November 21, 2011

Pear, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad with Cranberry-Ginger Vinaigrette

This was one of those weekends that I need a weekend to recover from. Saturday was busy with "work" and a housewarming party (sadly, not our housewarming), Sunday we tried out a new church and then I co-hosted a baby shower.
Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of time for cooking. Conveniently, I have been craving my favorite salad combination, so we ate a lot of these salads over the weekend.

This salad always reminds me of Thanksgiving because, in past Thanksgivings with my in-laws, I have been asked to bring a green salad. I think this because I married into a family of fabulous cooks, and so they know how to prepare all the main dishes really well. Therefore, I get stuck bringing the boring green salad.

My first Thanksgiving with the new family, I decided I was going to wow them with a salad that, although it met the "green salad" specifications, was also creative, delicious, and pretty. This was when I stumbled upon a pear, walnut, and blue cheese salad with cranberry vinaigrette from Cooking Light. After doing a bit of tweaking, I brought a salad that I thought could not fail. I thought for sure by the next year I would be asked to bring the turkey. I had forgotten that fruit, cheese, and salad greens together are not a favorite combination among my in-laws. Oops.

This year, I have insisted on not bringing the green salad (but I still need to figure out what the heck I am making). I have volunteered to bring some sort of green vegetable dish, a dessert, and Lane is making cranberry sauce. For the dishes I am making, I am thinking perhaps something like this and this.

If your family, friends, and/or in-laws ask you to bring a green salad to your Thanksgiving feast, I highly recommend gracing the table with this one. It is sure to be a hit. Unless, of course, they don't like fruit in their salad, in which case you can keep the salad all for yourself.
(But watch out, or some little person may try to steal the salad toppings while you are taking pictures of it:)

Pear, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad with Cranberry-Ginger Vinaigrette
Makes 2/3 cup dressing and about 6-8 side salads
For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grated or very finely minced ginger
pinch salt
For the Salad:
1 head of romaine lettuce (about 8 to 10 cups)
2 pears, sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/3 cup blue cheese (try to get the least-smokey one you can find)
1/3 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk the ingredients together.
To make the salad, divide all the lettuce up equally between the plates, then evenly divide toppings. Top with vinaigrette just before serving. Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment