Friday, December 19, 2014

Pear/Blueberry Gorgonzola Salad with Maple Dressing

This Salad is definitely a favorite! 

A good friend wanted this recipe. It seems I only blog when someone asks. Oh dear. My goal this year was to blog at least 1x a month. I suppose I could sit and blog all Christmas break, but then my plans to sit and stare at the wall and bask in the glory of not having something to do would be foiled. 

But I am so glad to post this recipe. It is a crowd pleaser and a meal in one if you choose! I could sit and eat and eat this salad all day. It makes a GREAT holiday salad!!

There are also many variations you can do with the salad if you'd like. I will make note of them in the recipe. But mostly, using fruits and veggies in season is always best. 

Ingredients: *Amount will feed a good sized crowd 12+ servings

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped into bit size pieces (get as much water off lettuce as you can)
2 large handfuls of baby spinach (I buy the pre-washed kind at Costco)
2 pears (not over or under ripe), chopped into bite size pieces and drizzled with fresh lemon juice
5 green onions, chopped
3/4 C Craisins, or I used a "Super Berry Fusion" mix I found at Costco 
Gorgonzola Cheese crumbles (this might be strong, so add as much or as little as you want). Normally with salads I just add as I think looks good and is a good mix of flavors with each bite.
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh is preferred
2 orange bell peppers, chopped into small (not tiny) bite sized pieces. Why orange? Because when you make salads, the colors are very appealing. I like to mix up the colors so it is more exciting to eat and also tastes better! It has to be visual first.
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 English cucumber, quartered and sliced (makes for the best sized pieces)
1/2 cup Pepita seeds (Raw Pumpkin seeds) 

Candied Pecans:

1-2 cups raw pecans, broken (I like bigger pieces of nuts, plus it is easier for others to pick out if they don't like them-in which case, I say, "give them to me!!")
2 Tb honey
2-3 Tb coconut oil


1/2 cup Avocado oil
1/4 cup Coconut Vinegar (you can find this at Kitchen Kneads or Harmon's)
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup (Sometimes after I dress the salad I like to drizzle a little more maple syrup on top of the salad)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
2-3 Tb Maple Syrup butter (I found this at Harmon's in the peanut butter section. This can be optional)
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste (brings out the flavor in the dressing)

To assemble salad:

Add lettuce, spinach then larger toppings with smaller toppings on top. As shown in picture. DO NOT MIX.

Make Pecans. In saucepan on medium heat, caramelize pecans until slightly golden. Watch carefully and stir as necessary to insure they don't burn. Remove from heat and let cool (if you can stay away without eating them-that is why I always double this part. Half for me to snack on, half for the salad). Add to top of salad when cool enough.


Blend ingredients in blender until well mixed. Taste before serving. *If I am serving immediately, I mix the lettuce with the dressing first before I add my toppings. 

When ready to serve: 

Add dressing to top of salad. **ONLY mix the top layer, GENTLY with the dressing and salad. THIS IS WHY: if you mix the salad, all the "Yummies" or toppings will fall to the bottom of the bowl and your salad won't look as pretty anymore. As people take the salad, the "yummies" naturally fall to the bottom and everyone gets an equal amount of toppings with lettuce. 
This is what I do: take your tongs and separate (during your "mixing" part) the lettuce with toppings on top. It will create pockets for toppings to start to fall through. 

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