Do you eat salad before or after the main course? In our family it was different depending on who was hosting. On my Dad’s side – salad was the starting point to a nice meal and always served with my grandmother’s homemade blue cheese dressing. On my Mom’s side, a very simple green salad was passed after the main course — but before the cheese course. (It’s that French influence — a meal isn’t a meal without a cheese course.) This Pear Pomegranate Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing works well before — or after, and it’s what you want on your holiday table.
I don’t have enough superlatives for this salad because the name doesn’t even include the best parts of it. I mean, yes, there’s the Maple Dijon dressing, which #hashtag doesn’t suck!
But there’s also these Glazed Spiced Pecans which you’re going to want to eat by the handful. Sorry about that…
Also vying for your attention are these crispy gorgonzola croutons. The croutons are lightly toasted in the oven before getting a crumble of gorgonzola or other blue cheese and a final melt in the oven.
For special occasions, I like to plate the salads ahead of time with the lettuce, seeds and pomegranates, then cover with plastic wrap and stack them in the fridge.
Just before serving, slice the pear and fan it over the individual salads.
While assembling the salads — get those croutons melting…
And let you’re guests drizzle on the dressing. It’s sweet and tangy all at the same time. A colorful, festive start (or end) to your holiday meal.
Also try this Chicken Quinoa Harvest Salad for a main course salad that’s perfect for fall.
Pear Pomegranate Salad with Blue Cheese Toasts
For The Dressing
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (can use white wine vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For The Salad
- 2 heads lettuce red leaf, green leaf or bibb work well.
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup glazed spiced pecans recipe on this site
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 2 ripe pears
For Gorgonzola Toasts:
- 1 french baguette cut into 16 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Make The Dressing:
- In a small bowl combine the minced shallot and vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the mustard, syrup, salt, pepper and olive oil and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Make the Gorgonzola Toasts:
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Brush the baguette slices lightly with olive oil on both sides. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Top each slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of crumbled gorgonzola and return to the oven for an additional 5-6 minutes or until melted.
Assemble the salad:
- Wash and dry the lettuce in a salad spinner. Tear the lettuce into 1-2" pieces and divide among 8 salad plates.
- Sprinkle each dish with 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, spiced pecans and 1 tablespoon each of pepitas. Slice the pears in half, vertically. Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds, place the pear halves on a cutting board, cut side down and slice very thin slices from stem to the base of the pear. Use 1/4 of each pear for each salad. Fan the pear slices over the salad. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
More Side Salads:
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