Winter Salad with Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Maple-Balsamic Dressing

 

Even though we may crave soup, stew and other comfort foods during the winter months, sometimes its nice to serve a meal that’s a little lighter and brighter -- especially after over-indulging in all those rich, holiday treats.

This winter salad recipe is just what you need to get back on track.  

Not only is it easy to make, it’s also a stunning showcase for colorful winter produce. Topped off with a maple balsamic dressing, it’s sweet, tangy, crunchy and quick to put together. 

Oh—and did we mention that there’s no chopping involved? 

This salad is loaded with toppings. Feel free to tweak the exact proportions to suit your family's tastes. And while the recipe calls for salad greens, you can easily substitute kale, spinach or a mix of all the above. 

 

Why we love these ingredients:

  • Spring greens contain high amounts of immune-boosting Vitamin C as well as vitamin K, which helps build bone strength. They’re also a source of sulforaphane and indoles, compounds that help protect against inflammation. 
  • Goat cheese is great for gut health! It’s full of beneficial probiotics and is easier to digest than cheese made from cow’s milk. Goat cheese is a weight loss friend as well. The fatty acids in goat cheese are metabolized faster than cow’s cheese, which means that the body feels full faster. 
  • Cranberries and pomegranates are antioxidant powerhouses and support thealth heart, vision and urinary tract health.

 

Some pro tips to get you started:

While you can probably find candied walnuts in your local grocery or specialty store, it’s easy to make your own. 

Simply put the walnuts in a small skillet with 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5-6 minutes, until the nuts are toasted and sticky and all the liquid has evaporated. Nuts burn quickly so keep your eye on the cooking process. Add a pinch of salt and let the nuts cool completely before adding to the salad.

Firmer pears work best for this recipe. D'Anjou is our top choice, but you can sub in your favorite variety or whatever looks most wonderfully flavorful and juicy at your market. You can also switch out the pears with apples—whatever you prefer.

Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a lidded glass jar. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and then pour over the salad. Add the dressing just prior to serving, so the greens don't wilt.

 

Winter salad with Goat Cheese, Pears, Candied Walnuts and Maple-Balsamic Dressing

 

PREP TIME10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

5 ounces of mixed gourmet/spring greens

1 pear (such as d'Anjou), cored and sliced 

½ cup pomegranate seeds

2 clementines, segmented

1 cup candied walnuts

2/3 cup dried cranberries

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place greens in a large serving bowl (or divide among individual salad plates).
  2. Sprinkle pears, clementines walnuts, cranberries, and goat cheese over top of greens.
  3. For dressing, whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, mustard, and salt until emulsified and pour into salad. Top with pomegranate seeds.
  4. Mix and enjoy!

 

 

Sources: Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears, Candied Pecans and Maple-Balsamic Dressing (twohealthykitchens.com)

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