I am joining up with a group of superb bloggers for a Thanksgiving Potluck. If your menu for the holiday is not complete, you will find excellent inspiration in the amazing array of Thanksgiving recipes here today. After a week of cookie recipes, I decided to veer off the baking path and make a healthier autumnal dish…a spinach salad with pears, cranberries and candied pecans tossed with a simple maple vinaigrette. A green salad is the perfect way to balance out the carbo loading that is typical of our turkey day menu. This salad dressing with a touch of maple syrup is a new favorite…just incredible. Feel free to shake up the nuts…use walnuts or hazelnuts if you prefer. Toss in some blue cheese if you want a heartier salad. You’ll love this one.
Thanksgiving is also the time of year when we reflect on all our blessings. While many of us will have a week’s worth of Thanksgiving leftovers from a bounty of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, not to mention the pies and desserts, many in America still go to bed hungry. Feeding America is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food for our nation’s hungry through a network of food banks. They also focus on building a community of volunteers to help with this most worthy cause. Please visit their website if you’re interested in learning more about ways you can help feed America. If you’re looking for an end of the year charitable donation, please consider Feeding America.
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- ⅓ cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 8 cups baby spinach
- 2 firm pears Bosc or Bartlett, unpeeled, quartered, cored and cut into thin slices
- To make salad dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking constantly. Set aside.
- To candy the nuts, melt butter in saucepan. Toss in pecans and mix till coated. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring, till caramelized. Place on parchment to cool.
- To assemble salad, toss spinach, onions and pears with dressing (rewhisk as needed). Top salad with cranberries and pecans.
Please check out all these excellent recipes:
Erin from Texanerin Baking made Dulce de Leche Apple Streusel Bars
Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots made Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cranberry Jam
Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Christina from Dessert for Two made Mini Pumpkin Pies
Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction made Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Mini Cheesecakes
Tracey from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures made Butternut Squash, Apple and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping
Georgia from The Comfort of Cooking made Spiced Caramel-Apple Crumb Bars
Kate from Diethood made Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
Gina from Running to the Kitchen made Green Beans with Cranberries, Bacon, & Goat Cheese
Carla from Carla’s Confections made Spinach Mashed Potatoes
Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food made Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Liz from The Lemon Bowl made Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Rachel from Rachel Cooks made Brussels Sprouts Salad with Green Apples and Cranberries
Megan from Wanna Be A Country Cleaver made Roasted Potatoes with Bacon Parmesan Vinaigrette
Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic made Mini Apple Pies
And now for the fun part…another giveaway!!! Follow the prompts below to enter to win one of two terrific prizes:
Special thanks to Wusthof and Analon for sponsoring this giveaway.