One message I really want to drive home all year long, but especially during the cold of winter, is how cooking and eating should do several things for you. First, it should fuel and nourish you. I want visitors to this site to get excited about a new recipe or technique and enjoy spending a bit of time making food for themselves and loved ones. Second, I want it to be fun and, if possible, inspiring and beautiful. Hitting those marks is very easy when fresh food and enjoying the outdoors is in abundance. It's harder when the wind is whipping around and snow is swirling outside your doors. So when I say the salad I'm sharing this time around hits all the marks and can be assembled in about 15 minutes, understand that this is the heart of what I really want for all of us when we step into our kitchens and sit down at out tables.
This salad's dressing is simple and excellent. If you want to make it vegan, swap the honey for maple syrup. Either way, double or triple it and keep a bottle in the fridge for all of your salads. It's that good and easy to make. This salad relies on a bunch of ingredients that are easy to get year round: fresh spinach, seeds and nuts, and tangy cheese (if blue cheese isn't your thing, opt for chèvre or feta or omit to make it vegan). The rest is comprised of pear and pomegranate - fantastic winter fruits that bring flavor, texture, and color to your plate. I love relying on both often this time of the year. If you don't have access to ripe pears, opt for a crisp apple with bright red coloring instead.
I serve this salad with everything. Whether I'm serving it alongside brunch or dinner, it plays well. It's equally great with soups and sandwiches or roasted meats or pasta. I am also a fan of just making a bowl of the stuff to have as lunch on a gloomy day. Nothing like this kind of bright color, varying textures, and outstanding flavor to have you inspired to find more ways to nourish ourselves in all manner of ways while enjoying time in the kitchen and at the table.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup pepitas
- ¼ cup pecans
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 firm-ripe pear, cored and chopped
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
In a resealable jar, add the oil, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar; shake well to combine and set aside.
In a serving bowl, arrange the remaining seven ingredients (spinach through blue cheese); drizzle with the dressing and serve with additional dressing on the side.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: 15 minutes