Category Archives: Salads and Salad Dressings

Rice and Spinach Salad Recipe

Mixed salad made with rice and spinach
Rice and Spinach Salad

I call this my “old faithful salad”. It’s so tasty, it’s almost addictive! This Rice and Spinach Salad is a hearty salad filled with cold cooked  long grain rice, bright green healthy fresh spinach, veggies, dried fruits and nuts, and tangy crumbled Feta. A light vinaigrette dressing is all that is needed to complete this tasty salad. Continue reading Rice and Spinach Salad Recipe

Mango Salad Dressing Recipe

Mango Dressing
Mango Dressing

Salads are a big part of our diet, especially in the summer and early fall when we eat from our garden and, this year, my go-to recipe has been this delicious Mango Salad Dressing which, I must admit, I eat like candy!  It is lusciously smooth, bright colored, and has a lovely flavor that complements many different kinds of salads.

Mango Salad Dressing
Mango Salad Dressing

Mango Salad Dressing is very easy to make, especially if you have a blender as all the ingredients get puréed. A little sweet with a little citrus tang would be how I would  describe this yummy dressing.

This bright yellow attractive dressing works well on a traditional garden salad.

Mango Salad Dressing
Mango Salad Dressing

The appetizing Mango Salad Dressing is especially good on salads where cold chicken or turkey slices and quinoa or rice are added.

Mango Salad Dressing on Chicken and Quinoa Salad
Mango Salad Dressing on Chicken and Quinoa Salad

It’s also tasty on salads that have a mix of both fruits and vegetables.

Mango Dressing
Mango Dressing

And, because of its showy color (as well as its taste, of course!), it is a lovely complement to a stylized starter salad such as the roasted beet and feta cheese salad shown in the photo below. It has a somewhat thick consistency so stays in place when applied to a salad or plate. It adds spectacular color (and flavor) to many different salad combinations.

Beet and Feta Salad with Mango Salad Dressing
Beet and Feta Salad with Mango Salad Dressing

A little tropical, a little citrusy, a little sweet, and just a little spicy depending on how much garlic and what combination of fresh herbs are used, this colorful Mango Salad Dressing is a versatile addition to have in your repertoire of salad dressings.

Mango Salad Dressing
Mango Salad Dressing
This tasty easy-to-make Mango Salad Dressing is a wonderful balance of citrus and sweetness and complements many different kinds of salads well

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Mango Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup diced mango (about ¾ of a mango)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
½ tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Place mango and vinegar, along with orange and lime juices, in blender.  Purée until smooth. Add honey, garlic, red onion, mustard, and fresh herbs and pulse until mixture is just blended. With blender running, slowly add the olive oil in steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer salad dressing to serving vessel if using immediately or, for later use, to a bottle with airtight cap. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Serve chilled.

Yield:  Apx. 1½ cups

Mango Salad Dressing Recipe

Yield: Apx. 1 1/2 cups

A delicious easy-to-make dressing for salads. As tasty as it is showy, this mango dressing is a little sweet and a little citrusy. Perfect complement to many salad variations.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced mango (about ¾ of a mango)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place mango and vinegar, along with orange and lime juices, in blender. Purée until smooth. Add honey, garlic, red onion, mustard, and fresh herbs and pulse until mixture is just blended. With blender running, slowly add the olive oil in steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer salad dressing to serving vessel if using immediately or, for later use, to a bottle with airtight cap. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Serve chilled.
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Also, try these other salad dressings from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Rhubarb Vinaigrette
Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette
Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Star Anise Vinaigrette
Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. Lots of different varieties of lettuce are grown and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad like this Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette.

Lettuce from our Garden
Lettuce from our Garden

I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer of mixed greens down the center bordered by a row of quinoa along both sides of the lettuce bed. I often marinate and cook chicken breasts then slice them for salads as I have done here.  I use whatever fruit I have on hand or that is in season to make a colorful and healthy salad. It could be strawberries, mango, melons, oranges or mandarins, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, and so forth.  Add some red onion rings, crumbled feta cheese, and top with crunchy pea and radish shoots and you have a very colorful, appetizing, and healthy dinner.

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Star Anise Vinagrette
Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinagrette

What makes the salad super tasty is the vinaigrette.

Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette
Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

For this recipe,  start with 3 tablespoons of orange juice and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add a small star anise pod and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the juice cool. This allows the star anise to infuse the juice with a lovely subtle layer of licorice flavor. Discard the star anise and mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously.  If adding fresh herbs, only add them at the time of serving as, otherwise, they become quite limp and wilted.

Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette
Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Now, I don’t tend to measure the ingredients for the salad itself. I go to the garden and pick a couple of handfuls of different kinds of lettuce. For a main meal serving for two, I cook 1/2 cup of quinoa and a large chicken breast. For the fruits, just add as many of each kind as you like and the same for the pea and radish shoots.  I don’t grow these shoots – I get them from Just A Little Farm in Bonshaw.  You can click here to read the story I wrote about this farm. Jessica grows the most amazing produce and her pea and radish shoots are so lovely crisp and fresh!

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette
Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

This recipe will yield a generous main meal for two or, if serving as a starter, it could serve 4-6.

[Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

Orange and Star Anise Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
3 tbsp orange juice
1 small star anise pod
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp liquid honey
¼ tsp garlic salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill), chopped

Method:

In small saucepan, bring orange juice to boiling point over medium heat.  Reduce heat to simmer and add the star anise pod.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, allowing the star anise to infuse the orange juice. Remove and discard star anise after orange juice has cooled.

Combine all ingredients, except the fresh herbs, in a small jar. Shake vigorously.  Add the chopped herbs at time of serving.

Yield: Apx. scant ½ cup

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Yield: Scant 1/2 cup

A tasty vinaigrette with subtle undertones of licorice flavor. Perfect accompaniment to any salad but especially good with Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 small star anise pod
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp liquid honey
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill), chopped

Instructions

  1. In small saucepan, bring orange juice to boiling point over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and add the star anise pod. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, allowing the star anise to infuse the orange juice. Remove and discard star anise after orange juice has cooled.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except the fresh herbs, in a small jar. Shake vigorously. Add the chopped herbs at time of serving.
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Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

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Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade salad dressing is simple to make and is a tasty addition to many salads and sandwiches. It’s also a more economical alternative to commercial varieties on the grocery store shelves. Additionally, if you find yourself in need of salad dressing and are not near a supermarket, you can quickly whip up a batch of homemade salad dressing so long as you have eggs, sugar, milk, vinegar, dry mustard, and flour. Continue reading Homemade Salad Dressing

Potato Salad Recipe

My Island Bistro Kitchen's PEI Potato Salad
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Potato Salad

One of the most popular salads in PEI in summer is the traditional potato salad.  There are several variations to this salad and, of course, the jury is still out on whether the potatoes should be diced or mashed! While the quantities of ingredients may vary somewhat and certain different seasonings may be added to potato salad, the same basic essential ingredients in most salads will be potato, egg, celery, onion, salad dressing, salt and pepper.  So long as you have these common ingredients, you can make a basic potato salad. Of course, I think PEI potatoes make the best salad (but, then again, I may be just a wee bit biased on that front)!

Potato Salad
Potato Salad

I like to use a combination of homemade and bought salad dressing as I find the flavors play well off each other – I use about 50/50 of each.  However, I have made the salad with just one type of salad dressing and it turned out fine. I also like to add a bit of sour cream, sweet pickle relish, and prepared mustard.  The latter two ingredients give a bit of ‘punch’ to the salad. The key, of course, is not to over-do the addition of any seasonings because the potatoes need to ‘star’ and we don’t want to do anything to detract from their flavor. In summer when I have fresh herbs in the garden, I like to add just a tiny bit of chopped fresh dill and some parsley.

The traditional style of potato salad is to cube/dice the potato and egg as shown in the photo below.

However, my preference is to mash the potato and egg, particularly if I am looking for good plating presentation.  This is because the mashed potato salad fits well into the bowl of an ice cream scoop and, therefore, looks lovely on a plate.  However, if you are looking for a more rustic style potato salad, then the cubed/diced potato style is the way to go. This is purely a personal preference because, let’s face it, if you use the same ingredients, it will all taste the same! All that will be different will be the texture and appearance.

Potato Salad
Potato Salad

As to how much salad dressing to use, this will depend on several factors so the amount I have given in my recipe below is a guide.  For example, the quality of the potatoes (how dry or moist they are), the thickness of the salad dressing, and/or the consistency of the sour cream can all influence how much salad dressing is needed.  As well, you may find that cubing/dicing the potatoes may take a different amount of salad dressing than do mashed potatoes.  Lastly, it is personal preference as to how moist the salad should be.  It should not be ‘soupy’ but there should be enough salad dressing to hold/bind the salad together.  I tend to like my potato salad quite moist. I recommend starting with a good one-half of the salad dressing called for in the recipe and then adding more to reach the consistency you desire.

Plan to make the potato salad several hours ahead of when it is needed. Refrigerate it for at least three hours or more to allow the flavours to blend.

Potato salad is very versatile.  It often is served as a traditional side dish for picnics and barbeques.  It goes great with cold cuts, lobster, grilled pork chops, barbequed chicken, sandwiches of all kinds, and the list goes on. In my household, potato salad always has to accompany a feed of PEI lobster!

Potato Salad Is A Great Picnic Side Dish
Potato Salad Is A Great Picnic Side Dish

The recipe below is my own personal potato salad recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Potato Salad
Potato Salad
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Potato Salad

Ingredients:

1½ lbs PEI potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
2½ tbsp onion, finely chopped
⅔ cup salad dressing (apx.)
2 tbsp sour cream
3 tsp. sweet relish
2 tsp. prepared mustard
¼ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ tsp fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1½ tsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Method:

Cook potatoes, skins on, in pot of boiling water just until potatoes are fork tender. Drain. Let potatoes cool enough to handle. Peel. Cube or mash potatoes, as desired, into medium-sized bowl.

Mash or dice eggs. Add to potato.

Add the celery, onion, mustard, sweet relish, sour cream, salad dressing, and sugar.

Note – Add about ½ the salad dressing to start, then continue to add enough salad dressing to reach desired consistency. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Add fresh dill and parsley, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve salad on a bed of lettuce. Refrigerate unused salad immediately.

Yield: 5-6 servings (2 scoops salad per serving)

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Potato Salad

Yield: 5-6 servings (2 scoops per serving)

A moist and tasty potato salad that is the perfect accompaniment to any lobster feed, barbeque, or picnic

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs PEI potatoes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 2½ tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup salad dressing (apx.)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 3 tsp. sweet relish
  • 2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ tsp fresh dill, chopped (optional)
  • 1½ tsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes, skins on, in pot of boiling water just until potatoes are fork tender. Drain. Let potatoes cool enough to handle. Peel. Cube or mash potatoes, as desired, into medium-sized bowl.
  2. Mash or dice eggs. Add to potato. Add the celery, onion, mustard, sweet relish, sour cream, salad dressing, and sugar. Note – Add about ½ the salad dressing to start, then continue to add enough salad dressing to reach desired consistency. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add fresh dill and parsley, if desired.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve salad on a bed of lettuce. Refrigerate unused salad immediately.
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Potato Salad

Potato Salad

Pasta Salad in Shades of the PEI Tartan

National Tartan Day is celebrated each year on April 6th which coincides with the signing of the Scottish Declaration of Independence — the Declaration of Arbroath — in 1320. It is a day of observance to recognize and celebrate the Scottish heritage and the contributions of the Scots and their descendents to Canada’s history, development, and culture.  You can read more about Tartan Day and its origins here.

I wondered what the focus of my posting would be for this year’s Tartan Day.  Lo and behold, didn’t I find bow tie pasta in shades of the Prince Edward Island tartan – red, green, and ivory!  Mind you, the colors are not an exact or perfect match but I think they are close enough to work in a colorful pasta salad with herb dressing. Continue reading Pasta Salad in Shades of the PEI Tartan

Summer Garden Vegetable Dip

I love late August because there is an abundance of fresh garden produce available.  Vegetable and dip platters make a great snack for any occasion.  Vegetables are so colorful that they make any platter look outstanding plus raw vegetables are healthy food.

I like to use a variety of vegetables, colors, shapes, and textures on a veggie platter, making it pleasing to both the eye and the palette.  Like these colorful dragon tongue beans, for example.  These beans are actually best eaten raw because, if cooked, they lose their color.

Dragon Tongue Beans
Dragon Tongue Beans

I like the crunchiness of raw cauliflower which now comes in a variety of colors – purple, green, or this bright orange.

Orange Cauliflower
Orange Cauliflower

Make sure a variety of veggies are included so there is something for everyone’s taste.

I love the many varieties and colors of cherry tomatoes available including these pear-shaped and tiger-striped ones.

Variety of Cherry Tomatoes
Variety of Cherry Tomatoes

It’s easy, I know, and sometimes tempting to buy bottled dip from the supermarket but the downside is those dips/dressings may contain ingredients that aren’t necessarily so healthy.  That’s why I like to make my own dip.

Summer Garden Vegetable Dip
Summer Garden Vegetable Dip

The dip recipe I am sharing today actually does double duty in a couple of ways.  First, it contains fresh veggies so, not only do the vegetables get dipped into it but the dip itself also has radishes, onion, green pepper, and cucumber as ingredients in it.  Second, this dip may also be used as a salad dressing on your favorite green salad.  The dip doesn’t contain any unusual or hard-to-find ingredients.

This is an easy dip to make.  Other than mincing up the veggies, it’s simply a matter of mixing all the ingredients together in one bowl.  It’s best if it chills for at least a couple of hours before serving which also makes it convenient as it can be prepared and refrigerated earlier in the day.  The veggies can also be prepared earlier in the day as well which makes it one less thing to do before a gathering.

Summer Garden Vegetable Dip

Ingredients:

1 cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Dash of garlic powder, to taste
3 tbsp finely chopped radishes
¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped English cucumber, unpeeled

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In medium-sized bowl, combine sour cream and mayonnaise. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.

Add the finely chopped (minced) vegetables and stir to blend well.

Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours prior to serving.

Serve with your favourite selection of garden vegetables.

Note: This may also be used as a dressing for tossed salads.  This recipe is easily halved or doubled according to need.

Yield: Apx. 2 cups

Because there is sour cream and mayonnaise in this dip, it needs to be kept cold.  I use a container that has a cavity for ice and then the dip container itself sits on top of the ice to keep it cool.

Ice in container for dip
Ice in container for dip

As soon as I spotted these napkins, I knew they would be appropriate for one of my vegetable and dip trays.

Summer Garden Vegetable Dip

Serve this flavorful dip with your favorite assortment of colorful vegetables
Course Appetizer
Keyword vegetable dip
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Dash of garlic powder, to taste
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped radishes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped English cucumber, unpeeled

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized bowl, combine sour cream and mayonnaise. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.
  2. Add the finely chopped vegetables and stir to blend well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours prior to serving.
  4. Serve with your favourite selection of garden vegetables.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 2 cups

Note: This may also be used as a dressing for tossed salads.

 

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Grilled Peach Salad with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette

We have eaten a lot of salads from our garden produce this summer and I must admit I am starting to get a bit tired of the traditional green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, etc.  The peaches have been divine this late summer so, for a change, I decided to grill them and make a fruit salad on fresh garden greens.

This is a tasty salad with the grilled peaches, fresh blueberries, red onion rings, and feta cheese on a bed of mixed greens.  I topped it off with a peach balsamic vinaigrette made with peach balsamic vinegar and mandarin-infused olive oil from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.

To grill the peaches, I cut each in half, removed the stone, and brushed both sides of the peaches with the mandarin- infused olive oil.  Make sure the grill is greased as well.

On a pre-heated grill (medium-high), the peaches only take 2-3 minutes, each side (use tongs to turn the fruit). Don’t overcook the fruit as it will become too soft and mushy.   Grilling fresh fruit brings out the deep flavor of the fruit and intensifies the sweet taste.  Plus, the grill marks on the peaches, enhance the presentation.

1-1-DSC00455

For salad for two:

mixed greens

2 grilled peaches

blueberries

red onion rings

feta cheese

To make the dressing: 

1/4 cup mandarin-infused olive oil

2 tbsp peach balsamic vinegar

4 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1 green onion, finely sliced

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Shake well.  Drizzle over salad when ready to serve.

To assemble salad:

Make a bed of mixed greens on each plate.  Place sliced grilled peaches on greens.  Add red onion rings.  Sprinkle with blueberries and feta cheese.  Drizzle with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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Grilled Chicken, Strawberry, and Feta Cheese Salad

With warm summer evenings, it’s nice to have a go-to recipe for an easy-to-prepare, light yet filling, entrée.  One of my favorite summertime evening meals is warm grilled chicken served over a strawberry, feta cheese, and green salad and drizzled with a good balsamic vinaigrette.

The option is yours to choose to marinade the boneless, skinless chicken breasts or not.  I usually do and I don’t follow a precise recipe for the marinade but these are the usual ingredients:  brown sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, minced onion, soya sauce, salt, and pepper.  As for quantities of each ingredient, I don’t actually measure them out and add more or less, depending on how many chicken breasts I am marinating.  I make several horizontal cuts in the chicken breasts to allow the marinade to permeate through the meat.  Place the chicken breasts in a ziplok bag, mix together the marinade and pour it into the bag, making sure the entire chicken breasts are covered.  Zip up the bag and place it in the fridge for several hours (I usually aim for between 2 and 4 hours).  Heat up the grill and cook the chicken breasts until they are done.

One of the pleasures of summer is having our own garden.  We eat a lot of salads and there is nothing better than running to the garden right before meal time and gathering a medley of fresh lettuce as well as some herbs from our little herb garden.

Slice the warm grilled chicken breast horizontally into slices about ¼” thick.

Cover the plate with a medley of greens.  Transfer the cut-up chicken breast to centre of the plate on top of the lettuce bed.  Slice up and add some fresh strawberries and red onion rings. Sprinkle with feta cheese and a few nuts such as cashews or sunflower seeds (or both!).  Add a balsamic vinaigrette and voila, a tasty and light dinner.  Serve with baguette slices and a refreshing glass of your favorite white wine.  Here I have selected “flipflop”, a California Pinot Grigio which made a fine accompaniment to a summer salad.

My recipe for the vinaigrette follows.  Of course, you know the secret to a really good vinaigrette – the best quality of olive oil and balsamic vinegar you can find.  Because we have a “Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive” store in Charlottetown, I buy their olive oil and vinegar products because they are superior and fresh quality.

Peach and Mandarin Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil

2 tbsp peach white balsamic vinegar

4 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1 small green onion or 1 – 2 tsp finely chopped red onion

2 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ – 2 tsp sugar, to taste

Freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt, to taste

Mix and shake all ingredients together until well mixed. Drizzle over salad at time of serving.

 

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