Spinach Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Cashews

Spinach Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Cashews

This Spinach Salad with Pears had all my requirements for a superb green salad: nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruit and a lovely vinaigrette.  I was providing dinner for some friends, and I was delighted to find this recipe on Epicurious.com.Spinach Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Cashews

One of their hints was to soak the red onions in cool water before adding them to the salad…it removes some of the sharpness you find when you eat them raw. They also recommended soaking the dried cranberries in some of the salad dressing to plump them up…but I actually prefer the chewy contrast in textures from using the non-rehydrated version.  Cashews were used instead of hazelnuts (hate to de-skin those suckers!), but any favorite nut would work well. A sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese would taste amazing with the pears and could make this more of an entrée salad.

However you tweak this salad, it will be an elegant addition to your dinner table.


Spinach Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Cashews…recipe adapted from Diane Morgan via Epicurious.com
Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil (I used extra virgin)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup dried cranberries
8 cups baby spinach
2 Bosc pears (ripe but firm), unpeeled, quartered, cored and sliced
2/3 cup cashews, toasted

Mix vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in olive oil till emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
Soak onion slice in ice water for about 30 minutes to remove the sharp taste.

To assemble, place spinach, onions and pears in large bowl. Toss with dressing, the divide among serving plates. Top each with cranberries and cashews.

Serves 8.

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