At my parent’s house in northern California, we had a Meyer lemon tree in our backyard. In elementary school, we had a “tree party” where everyone had to bring a dish made with an ingredient from a tree. Dozens of bags of chocolate were piled on the picnic table at the party, but I came carrying a jug of lemonade bigger than me. My Dad and I spent that entire morning squeezing the lemons from our tree for every last drop of juice. From that day on, the smell of the little golden orbs always makes me think of home. But enough with my sentimentality—if you’ve never had a Meyer lemon, you’re in for something special. Meyer lemons are much sweeter than your standard citrus, and are often used in baking or cocktails. I find that this sweetness works well with a fruity olive oil for the perfect salad dressing, which is how this recipe was born.
The ingredients in this salad are ones that will soak up the vinaigrette well, allowing the meal to be prepared in the morning and carried with you to campus. Feel free to sub different kinds of cabbage or other vegetables—just make sure they’re a little sturdy if you plan to make it ahead of time.
- One half a shallot
- Juice from one Meyer lemon (or a regular lemon plus
- a teaspoon of sugar)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup of red cabbage, shredded
- 1 large bell pepper, any color, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup of mixed herb salad (or regular greens mixed with
- 1/4 cup of chopped herbs of your choice)
- 1/2 cup of kidney beans
- Finishing salt (like Fleur De Sel)
- Black pepper
First, make the dressing (you can do this a few hours ahead of time so the shallot flavor mellows a bit). Add the shallot to a small container with a lid (I use leftover takeout holders), and squeeze the lemon juice in. Then, slowly drizzle the olive oil in, whisking as you go. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Place the lid on the container and shake thoroughly for about 30 seconds so the mixture is smooth.
To make the salad, place the cabbage, bell pepper, greens and beans into a large bowl. Mix in the dressing with salad tongs, and season thoroughly with finishing salt and pepper. Serve as is, or take it with you to enjoy later. Serves 1–2 people.