Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears & Candied Pecans

This is a perfect salad that would complement any holiday meal!

Green Salad:

  • 5 ounces of mixed gourmet/spring greens
  • 1 pear (such as d’Anjou), cored and chopped (to equal about 1 1/4 cups) (see note)
  • 1 cup glazed, candied pecans (see note below)
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries (or cherry-flavored Craisins)
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Maple-Balsamic Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or can substitute MCT oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smooth dijon mustard
  • a pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Place greens in a large serving bowl (or divide among individual salad plates).
  2. Sprinkle pears, pecans, cherries, and goat cheese over top of greens.
  3. For dressing, whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, mustard, and salt until emulsified.
  4. Dress salad just before serving, or pass the dressing at the table.

Notes:

Pears: 

Firmer pears work best for this recipe. D’Anjou is our top choice, but you can sub in whatever is available.

Candied pecans: 

We definitely recommend using our super-easy recipe for 5-Minute, 4-Ingredient Candied Pecans. They add just the right amount of sweetness without going overboard on the sugar or adding corn syrup, butter, or other less-healthy ingredients. Alternately, if you use purchased candied pecans, be sure to read the ingredient lists and nutrition labels to find the best possible option.

Make-ahead tips: 

The dressing can be made a day or two in advance and kept, covered, in the refrigerator. If you’re planning on making your own candied pecans (using our recipe), those can also be made in advance. For a little extra time-savings, look for already-crumbled goat cheese (which is also a bit less messy), rather than the little 4-ounce logs that you’ll need to crumble yourself.

Serving tips: 

This salad is literally loaded with toppings, which is exactly how my family likes it best. Feel free to tweak the exact proportions to suit your family’s tastes. Also, if you’re going to serve the salad buffet-style and want to pre-dress it, it’s important to add the dressing just prior to serving, so the greens don’t wilt upon standing too long. When pre-dressing the salad, you may want to reserve some of the dressing and offer it at the side, as some people prefer their salads more lightly dressed than others.

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