The best thing about Spinach Salad with Maple Roasted Pecans is the pecans. You toss them with some maple syrup, roast them in the oven and they turn into something that resembles candy. CANDY! In a SALAD. The combination of roasted pecans with creamy blue cheese and crunchy green pear is genius! And making your own Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette is so quick you won’t ever buy store bought again!
I was served this salad at a friend’s place a number of years ago. I never forgot how good it was and have worked on the dressing ingredients and amounts over the years. I’m not sure if I have it exactly the same but it’s pretty close. I guess I could’ve called her and asked. But then I wouldn’t have had an excuse to make it over and over again. Not that anyone was complaining.
The salad is comprised of baby spinach, blue cheese, green pear, red onion and roasted pecans. It’s colourful, quick to make and you can do some of the steps in advance so you can throw it together at the last minute.Jump to Recipe
It’s best served with the toppings piled on top of the spinach and the dressing served once it’s plated, otherwise all the good stuff ends up in the bottom of the bowl if you toss it before serving.
How to make Maple Roasted Pecans
Start by drizzling a few teaspoons of maple syrup over a handful of pecans on a piece of parchment. You’ll thank me later for the parchment idea. They will stick if you use foil but it will work in a pinch.
I use pecan halves and usually break them in half so you don’t have big pieces. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them. Once they start to brown and the syrup is bubbling, they’re done. Take them out and let them cool. They will be sticky at first but as they cool they’ll harden.
Mix up the dressing. You don’t need too much. Give it a good shake or whiz in a small mixer until emulsified.
You can slice up the red onion in advance and let it sit in some cold water if you think it’s too pungent. It’s a neat trick I’ve learned that really seems to work.
Break up the blue cheese and thinly slice the pear right before serving and arrange everything on top of the spinach. Add a little maple balsamic dressing and enjoy!
This salad is a great accompaniment to Maple Dijon Glazed Salmon.
You might also like Strawberry Mandarin Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette.
Here’s the recipe:
Spinach Salad with Maple Roasted Pecans
- 8 C baby spinach
- 1 green pear
- ¼ C crumbled blue cheese
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced soak slices in cold water if too pungent
- ⅓ C pecan halves or quarters
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
Maple Balsamic Dressing
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Spread pecans on parchment paper and drizzle with 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Stir them around to ensure pecans are well coated. Use foil if you don't have parchment but pecans may stick somewhat.
- Bake pecans in 350° oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Watch them carefully. When the syrup is bubbling and the pecans are browning, remove from oven. Check regularly as they can burn quickly. Allow to cook before breaking off parchment.
- Meanwhile combine dressing ingredients and shake well.
- Assemble salad by dividing spinach between 4 plates. Top with blue cheese, sliced green pear, red onion and maple roasted pecans. Drizzle with dressing.