about a teaspoon of the avocado hummus under each leaf of butter lettuce so that it could stick to the plate better, and then I drizzled the blackberry-vinaigrette in a zig-zag motion over the entire salad.
I hope you enjoyed making this salad as much as I did, and as always thank you for reading! Can’t wait to share more of my recipes with you this summer!