The best thing about this salad 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! I wish I’d come up with this myself.
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.
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.
Start by drizzling a few teaspoons of maple syrup over a handful of pecans on a piece of foil. You’ll thank me later for the foil idea. They will stick to the pan if you don’t use foil. Or parchment.
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 you’ll be able to break them off the foil.
Mix up the dressing. You don’t need too much.
You can slice up the red onion in advance and break up the blue cheese. Slice up 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 and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Spinach Salad with Maple Roasted Pecans and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette Serves 2 Ingredients Salad 4 cups baby spinach 1/2 green pear, sliced 2 Tbsp blue cheese, crumbled 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup pecan halves 1 Tbsp maple syrup Dressing 2 tsp maple syrup 2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp lime juice 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard salt and pepper to taste Method Break pecan halves into 2 pieces and drizzle with 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Spread on a piece of foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, watching carefully until the pecans are browned and the syrup is bubbling and caramelized. When cooled, break off the foil. Prepare salad by topping the spinach with blue cheese, green pear, red onion and pecans. Wisk all dressing ingredients together until emulsified. Drizzle over salad right before serving.