This salad, along with others like it, were originally inspired by one of the salads you buy in a box a Trader Joe’s. They give you a choice of mixed greens or spinach with cranberries, candied pecans and blue cheese (or maybe it’s gorgonzola). I fell in love with that salad and I still stop by an pick one up when I’m out of town and I’m eating lunch on the run.
I don’t remember exactly when we started to mix vegetables with fruit and cheese in our salads, but it’s wonderful and there doesn’t seem to be an end to what fruits and nuts and cheeses you can put together and it works. And they are beautiful and very healthy. Honey crisp apples, pears, persimmons and pomegranates are at the open air farmer’s markets coming into the winter holidays so here’s a holiday version of these great salads with a extra sweet dressing that’s our family favorite right now.
Holiday Fruit Salad
- spring lettuce or baby spinach
- Fuyu persimmon
- sweet crispy apple
- pomegranate seeds
- Trader Joe’s Crumbled Blue Cheese
- sweet white onion*
- Candied Walnuts (see below)
Choose the desired amounts of these ingredient, arrange them on a plate and drizzle with the Sweet Honey Mustard Dressing.
*You can soak the onions for 10 minutes or pickle them for 15 minutes to temper the bite of the raw onion and possibly make them easier to digest if you have problems with raw onions.
Sweet Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1/2 cup light olive oil (like Bertolli) or grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons Spectrum White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place all ingredients in an jar and shake until well blended.
Candied Walnuts (or Pecans)
- 2 cups walnuts (pecan) pieces
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For pecans only, not for walnuts, place the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350° oven for 10 minutes. Heat maple syrup in a skillet until bubbly. Use medium to high heat, high enough to create a candy but not too high or the sugars will burn. Add nuts and salt and cook until dry, about 5 minutes. Three minutes will make them glazed and in about 5 minutes you should begin to see crystals and the nuts will separate and be candied. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Store in the refrigerator.
Fuyu persimmons that you use for salads are at the top. They don’t need to be peeled. You want them to be just ripe enough to be able to start pressing into them but they are still firm. Hachiya persimmons are on the bottom. You wait until they are very soft, cut them in half and scoop out the inside and puree it in a food processor and use the puree in baked goods.