I love putting a huge salad on the table with a loaf of bread and some other goodies and then tucking in with people I love followed by a french press of delicious coffee and something chocolatey. (Read ‘…and Port’ if it’s dinner.)
Personally I’m not a huge salad dressing person, mainly because the ingredients often make me nervous and I’ve always avoided it. So I’ve been experimenting recently with making clean ones. Last week I tried a raspberry vinaigrette to go on a strawberry and toasted pecan salad. It was a hit (I found myself eating the dressing on a spoon, don’t tell anyone) so I’m delving in again this week with a fresh pear vinaigrette on a walnut, arugula and apple salad. Thanks to my veg box for providing the pear inspiration. Enjoy!
To feed four people alongside a loaf of crusty fresh bread:
1 6 oz bag of spinach
1/2 6oz bag of rocket/arugula
4oz goat cheese
1-2 apples finely sliced and tossed in lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 portion of fresh pear vinaigrette (below)
For the vinaigrette:
1 medium asian pear, cored and chopped
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp raw honey (use maple syrup for a vegan version!)
Throw the pear in a good blender with the vinegars, lemon juice, salt, pepper and honey. Blend it really well until it’s completely smooth and combined and then with the blender running slowly drizzle in the oils and continue blending for a further minute. Pour it in to a glass container and refrigerate.
Note: The coconut oil is a personal preference as I’m not a huge fan of the taste of olive. You could equally use all olive oil or a walnut oil would be a great addition. The coconut oil sets it a little but if it’s well blended it’s ok, just take it out 10 minutes before eating and give it a good shake.
Toss all the leaves into a large bowl, crumble the goat cheese on top with the apple and walnuts. I like to slice the apple thinly so you don’t get big chunks but just little bits of crisp juicy fruit in the leaves. Squeeze half a lemon over the slices before adding them to the salad so they don’t brown. Toasting nuts really brings out the flavour so for a salad I always like to toast them. Gently heat the walnuts in a little skillet for 5-10 minutes shaking regularly so they don’t burn., they’ll taste twice as good afterwards! Then allow them to cool and sprinkle them on the salad. Just before serving it drizzle as much of the dressing over as you’d like. I like to put about a third of that amount on and then put the jar on the table for people who like more. Now tuck in and enjoy!