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

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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!

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.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 4 ounces mixed greens, washed and thoroughly dried

  • 1 pear

  • 2 wedges lemon

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

For the Dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  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. In a separate small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together.

  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.

Special equipment

Small pan, 2 small bowls, 1 large bowl, tongs

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
369 Calories
32g Fat
15g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 369
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 479mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 17mg 87%
Calcium 206mg 16%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 286mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)