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JULY FOURTH: Recipe for shades of green salad

With salad season in full swing, it's inevitable that you soon will be sick of your go-to mix of greens. Doesn't matter if you favour romaine or Boston, herbed mixes or arugula, or even old-school iceberg. In short order, the idea of yet another bowl of greens will simply seem depressing and uninspiring.

So we decided to create a green salad that will keep you coming back for more. And not a single leafy green is harmed in the making of this meal. We combine fresh green beans, asparagus, snow peas and zucchini for a fresh and delicious take on a not-so-basic green salad. For good measure, we also pile on some fresh dill and avocado slices.

And since we already were mixing things up, we created a zippy orange-Dijon vinaigrette to tie everything together.

___

SHADES OF GREEN SALAD

Start to finish: 20 minutes active (plus 30 minutes marinating)

Servings: 6

12 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup snow peas, sliced lengthwise

1 medium zucchini, halved, seeds scraped out, then cut into thin half moons

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grated shallot

Zest and juice of 1 orange

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 avocado, sliced

Manchego cheese, to serve

Fresh dill, to serve

Honey, to serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and have it near the stove.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender and bright green. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer them from the boiling water to the ice water. While the green beans cool, add the asparagus to the boiling water and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks, until just barely tender. Transfer the asparagus to the ice water with the green beans.

Once they have cooled, drain the green beans and asparagus, pat them dry and transfer to a large bowl. Add the snow peas and zucchini.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, shallot, orange zest and juice, vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir gently to coat well. For best flavour, allow the vegetables to marinate in the dressing for at least 30 minutes.

Serve topped with sliced avocado, grated manchego cheese, sprigs of dill and a drizzle of honey.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 110 calories from fat (55 per cent of total calories); 13 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 7 g protein; 130 mg sodium.

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