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Fall Salads with Attitude

When tomato season ends, we feel something akin to empty nest syndrome. As chuffed as we are when apples are ushered in—and as versatile their uses—when it comes to salads how many Waldorfs can you eat?

We recommend two different salad ideas for fall, both with more flavor and sass than the ubiquitous romaine with sucky cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Feel free to riff, but here’s what we do…

The first is a salad of chicories or field greens, fuyu persimmon slices, pomegranate seeds, chopped black walnuts or toasted pecans, and crumbled herb goat cheese—tossed in a meyer lemon-sumac vinaigrette, or drizzled with obscenely good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Optional: sprinkle with chiffonade of mint leaves.

Meyer Lemon-Sumac Vinaigrette


⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon ground sumac

finely grated rind of 1 meyer lemon

juice of 1 meyer lemon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground pepper to taste


Whisk ingredients together in a bowl until viscous and combined.


A note about Sumac

Sumac is an essential spice in Middle Eastern cuisine. The berries are ground to make a reddish-purple powder with a flavor at once lemony and earthy. It is often mistaken for paprika, though the spices bear no resemblance to each other in taste. It is frequently used to season lamb and chicken, as well as the classic Middle Eastern salad, fattoush, though it’s a welcome addition to a variety of salads and salad dressings. It also lends a delicious savory tang to grilled meats and kebabs. For more ideas on cooking with sumac, browse through Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, A Cookbook.

Sumac can be found in the bulk section of most natural food supermarkets. If you can only find it in berry form, simply grind the berries in a spice or coffee grinder until very fine.

Our second fall salad is a Mexican-style salad, inspired by Marinitas restaurant in San Anselmo, CA, with little gems, avocado, cotija cheese, paper-thin slices of watermelon radish, and toasted pumpkin seeds—tossed in a creamy cilantro-lime dressing.

Cilantro-Lime Dressing


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1 cup sour cream

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 small jalapeno, seeds removed & roughly chopped (optional)

2 green onions, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

juice from 1 lime

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste


Place the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined (the dressing will have a greenish hue).


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