I spotted the recipe yesterday at Espresso and Cream and having all the ingredients on hand (and no real plan for dinner), put it on the menu for last night.
This salad was awesome! It makes great use of the fresh, local and ripe pears at the market right now, and the combination of flavours was a real hit. The bacon adds great crunch and flavour and combines so well with the fruits and cheese. I think this salad would be a great addition for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, as the toppings make this salad hearty enough for those cooler weather meals.
I could have eaten just this salad for dinner and been perfectly happy. Hubby, as usual, seems to need a chunk of protein on the plate in order to call it “dinner”, so I served it with some pan-grilled salmon. It would be lovely with chicken, fish or any plain meat (or on it’s own, of course).
There are lots of ways to adapt this salad to what you have around. I loved the combination of pecans and goat cheese with the pear, bacon and cranberry, but almonds or walnuts would be just as nice, or try feta, blue, Gorgonzola cheese instead of the goat. I really wouldn’t skip the bacon in this, as the flavour combination is so nice and it adds a little heartiness to this Fall-style salad. (This salad would also be great with other lettuces, such as mesclun, spring mix or spinach/arugula).
Chopped Salad with Cranberries, Pears, Pecans and Goat Cheese
Summary: This is a great salad that is perfect for Fall or Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday entertaining. If you have the time, the candied pecans are a great addition.
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium pear, cored and chopped (doesn’t need to be peeled unless you prefer)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans (or almonds, walnuts instead) *See variation below*
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta, blue, gorgonzola)
- Creamy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (Homemade or your favourite bottled. I love Briana’s All Natural Rich Poppy Seed Dressing)
- Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
- *See alternate dressing variation below*
- Spread the chopped lettuce on a large plate. Sprinkle with pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and goat cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by a splash or two of the balsamic vinegar here and there, if you’re using. Use tongs to serve from the platter to individual plates (so you can be sure to get all the topping goodies with the lettuce).
- *Honey roasted nuts: for a change and if you have the time, you can mix the nuts with 2-3 Tbsp. of honey and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350° F. oven for 20 minutes.
- *Maple Mustard Dressing Variation: Combine 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons real Vermont maple syrup and 1/3 red wine vinegar. Add 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 5 min | Total time: 15 min
Number of servings (yield): 3