Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Pecans and Fig-Raspberry Vinaigrette

This might be my favorite salad...spinach topped with crisp apple, cranberries, creamy goat cheese, and crunchy maple glazed pecans. I love the contrasting creamy and crunchy textures and the sweet and tart flavors. I have also tried this salad with mixed greens and pears, and it is equally delicious. My husband isn't usually a fan of fruit in his salad but he loved this one. I think it was the maple glazed pecans that won him over. And to do something a little bit different, I finished it off with a vinaigrette made with fig preserves and raspberry vinegar. A perfect salad to grace your holiday dinner table.

Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Pecans and Fig-Raspberry Vinaigrette
Servings: 4

Maple pecans:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp. real maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Fig-Raspberry Vinaigrette:
2 tbsp. fig preserves
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

1 bag mixed greens and/or spinach
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 apple or pear, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup maple pecans

To prepare the maple pecans, add the pecans and syrup to a small non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the pecans and syrup have caramelized together. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt. Allow to cool. Break into pieces.

To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk the preserves, mustard, herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper together until combined. Slowly add the vinegar while whisking. Stir until well combined. 

To prepare the salad, toss all of the ingredients together. Drizzle the desired amount of vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. (Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side). 

Note: The pecan recipe makes more than what you need for the salad in case you would like extra on your salad or for snacking. 

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley

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