Winter Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette
This easy Winter Salad recipe is full of winter fruits and nuts like pecans, pears, and cranberries, and topped with a homemade vinaigrette.
Sides are tough for me to come up with in the winter. All summer long I use fresh tomatoes, squash, asparagus…and then the cold weather comes and I’m at a loss. I do love this Roasted Fall Vegetable Orzo and I make a really great Fall Coleslaw using crisp autumn apples but I still crave something light, and simple to throw together. The first time I made this Winter Salad I knew I had a winner. It’s overflowing with winter produce and it’s easy to change up with different nuts and cheeses so it never gets old.
The first time I made this Winter Salad I was searching for an easy side dish for my annual Christmas party. I wanted something that was simple and could be served cold so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding time to bake anything else. My Christmas dinner party is usually 20+ people so a salad seemed like the perfect solution. I looked at all sorts of Winter Salad recipes before I finally came up with my own using pears, pecans, dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, and a simple homemade vinaigrette. I threw everything together right before guests arrived and dressed it with the vinaigrette just before I served it. Every single bite of it was eaten and I think I got more compliments on it than anything else on the table!
You can customize this Winter Salad in so many different ways so I’m just going to tell you my favorite way to make it. I start with pears because they are a delicious winter fruit that just about everyone likes. I usually buy Bosc or Anjou pears because they are slightly firmer and have a mild flavor. Next comes the dried cranberries because I love that little tart flavor they add to every bite, and for some crunch I like to add pecans. I don’t toast my pecans but you certainly could and I’m sure it would make the salad that much better. I think every salad needs some cheese so I sprinkle mine with crumbled blue cheese but you could also use feta cheese if you prefer.
The vinaigrette is a simple mix of champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt. You can add a little sugar too if you like it slightly sweeter but I love the vinegar taste so I usually skip that part. If you’re making this as a side dish for a holiday party make sure to toss the salad in the vinaigrette at the last minute to keep the salad looking fresh when you serve it.
- 10 oz Mixed greens
- 3 Pears, , chopped
- 2 c Pecan halves
- 1 c Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 c Blue Cheese, , crumbled
- 6 tbsp Champagne Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 c Olive Oil
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- In a large bowl add greens, pears, dried cranberries, and pecans.
- In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss
- Top with crumbled blue cheese.
That’s it. A simple Winter Salad recipe that is beautiful, delicious and really easy to make. It’s great for lunch, dinner, and parties all winter long!