Thursday, December 31, 2009

Spiced Pecan Pear Salad with Maple–Mustard Vinaigrette

This salad was awesome- and I don’t say that freely when it comes to salads. Between the sliced pears, spiced nuts, and the maple mustard vinaigrette topped with Gorgonzola cheese- I enjoyed all facets of this recipe. I especially loved the spiced nuts- you initially taste the sweetness from the brown sugar, and then it the warmth of the red pepper slowly comes through. I made a double batch of this- 1 for the salad, and the other just to snack on. This salad reminds of an entrée you can order at Panera or other cafes/bistros, but now I can make this in the comfort of my own home- at a fraction of the price. I would recommend adding diced chicken to make it a complete, protein-packed meal.

Spiced Pecans
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup pecan halves

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; add oil, and stir.
2. Add pecans and toss until well coated.
3. Bake at 350 on a sheet for 12-15 minutes. (You might want to stir/toss them at the half way point.)
4. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside.

8 cups Mixed Salad Greens (Used fresh baby spinach)
6 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 Bartlett Pears, cut into 1/4" slices
Black pepper, to taste

1. Combine salad greens and dressing in a large bowl and toss.
2. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates.
3. Sprinkle each with cheese, pecans, and black pepper.
4. Top with pear slices and serve.

Source: Originally from Eat Drink Smile, as seen on Erin’s Food Files


Lauren K. said...

Made the pecans as a snacking/grazing food over the holidays; they were a hit. Thanks!

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