Pears and pecans just seem absolutely perfect for the holidays. They are so festive and nutritious, and they are both sweet and crunchy too, giving your taste buds a real treat. Both pears and pecans are loaded with vitamins and minerals, as are most fruits and nuts. They are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and also contain a lot of fiber, which helps in weight loss. They also help in fighting the effects of diabetes and help prevent cancer. And bottom line, they just taste really, really good.
We enjoyed Christmas dinner with family and friends. My “sister” and all her kids are all vegan, and a lot of the other guests are watching what they eat as well. One of the dishes I brought was this delicious, festive pear and pecan salad with a ginger dressing. It was very easy to make and it was a big hit.
Pear and Pecan Salad with Ginger Dressing
5 cups of mixed baby greens, or salad greens of your choice
1 pear, sliced thin – I used Bosc, but you can use whatever type of pear you like
2 celery ribs, diced small
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped small
3 TBSP Champagne vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine the last 8 ingredients to make the dressing and mix together well. Set aside.
Toss the chopped nuts and celery with the greens and add about 1/2 the dressing or less. Toss and combine everything well. You do not want to add too much dressing or it well make the greens soggy and heavy. You want just a light coating of the dressing, and just enough to add flavor. You can always add more later if you need it. Also, don’t mix the dressing into the salad too early, or again, it will make the salad soggy. Toss the dressing into the salad right before serving.
When the salad is all tossed together, plate it up and arrange the pear slices on top of the greens. I added a tiny bit more dressing to each pear slice to wake them up and bring them to life as well, but this is optional. This is a totally vegan dish. If you want to make it a main salad, just add some protein of your choice. It would go very well with either tofu, or any other vegan “meat” as well as either chicken or shrimp to make it non-vegan.