Your family will love salads and ask for it over and over if you make them this Winter Spinach, Pear, & Pecan Salad with a Honey Poppy Seed Dressing.
Winter is almost here and I am ready! Ready for all that it has to offer! Ya know sledding, cold hands, chattering teeth, four plus layers just walking around the house! Anyone else feel the same? No wonder I am always wanting my best hamburger soup and healthy chicken enchilada pot. They magically make me toasty inside again! You just can’t beat a good bowl of soup in the winter. And I’m not talking the open the can and hoping for the best kind of soup. I am talking the tried and true kind of soup that never fails you!! If you are needing another suggestion, try this Spicy Crab & Poblano Pepper Pot.
Just make sure you save a little room for special salads that deserve a title better than “just another salad.” This Spinach, Pear, and Pecan Salad should land a nice little spot on your dining table on Christmas! It is that special! And then the day after Christmas and the day after that because we all deserve to eat a little something special every day of the year right?!!
Candied pecans. Have you ever? Let’s just say if you have not, you should probably give them a whirl. I purposely make more candied pecans than I need for the salad otherwise between me and my husband there would be absolutely no pecans left by the time we are ready to eat the salad. They will amaze you. In a subtle but seemingly odd way that arm of yours will just keep jerking you back to that little bowl of candied pecans without you even knowing it. Like I keep hearing in one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies, “The heart knows what the mind doesn’t.” Or maybe it’s just the wonderful honey + cinnamon + sugar combo, who knows!
Either way you won’t be able to resist them.
Salads like this just keep me grounded. I often get thrown off with all of the holiday hooplah and non-stop cookie baking. Frequently, I just love to get my husband’s attention with a knock-your-socks-off kind of salad that he just can’t refuse. We all need that once in awhile; a good tasting and “healthy but I still want to eat it” kind of salad.
Winter Spinach, Pear, and Pecan Salad
Honey Roasted Pecans
The Most Delicious Honey Poppy Seed Dressing!!
- 2 cups halved pecans
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar + 2 more tablespoons for dusting later
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅔ cup whole plain greek yogurt
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1 fresh pear, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, peeled/cored and cut into cubes
- 1 cup honey roasted pecans
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place parchment paper on baking sheet and evenly place pecans on parchment paper.
- Toast pecans in oven for 10 minutes.
- While pecans are in the oven, add honey and 2 tablespoons sugar to small saucepan and bring to boil (use medium-low to medium heat). After mixture bubbles for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
- Once pecans are done toasting in the oven, place them in a medium bowl and mix with honey and sugar mixture until they are all coated.
- Place coated pecans back on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Add 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and cinnamon to a medium bowl and stir. Break up any pecan clumps and mix them in the salt, sugar, and cinnamon and toss until coated.
- Add greek yogurt, coconut milk, honey, and cider vinegar to a food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth and combined. Transfer mixture to a mason jar or bowl and stir in the poppy seeds. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, add the spinach, sliced pear, cubed avocado, pecans, and dried cranberries and toss together. Top with feta cheese. Add dressing just before serving.
May prepare salad without the avocado and dressing on it up to a couple hours prior to serving.
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