Friday, March 9, 2012

Cranberry Pear Salad

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When it comes to a typical leaf salad, I like incorporating a fruit, nut and cheese. Together it brings together a little sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy. This Cranberry Pear Salad does exactly that and it's been a favorite at my house to serve with dinners. Candied pecans, ripe pears, sweet dried cranberries and crumbled blue cheese are tossed in an orange vinaigrette with crisp greens. Eating a salad never sounded so good...

What really makes this salad work so well is the vinaigrette. The cranberries in the salad really pop and to pair with that flavor, orange comes to mind. That's when I decided to substitute orange juice for the apricot nectar originally called for in this recipe. It works wonderfully paired with the cranberries, pears and cheeses. Another part of this salad I really enjoy is the candied nuts. Aside from adding some crunch, that extra sweetness encourages me to eat more greens! You can use either blue or goat cheese in this salad... but if you're not a fan of either, you can always omit it too.



Cranberry Pear Salad
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Dressing:
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Candied Nuts:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

12 cups torn mixed salad greens
3 medium pears, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese


For dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients; set aside.

For the candied nuts, in a heavy skillet, melt sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add walnuts; stir to coat. Remove from the heat.


In a large salad bowl, combine greens, pears and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing. Add nuts and blue cheese; toss.

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