Sweet and Spicy Autumn Salad

I love simple flavors, but I also adore an explosion. This jumble of sweet, salty, spicy, and nutty in a tangle of peppery greens leaves me swooning. We may not be inventing the wheel here—the fruit/nuts/cheese salad has been around for a while—but this arugula salad with pears, gorgonzola, spicy caramelized walnuts and maple-Dijon vinaigrette
has a few twists (like cayenne and maple) that make it stand out from the crowd.

For the Dressing
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

For the Walnuts
1 cup walnuts
Splash of olive oil
1 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon maple sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste

For the Salad
10 cups loosely packed arugula
2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
3 ounces gorgonzola

1. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until combined.
2. Preheat oven to 325 F.
3. Wipe a baking sheet with olive oil.
4. Combine walnuts and remaining walnut ingredients in a bowl and mix to coat.
5. Spread nut mixture on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until nuts are deep golden and bubbling, stirring occasionally.
6. Add arugula, pears, gorgonzola and walnuts to large bowl and toss with some dressing. The dressing is strong so a little goes a long way.

Serves 4 to 6.

By Melissa Breyer, Producer, Care2 Green Living

4 comments

Past Member
Past Member 6 months ago

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Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

Thanks.

Adam R.
Past Member 6 years ago

Wrote down this recipe, cannot wait to try it out...sounds good doesn't it..Anyway I love salad of all kinds. Thanks for the article.
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Adja Diarra
Adja Diarra8 years ago

Thanks for sharing this lovely salad. Haven't tried this version yet but I made several times what I would call the fraternal twin to this recipe. using baby spinach, candied pecan with cayenne and goat or ricotta cheese and my family and friends just love it.