I'M BAAAAAAACK! I hope that was creepy when you read it in your mind. I've been stuck in this really intense, conservatory style, acting program (super fun, don't get me wrong) with no time for recipe-making, which is sad. I've been quietly making my fellow classmates roasted chicken and strawberry jam sandwiches, but when my sister, arielleclementine, told me that y'all we're doing an avocado contest, I just had to contribute! I make a habit of peeling avocados and eating them like hand fruit while standing alone and pants-less in my kitchen. This salad is vegan -- which is so unlike me, as I also often eat blocks of cheese like hand fruit -- but the bright citrus and tangy-sweet tomatoes are full of flavor, especially when backed by the creamy richness of the avocado. I hope you enjoy my recipe. I promise I wore pants while creating this dish. —Helenthenanny
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Helenthenanny is the reigning champion of the contests Your Best Dish with Blood Oranges, Feta, and Mint and Your Best Holiday Cookie.
WHAT: Forget statement jewelry: This is your summer statement salad.
HOW: Roast tomatoes until they’re caramelized and bursting, then add them to a bed of arugula topped with a sliced avocado. Dress everything with a sweet and tangy combination of citrus juice and pomegranate molasses. Top with basil for freshness and pumpkin seeds for crunch.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The union of avocado, arugula, and lemon once again proves itself to be irresistible, and now there’s the added excitement of sweet pomegranate molasses and warm, roasted tomatoes. We’d proudly serve this late summer salad at a dinner party, but we’d be just as happy to eat it by the bowlful on the back porch (pants optional). —The Editors
Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet (line the pan with foil if you're concerned about protecting it) and arrange the tomatoes in the center. Pour the grapeseed oil and 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses over the tomatoes and rub them until they're well-coated. Sprinkle with kosher salt. The molasses will pool on the baking sheet, so be sure all of the tomatoes are swimming in that pool. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tomatoes are beginning to burst and look a bit caramel-y.
Lay out a bed of arugula on your serving dish.
Combine the juice of the pink variegated lemons with the lime juice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pomegranate molasses in a small bowl. Set aside for a moment.
Slice the avocado into large sections (I sliced mine lengthwise, because that seemed sexier to me) and arrange them over the arugula. Sprinkle slices with kosher salt.
Pour the citrus mixture over the avocado and arugula. Add tomatoes straight from the oven so that they're still warm when you serve it. Top with pepitas and chiffonaded basil.