Pear Salad

DF, V, VG if w/out blue cheese, GF

In addition to squash, pears are in abundance in fall. They’re a great snack as is, but why not use them to change up the standard dinner salad.  Pears have an affinity with gorgonzola, making this salad a great place to start.

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Pear Salad
1 pear, thinly sliced
6 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup candied nuts
4 ounces, crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the pear, baby spinach, candied nuts, blue cheese, and craisins in a large bowl.  Measure extra virgin olive and balsamic vinegar in the same liquid measuring cup, then add dijon mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine.  Dress salad with balsamic mixture then toss to combine.  Serve and enjoy.

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Roasted Broccoli and Sugar Snap Peas

DF if w/out parmesan cheese, VGF

when i made the orange chile glazed chicken i needed some greens.  and i had these in my frig…good thing.  ina garten makes a similar recipe that i love, so i used the same method here.

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Roasted Broccoli and Sugar Snap Peas
2 pounds broccoli florets
1 package of fresh sugar snap peas
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 tbs pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated

preheat the oven to 400 degrees. on a sheet pan toss the broccoli and sugar snap peas with the slices of garlic, oil, and salt and pepper. roast for 20 minutes. once out of the oven sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan cheese.


  • the best way to toast nuts is in a dry skillet over medium to low heat on the stove top.  watch them closely and toss in the skillet to toast evenly.
  • if you have left over nuts, keep them in the freezer.  they last longer this way, and they will defrost quickly when you do use them.
  • when you roast garlic it gets sweet and soft.  so the slices are not as pungent as one might suspect.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

DF if w/out parmesan cheese, V, GF

when i talked about how to “spice up any side salad” this was the salad that inspired that post.  it has different textures, different colors, and tastes amazing.  i can’t take credit for it, it’s all thanks to ina garten.  it even incorporates seasonal produce…it doesn’t get any better than this.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

while the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated parmesan. spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


  • aunt jemima has nothing on real maple syrup.  do yourself a favor and use the real stuff.  you’ll never get a good end product if you make it with subpar ingredients.
  • if you want to taste the walnuts, toast them.  if you skip that step, the flavor will be completely different…and not in a good way.
  • after you eat a salad like this…it should get your mind going.  for instance tonight i needed to make a simple side salad…so what did i do?  i use mesclun greens, slices of pear, dried cranberries, and a mixture of catalina and ranch salad dressings…mmm.