cranberry, pecan, and feta salad with blueberry vinaigrette
Without further ado, here is the final recipe from the above plate – a nice spring mix with some add-ins and a blueberry vinaigrette. Everything on the plate was wonderful (try the flank steak and Brussels sprouts, you won’t be disappointed), but I was especially happy with the blueberry vinaigrette. I don’t make my own dressing very often, and this is something I’ve been meaning to rectify. It’s not hard to whip up salad dressing from all sorts of fresh ingredients, I just always seem to forget how easy it is.
Conceptually, this salad is a cross between one we served as part of our wedding dinner and one I had at a quaint little cafe near the Mississippi River. I sorted through various recipes for vinaigrette made with fruit, and the dressing I produced is a mash-up of a few of those (this has lately been my go-to method of deciding on a recipe for anything – mix different parts of three or four recipes together and see what happens!). The dressing is tart and slightly sweet and pairs beautifully with the dried cranberries, pecans, and a mellow sheep’s milk feta. You could probably add goat cheese instead of feta and still have a tremendous salad.
Cranberry, Pecan, and Feta Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
Yields 6 to 8 servings
1 (10-oz.) bag of mixed salad greens (sweet baby lettuces work)
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 ounces feta, crumbled
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon granulated onion powder
5/8 cup olive oil (just go with it)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet or pie pan and place in the oven. Toast pecans until warm and slightly browned, about three to four minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- For the dressing, place all ingredients into a food processor except the olive oil. Blend, slowly pouring olive oil into the mixture; continue blending until mixed. Dressing may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Place salad greens, cranberries, and cooled pecans in a large bowl and gently toss together.
- Serve with feta and dressing. (We like to add these separately, instead of dressing the entire salad, in case there are leftovers).