Winter Salad with Cranberries and Spicy Pecans

Harvest Salad 
I make this salad a lot during the holidays and on through winter. I will be serving this salad with our Christmas dinner so I made a batch of spicy candied pecans this weekend and stored them in the freezer. Just lay them on the counter an hour before serving so they can defrost. The combination of the spice from the pecans, the sweet tartness from the apples, and the zingy of the gorgonzola with the balsamic dressing is an amazing flavor explosion in your mouth!

 
Spicy Pecans
 

 Spicy Candied Pecans

Ingredients:

2 cups pecan halves

1 tbsp butter

3 tbsp dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground chipotle pepper

2 tbsp Grade B maple syrup

1.5 tsp kosher salt

Preparation:
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
 
2. Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven until dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes.
 
3. While the pecans are toasting, prepare the coating mixture. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and chipotle pepper.
  
4. Once the pecans are fragrant, remove them from the oven and pour the hot nuts into the coating mixture. (Be careful as it might splutter and hiss.) Stir until the nuts are evenly coated, and pour them back onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread them in an even layer. Try to keep nuts separated and they will be easier to break apart in whole pieces.
 
5. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up on the baking sheet.
  
6. Once cool, break the nuts apart or chop them coarsely. Store whole pieces of Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Can be frozen up to 6 months.
 
Winter Salad with Cranberries and Spicy Pecans
 
Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
Ingredients:
 
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
 
In a small bowl or food processor combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Quick tip: I use a small jelly jar or plastic container with tight snap on lid and add all the ingredients at once and shake vigorously to combine. The dressing emulsifies while shaking and you can store the dressing in the container for a week or so.
 
Salad: 
 
2 5-ounce bags mixed baby greens
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 7 ounces)
1 medium Gala apple or D ‘Anjou pear, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups Spicy Candied Pecans (about 8 ounces)
6 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
 
Place greens, cranberries, and apple or pear slices in large bowl. Mix in enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with nuts and cheese. 
Winter Salad with Cranberries and Spicy Pecans
Serves 10
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504 calories
31 g
16 g
42 g
7 g
8 g
143 g
631 g
22 g
0 g
33 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
143g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 504
Calories from Fat 361
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 42g
65%
Saturated Fat 8g
38%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 9g
Monounsaturated Fat 24g
Cholesterol 16mg
5%
Sodium 631mg
26%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 22g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
13%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Spicy Candied Pecans Ingredients
  1. 2 cups pecan halves
  2. 1 tbsp butter
  3. 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
  6. 2 tbsp Grade B maple syrup
  7. 1.5 tsp kosher salt
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  2. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
Salad Ingredients
  1. 2 5-ounce bags mixed baby greens
  2. 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 7 ounces)
  3. 1 medium Gala apple or D ‘Anjou pear, very thinly sliced
  4. 1 1/2 cups Spicy Candied Pecans (about 8 ounces)
  5. 6 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
Instructions
  1. Spicy Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven until dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. While the pecans are toasting, prepare the coating mixture. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and chipotle pepper.
  4. Once the pecans are fragrant, remove them from the oven and pour the hot nuts into the coating mixture. (Be careful as it might splutter and hiss.) Stir until the nuts are evenly coated, and pour them back onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread them in an even layer. Try to keep nuts separated and they will be easier to break apart in whole pieces.
  5. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up on the baking sheet.
  6. Once cool, break the nuts apart or chop them coarsely. Store whole pieces of Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Can be frozen up to 6 months.
  7. Balsamic Vinaigrette: In a small bowl or food processor combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Salad: Place greens, cranberries, and apple or pear slices in large bowl. Mix in enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with nuts and cheese.
Notes
  1. I use a small jelly jar or plastic container with tight snap on lid and add all the ingredients at once and shake vigorously to combine. The dressing emulsifies while shaking and you can store the dressing in the container for a week or so.
beta
calories
504
fat
42g
protein
7g
carbs
31g
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