avocado and tomato salad

 

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This may seem a bit unseasonal for many of you, but I was lucky enough to go home to Hawaii for the holidays. That being said, I couldn't leave without taking advantage of the fresh produce... especially the avocados. In my opinion, avocado is one of the best foods on the planet. It is the butter of plant kingdom. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that there is rarely a time that I don't have one ripening on my counter and one half eaten in the fridge.This recipe accompanies any dish beautifully, or is a perfect afternoon snack. It is a favorite in my family, and can be dressed for just about any cuisine by playing with the dressing recipe a bit.

dining in the sand....

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Lucky for me, avocados were in season while I was home and there was an overabundance of them, which is never a problem. This salad is simply delicious, you don't have to do much to enhance the rich, buttery flavors of the avocado and the sweet, juicy flavors of fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. Just a light drizzle of miso-balsamic vinaigrette, a few slivers of red onion, and a crumble of gorgonzola finish this salad beautifully, adding a little texture and bite.

Growing up, I never knew how blessed I was to be able to walk outside and pick the foods we ate for dinner. Now it's so exciting, and such a treat. Fresh produce, great family and friends and your toes in the sand is an unbeatable way relax and unwind.

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The Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fat, but don’t let this stop you from enjoying them because monounsaturated fat is a healthy and beneficial fat. Monounsaturated fats have been linked to health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, reduced risk of certain cancers, and lowering cholesterol. Avocados are a healthy source of the carotenoid lutein which is attributed to healthy eyesight as we age and vitamin K which is important for healthy blood clotting. It is also a source of  antioxidants including vitamins E and C, and vitamin B6, a water soluble vitamin that boosts the production of antibodies by the immune system and helps to maintain nerve function and the formation of red blood cells.

avos Miso is a fermented paste made from soybeans, a fungus strain called koji and a grain such as rice or barley. Using miso is great way to add depth and umami flavors, as well as increase the health benefits of your meals. Factors including which grain is used to make the miso and the duration that it is fermented greatly affect the flavor and color of miso which can range from mild, light and sweet to rich, bold and deep red. With its abundance of health benefits, I try to add it to as many dishes as possible. Like other fermented foods, miso is a great digestive aid, it has been shown to have strong anti carcinogenic effects, and reduce the effects of radiation, smoking, pollution and other environmental toxins.

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ingredients

2 large tomatoes, sliced 1 avocado, sliced thin red onion slivers Lots of fresh ground black pepper gorgonzola to garnish (optional)

Arrange vegetables on plate, season with pepper, garnish with blue cheese, and lightly top with dressing before serving.

miso balsamic vinaigrette

½ c olive oil ½ c balsamic vinegar 2 T organic white miso 2 t honey pinch of pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and enjoy. This will make more than you need for this salad, but will store for several weeks in the fridge.