Bust out the sesame oil for Citrus Chopped Salad With Sesame Vinaigrette

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You've got to be careful with sesame oil. 

The condiment, used often in Asian cuisines, is an oil made from sesame seeds. And it's unique, and strong, and a little goes a very long way. 

It's also exactly what I needed to create an Asian-style salad dressing at home. I love making my own dressing, something I only do so often because I never have any of the storebought stuff around when I need it.

I tested a couple dressings for this Citrus Chopped Salad, and this one with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and fresh garlic and ginger was a clear winner. It's zingy and pungent and the perfect foil for some fresh produce. 

Because I adore a chopped salad, I took the time to chop even the salad greens with my biggest knife. Definitely a new go-to for weeknight dinners. 

Citrus Chopped Salad With Sesame Vinaigrette

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6 cups spinach or mixed greens
2 large carrots
Half a medium cucumber
Half a red or yellow bell pepper
1 orange
1 avocado
⅓ cup slivered almonds
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 lime

For the vinaigrette: 
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
½-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
Zest from 1 orange, optional
Roughly chop mixed greens. I placed a handful at a time on a sturdy cutting board and briskly ran a sharp knife through them a couple times. Add to a large bowl. 
Trim the ends off the carrots, then use a large box grater to grate carrots. You can also cut them into thin, matchstick-like pieces with a sharp knife. Add to bowl. 
Cut cucumber and bell pepper into thin, matchstick-like pieces about 2 inches long. Add to bowl.
Zest the orange by running the outside orange peel along a microplaner or small grater, and add to a small bowl or glass jar with a lid. Set aside. Cut the rounded bottom and top parts off the orange, then run a knife along the edges from top to bottom to remove the orange peel and most of the white pith. Cut orange into small chunks, and add to bowl. 
Cut avocado in half, remove and discard pit, and scoop the green flesh out. Cut flesh into small chunks, then add to bowl. Lightly toss ingredients to combine and place in the fridge while you make the dressing. 
Make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or glass jar with a lid — the same one you added that orange zest to. You don’t have to use the zest if you don’t want to, but I liked the cirtusy punch it adds. 
Shake really well so everything is nice and combined, then use immediately. Anything leftover will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks; just make sure to shake it well before using.
When ready to serve salad, top with almonds, green onions and sesame seeds. 
Serves 4. 
Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times