Little Gem Salad with Herbs and Lemon Vinaigrette

From ‘It’s Pasta Friday, it’s Pasta Friday!’

By Allison Arevalo | Photos by Denise Woodward


Allison’s five-year-old son, Nico, grates pecorino romano for all of the Pasta Friday guests while Allison chops vegetables.

For salad
1 pound green or red little gems, torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch mint, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 avocado, cut into cubes
½ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
½ cup ricotta salata, grated

For dressing
1 lemon
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
Extra virgin olive oil (about 1 cup)

Zest the lemon into a medium bowl; then juice it into the same bowl. (You should have about ½ cup juice.) With mortar and pestle, smash garlic clove with the salt into a paste; stir into the lemon juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully combined.
Gently combine all salad ingredients (with tongs or your hands) in a large bowl. Dress the salad just before serving.

Allison Arevalo is an entrepreneur, chef, and cookbook author. When she steps out of the kitchen, you’ll find her running on any trail she can find. Learn more about Pasta Friday and her upcoming businesses at, and get in touch at pastafriday(at) 

Photographer Denise Woodward specializes in food and travel. When not behind the camera, she can be found exploring the outdoors in her van or cooking up new recipes in her home kitchen. Read about her culinary capers in and out of the kitchen at and get in touch at dwoodward20(at)