Soups & Salads

Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salad.jpg

Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

My friend Libby Patterson remembers a jar of her mother’s homemade sweet vinaigrette always being in the refrigerator at home in Mobile, Alabama. It was the go-to dressing for all salads, and it was the way her mother transformed avocado, grapefruit and greens into a masterful arrangement of bright flavor and vivid color.

I shared Libby’s recipe in my book, Anne Byrn Saves the Day, and I’m sharing it with you here. It has been my go-to salad at Thanksgiving dinner and anytime where we need a big, bright, fresh salad to go alongside a roasted turkey or other important entree. It goes well with casseroles and freshens up the meal. And that vinaigrette is a good keeper in the fridge for a month, ready when you are!

Makes: 6 to 8 servings | Prep: 30 minutes

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half

1 medium-size head Boston or Bibb lettuce
1 large pink grapefruit
1 large ripe mango
2 ripe medium-size Hass avocados

  1. Make the vinaigrette: Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the oil at little at a time, whisking to combine. Add the garlic. Set aside. Discard the garlic before serving.

  2. Make the salad: Rinse the lettuce, dry the leaves, and place them between paper towels in the fridge. Or, use a salad spinner. Chill the lettuce leaves until time to serve.

  3. Peel the grapefruit and separate it into sections. Remove and discard the membranes from the grapefruit sections, using a small paring knife to cut off the membrane. You will have 10 to 12 sections per grapefruit. Set aside.

  4. Peel the mango with the small paring knife. Place the mango on the cutting board and cut off large chunks from the wide, flat pit. Cut each chunk into slices about 1/8-inch thick.

  5. Peel avocados, and cut in half. Remove the pits, and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.

  6. To assemble the salad, line a platter or plates with lettuce leaves. Arrange avocado slices, then mango, then grapefruit. When ready to serve, discard the garlic, and drizzle 1/4 to 1/3 cup vinaigrette over the fruit and lettuce. Serve remaining dressing to the side, and chill leftovers.

Turn this salad into something even more festive by adding pomegranate seeds to the top.

Arugula Salad with Orange and Sweet Pan Drizzle


Arugula Salad with Orange and Sweet Pan Drizzle

This is one of my favorite salads, a perfect combo of greens and citrus, avocado and crunchy almonds.

When the warm olive oil, onion, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar dressing is poured over, the greens wilt and the flavors combine. The cast-iron skillet is a handy way to toast nuts quickly and bring out their rich flavors. As the skillet is already in-use, turn the dressing ingredients into it, and you’ve got only one pan to wash.


Makes: 6 servings | Prep: 25 to 30 minutes

6 cups fresh arugula or spinach leaves
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 large navel orange, halved
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia or sweet onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  1. Place the arugula or spinach in a large bowl, and set aside.

  2. Place the almonds in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and cook and stir until they just begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn out onto a plate, and set them aside.

  3. Peel one half of the orange, and separate into sections. Cut each section into three pieces. Place the orange pieces on top of the spinach. Set the other half of orange aside for the dressing. Place the avocado cubes on top of the orange pieces. Set the bowl aside.

  4. Place the olive oil in the skillet. Add the onions, and sauté over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and are translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Squeeze the juice from the reserved orange half into the pan. Add the vinegar, and stir. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and oregano.

  5. Pour the hot pan dressing over the spinach, orange and avocado. Toss to combine. Add more olive oil if needed, season with salt and pepper, and garnish the top with the toasted almonds. Serve at once.

Kitchen Sink Tabbouleh

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Kitchen Sink Tabbouleh

I love the kitchen-sink concept of cooking. Look in the pantry and the fridge, see what ingredients need to be used up, and toss them in the recipe! I first tried it in cookies, adding everything under the sun - pecans, cranberries, oatmeal - to chocolate chip cookies. And now I am moving to tabbouleh.

For me, the store-bought tabbouleh mixes are ho-hum. It is just as easy to make your own by pouring boiling water over coarse cracked wheat and then you can clean out your fridge and add anything you like. Chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, currants, toasted pine nuts, garbanzo beans or white beans, roasted eggplant cubes, caramelized onions, feta cheese - you name it. Leftovers go into brown bag lunches or can pair with grilled chicken or fish for tomorrow night’s dinner.


Makes: 8 servings | Prep: 30 minutes | Soak: 1 hour

1 1/2 cups bulgur (coarse cracked wheat)
1 1/2 to 2 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped peeled cucumber
1/2 cup chopped green onions or sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup currants or chopped raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

  1. Place the bulgur in a strainer and rinse it under warm running water. Transfer the bulgur to a large heatproof bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over it. Let the bulgur sit for about 30 minutes and if the water hasn’t been totally absorbed and the bulgur hasn’t softened enough, add 1/2 cup more boiling water and let it sit 15 to 30 minutes longer.

  2. Stir the bulgur to make sure it has absorbed all the water. If not, drain off the excess. Add the tomato, cucumber, green onions, and garlic. Stir to combine. Pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the top and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Fold in the chickpeas, currants, pine nuts, parsley and mint and serve.

To toast the pine nuts, place them in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat and cook until they just take on a little brown color, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Tomato Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

Tomato Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing


This is one of my favorite ways to serve sliced ripe summertime tomatoes. Or, serve good tomatoes no matter when you can get them. For an even more beautiful plate, choose red, yellow, and sweet green tomatoes. Add cherry tomatoes for variety.

The dressing is fabulous, and full of roasted fresh garlic, but it is not so heavy to not let the tomatoes or the salad greens or grilled asparagus or whatever it is on the plate to be the star. It is also wonderful spooned alongside grilled chicken, mushrooms, a filet of beef, the list goes on.

For company, prep this recipe in steps. Do the dressing the day before, and you can roast the garlic the day before that!


Serves: 6 | Prep: 25 minutes | Bake: 45 minutes | Cool: 20 minutes | Chill: 30 minutes

Roasted Garlic Dressing:
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 to 8 Bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
3 to 4 large ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, if desired

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Make the Roasted Garlic Dressing: Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the head of garlic so garlic cloves are exposed. Place the garlic head on a square of aluminum foil and drizzle the olive oil over the top of the garlic. Pull the sides of the foil up around the garlic to encase it. Place the foil-wrapped garlic on the oven rack and bake the garlic until tender, about 45 minutes.

  3. Remove the foil-wrapped garlic from the oven and open the foil so the garlic can cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.

  4. Holding the head of the garlic upside-down over a bowl, squeeze out the cloves of garlic. Using a fork, mash the garlic until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Parmesan, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and hot sauce and whisk until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes, or until time to serve.

  5. Make the salad: Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Peel and slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top of the lettuce. When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Leftovers? The dressing keeps, chilled, up to 5 days.