This is one of my favorite holiday salad recipes. Crisp pears, roasted cherries, radicchio (wow, I spelled it right!) and toasted pecans, all working in harmony with blue cheese, one of my all-time favorite flavor divas. It’s a feasting salad if there ever was one, a real celebration of food and flavor and the good things in life. All that, plus it’s nicely light and comes together quick – one less thing you’re fussing with to get a lovely celebration dinner on the table.
You may already know that all roads here lead to Charlie the Produce Guy, and this salad is no exception. He recently had these lovely ripe pears which I couldn’t resist because they still had their little stems on. Charlie won’t be around for the winter, and I’m seriously bummed about it. I hope I can find a decent farmer’s market to hold me over until spring!
I could start snacking right off this tray! And did, come to think of it. I give my surprise MVP award to the toasted pecans. I expected them to be good with the other ingredients, but they went ahead and amazed me. Pleasantly crisp outside, buttery soft inside, powerfully nutty, ever so slightly sweet and a heavenly match with pears and blue cheese.
I love roasting cherries. It makes their flavor surprisingly more intense, plus they’re extra soft, sweet and juicy. I like to roast them in a little honey or agave, a splash of lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon. The dash of cinnamon – think cherry cola. It’s soooo yum! And they go great in lots of salad recipes, not just this one.
I don’t have a cherry pitter, so I use a chopstick to poke the pits out. I sometimes (often) end up tearing the cherry in half, but for something like roasting it’s not a big deal.
The recipe is for four servings, but you could easily adjust it for however much you need. I found out last night that the dressing and cherries taste even better the next day! Seriously, one of my most favorite salad recipes ever.
Eat Healthy Eat Happy
20 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 1/2 c red and/or black cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- nonstick spray
- 1 c pecans
- 1 ripe pear, cored and sliced
- 1/2 cup blue cheese
- 4 c mixed spinach greens
- 3 c radicchio, torn
- 2 Tbs honey
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 350. Mix the cherries, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick and spread the cherries on it. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring two or three times. Set aside until ready to serve. You can make them a day or two ahead, store them in the fridge and heat them back up in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- While the oven's on, toast the pecans. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring once. This can done days ahead.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small, lidded jar and shake to combine. Store at room temperature until ready to serve.
- Divide the greens, radicchio and pear slices among your serving plates. Top with cherries, pecans, blue cheese and dressing.
Per serving, about 269g: 274 calories; 13.7g fat (21%)(0g trans); 13mg cholesterol (4%); 324mg sodium (13%); 34.0g carbohydrates (11%); 5.2g fiber (21%); 7.7g protein; Vitamin A 204%; Calcium 19%; Vitamin C 116%; Iron 16%; Potassium 10%