Healthy & Delicious: Mixed Greens with Pears, Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Honey Balsamic Dressing

Healthy & Delicious: Mixed Greens with Pears, Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Honey Balsamic Dressing
  • Yield:Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course
  • Active time:15 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson Sturt of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson Sturt]

If I had my druthers, salads would be made of nuts, cheese, and a fruity dressing with a few leaves of arugula sprinkled on top. Alas, those druthers miss the whole point of a salad, which "should" be a light, healthy meal. I'm not alone, though. Visit any restaurant, and you'll find salads packed with heavy (albeit delicious) add-ons, making them slightly less nutritious than a bag of Big Macs.

But it doesn't have to be that way. By maximizing the impact of your extras, you can create a healthy salad you'll want to eat. Let's use Mixed Greens with Pears, Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Honey Balsamic Dressing for an example. The vinaigrette recipe comes from Catherine Walthers Soups + Sides, while the remainder of the ingredients are fairly standard salad toppings.

  • A little bit of an assertive fromage goes a long way. I used a pungent blue in this case.
  • Amplify the nuttiness of nuts by toasting them.
  • A whole, chopped up pear adds sweetness and another dose of produce.
  • Toss the greens in half the dressing, so guests would get a little bit in every bite, without drenching the whole thing.

By following these simple rules, you can serve a salad that leaves room for the main course. That is, unless they want seconds.

Ingredients

  • For the salad:
  • 4 ounces mixed greens, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 1 pear
  • 2 wedges lemon
  • 1/4 chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • .
  • For the dressing:
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. 1.

    Slice pear into thin wedges and cut those wedges in half. Place pear pieces in a small bowl, and squeeze lemon juice them. Toss gently to coat. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    In a separate small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together.

  3. 3.

    In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with half the dressing. Top with pear, pecans, blue cheese, and cranberries if using. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Serious Eats Newsletters

Keep up with our latest recipes, tips, techniques and where to eat!

Comments

Add a rating with your comment:

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: