It seems salads get left out in the cold, so to speak, in the fall.
I love to make salads in the summer when it’s hot. I tend to utilize summer fruits like strawberries, blueberries and peaches in my salads along with some form of nut and shaved cheese.
This salad, however, calls on the produce of fall with the tartness of cranberries, the sweet juiciness of pears, and the sharp pungent bite of blue cheese that mimics the pungent fall air when leaves are piling up in damp corners.
Pears and blue cheese pair very well together. I always love a good blue with a drizzle of honey but the pears serve this purpose in the salad as well as a vinaigrette that is sweetened with a dollop of pure maple syrup. I think you could make this an easy main dish by grilling up some marinated pork loin and laying sliced medallions over top of it alongside the pear slices.
Come taste fall with me in the form of salad!
Start out by making the dressing. I always find the easiest way to make dressing is in a mason jar, tossing in all the ingredients, screwing the lid on tight, and shaking it to combine everything just before pouring over the salad.
Here are your necessary ingredients for this dressing.
A shallot, Dijon mustard (I love coarse ground), apple cider vinegar, pure maple syrup, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Finely chop the shallot and add it into the jar. If you don’t want to fuss with shallots, just use a red onion. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and just before serving, pop the lid on the jar and shake it like the dickens for about 20 seconds.
Now for the salad. I like a nice peppery type of green mixed with spinach for this salad. Baby arugula works wonderful as does baby kale. Measure out two cups of each and just mix them together in a large bowl.
Slice up your red onion as thinly as you can and add it in with the lettuce. Toss it again. Now evenly divide this all onto four dinner plates. Slice up two pears (I like Bosc) and layer four of the slices over each salad. Try to get four to six slices out of one half of the pear. Fan them out nice and pretty over the salad and then scatter about a tablespoon each of the blue cheese, candied walnuts and cranberries over top of each.
Drizzle your dressing over each salad or simply put a nice ladle in the mason jar and let your guests or family add their own.
I love this salad in fall. Alongside a pork roast, pork loin or even a good juicy steak, this salad should not be neglected just because it’s cold.
Never neglect fall produce. It’s just too delectable.
- 2 t. Dijon mustard
- ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ c. pure maple syrup
- ¼ t. kosher salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely diced (or substitute red onion)
- 4 cups arugula
- ½ medium red onion, sliced thinly
- 2 bosc pears, sliced thinly
- ½ c. dried cranberries
- ½ c. candied walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped or whole to liking
- ½ c. crumbled bleu cheese
- Using a mason jar or container with lid, add all ingredients and shake.(easiest method!).
- Alternatively you can combine all ingredients except the shallot and olive oil in bowl and whisk well to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add in shallot and stir.
- Place walnuts and sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves into a light brown liquid and coats the walnuts. Remove walnuts from skillet, and spread them out on a sheet of aluminum foil to cool.
- In large bowl, add the arugula,spinach and toss.
- Divide among plates and layer 4 slices of pear over each and a few red onion slices. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon (each) of walnuts and dried cranberries over each salad and some crumbled bleu cheese. Drizzle with dressing.
Want to see what other fantastic bloggers are cooking up with spinach? Check out Food Network’s Fall Fest extravaganza below!
Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Creamed Spinach
The Heritage Cook: Fresh Spinach with Maple Vinegar Vinaigrette
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Za’atar Roasted Salmon with Greens
Blue Apron Blog: Saag Paneer at Home
Weelicious: Spinach Cake Muffins
Virtually Homemade: Creamy Spinach and Chicken Casserole
Haute Apple Pie: Parmesan Spinach, Broccoli and Chicken Bake
Red or Green: Spinach-Walnut Pesto on Bruschetta with Fried Egg
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spinach with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes
The Sensitive Epicure: Spanakopita Minus the -Opita
Taste With The Eyes: Spinach and Chickpeas in a Bengali Mustard Sauce
Domesticate Me: Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette and a Fried Egg
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Crispy Spinach Latkes
Devour: How to Make Spinach Gnocchi
Dishin & Dishes: Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad with Arugula and Baby Spinach
FN Dish: Eat Your Spinach Sides