Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jamie's Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut Salad: Making Me Happy with Six Ingredients

Simple dishes with just a few fresh ingredients that come together quickly and taste incredible make me happy--like this delicious Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut Salad from Jamie Oliver. Found in an old issue (October 2007) of Delicious magazine, it is my pick for this week's "Happy Days with Jamie" theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I love the fact that it has six ingredients, is on the table in a snap, and when served with my favorite soft chewy garlic bread from a local bakery, makes a satisfying week-night dinner.

Jamie says, "This salad is great with warm crusty bread and a lovely glass of wine."

Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut Salad
Courtesy of Jamie Oliver, Delicious Magazine Oct.07
(Serves 4)

splash of olive oil
12 thin slices flat pancetta
1/3 cup (50 g) pine nuts
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 ripe avocados, flesh cut into wedges
4 big handfuls baby spinach leaves

Heat a splash of oil in a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Fry the pancetta for 2-3 minutes until crispy. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, lightly toast pine nuts for 1-2 minutes until golden.

Make a dressing by whisking the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure it's balanced--add a little more oil or vinegar if you need to.

Mix the avocado with spinach, pancetta and pine nuts. Season well and drizzle over the dressing.

Notes/Results: So very simple, so very good--the components of this salad work well together, making the most of a few simple ingredients. Of course in my book it is hard to go wrong with pancetta, avocado and toasted nuts, and the simple oil and vinegar dressing lets all of the flavors come out. With lots of crispy pancetta and rich creamy avocado mixed into the baby spinach it is filling and feels like a meal. I like that the pine nuts go right into the same pan where the pancetta cooked to toast up as they take on the delicious flavor of the meat. You could always substitute good bacon for the pancetta and swap out the nuts if you are not a pine nut fan, but the combination really is lovely. It was perfect to toss together in a few minutes for an easy dinner on a busy weeknight and it would also be a great starter for company. I will be making this again.

You can check out how the other IHCC participants found their "Happy Days" by going to the post here and following the links.

What kinds of foods / recipes make you happy?


  1. this radiates happy :) I like easy, colorful recipes.

  2. Avocadoes definitely make me happy. Just seeing them puts a smile on my face. So I can totally see why you chose this salad for this week!

  3. I love the fact that Jamie's recipes are so simple but still absolutely delicious.

  4. It does look very good. And the simplicity of it is a plus in my book.

  5. Spinach and pancetta. Avocado and pancetta. These combinations would make me happy too!

  6. Wow, this salad would definitely make me happy!

  7. Looks like a Six Ingredient Fix!!
    Gorgeous looking Salad..:)

  8. wow...what a delicious combo...I'm just drooling over these pics !

  9. What a great salad! I'm always looking for new uses for avocado and this is a completely unexpected combo.

  10. Look at that plate of happiness:) This dish would make me happy for several reasons: it's pretty, it's good for you, and it's easy clean up! I'm all about easy clean up these days. I love the textures in this too: smooth, creamy, silky, crispy, and crunchy.

  11. I'm always trying to find new nut/salad combinations and this looks incredible and quick, will definitely have to try it! This looks sort of like my definition of happiness! Unfortunately I'm allergic to spinach but there are a lot of greens out there that would go well I think.

  12. This simple salad is perfectly delicious, I like the combination!

  13. This is definitely a happy meal! I would be a smiling fool with a plate of this, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine in front of me. =)

  14. Wow! That is a gorgeous salad. I love avocados but don't get them enough.

  15. All 3 ingredients are favorites, yet I'd never have thought to put them together. Looks delicious.

  16. So true, Debby . . . anything with avocado and pancetta would make me happy enough to smile from ear to ear. Great combo! Gonna make this one for sure!

  17. Ciao ! What a lovely combination ! Easy and delicious !


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