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.
For the Salad:
4 ounces mixed greens, washed and thoroughly dried
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
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.
In a separate small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together.
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.
Small pan, 2 small bowls, 1 large bowl, tongs
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 32g||41%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||45%|
|Total Carbohydrate 15g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 17mg||87%|
|*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.|