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