Mandarin Orange Avocado Salad

One very cold and snowy evening, I was looking through my pantry asking myself the age old question, "What can I make for dinner tonight?"  While I had figured out my main course, I still had room on my dance card for a side.  And then, it was as though the cans of mandarin oranges had a pulsating glow around them; like a beacon, calling me.  While thinking about what to do with them, I opened the fridge.  

There were the usual suspects: olives, one somewhat sad scallion, pickles, an avocado, miso, celery...  Not a lot to work with, but maybe.  I pulled the celery, avocado, the stray scallion, and some flat leaf parsley that probably had two more days of life left in it.  I messed around with the ingredients, and wah-la, one of the most refreshing, light, and flavorful salads was born.  Sometimes, it's good to be stuck in a snowstorm.  It's like your very own episode of Chopped.  

While this salad came together in the dead of winter, it really works well in any season.  I've enjoyed it in the winter as a pick-me-up after a hearty main course.  But it also works well during BBQ season in the summer.  The acidic sweetness of the mandarin oranges plays off the creamy avocado and is complimented by the savory scallion.  Every crunchy bite is full of refreshing flavor.

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Mandarin Orange Avocado Salad

4 celery stalks, chopped including leaves

2 cans mandarin oranges packed in juice, drained

1 scallion, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ cup walnuts, chopped

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

½ - 1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp agave

1. Place celery in a bath of ice water for 15 minutes before chopping.  It will make it very crisp and crunchy.  Mix everything in a bowl, adjust taste and serve.