Mixed Green Salad with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

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For the last couple of years, my neighbor Molly has been bringing this salad to our neighborhood potluck parties, and every time I go completely zonkers over it. The basic elements are mixed greens with pecans and goat cheese, tossed with a sweet mustard vinaigrette. The recipe has plenty of room for improvisation—use baby spinach or butter lettuce instead of or in addition to the mixed greens, orange segments or sliced kumquats for a citrus note, toasted walnuts instead of pecans, etc. Use more or less of any ingredient to taste.

Mixed Green Salad with Pecans Goat Cheese Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Mixed Green Salad with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

If making in advance for a party, do not add the dressing until you are ready to serve. The recipe makes more salad dressing than is required for the salad.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces whole pecans
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb mixed salad greens, including fresh baby spinach
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-2 inch thin slices

Method

1 Preheat oven to 300°F. Put the pecans in a bowl, sprinkle the melted butter over them, and toss until they are all well coated with butter. Then sprinkle the pecans with sugar and gently toss again until they are lightly coated. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and spread the coated pecans out over it in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to touch.

2 Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes in a jar, cover and shake until the dressing is well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3 Place the salad greens and spinach in a large bowl. Add the goat cheese, dried cranberries, red bell pepper, and pecans. Toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing.

Serve immediately. Chill remaining dressing.

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Showing 4 of 33 Comments

  • The Omnivore

    This was just wonderful! The goat cheese all stuck to the bottom a bit too much but that just gave us a delightful surprise at the end!!

  • Evelyn

    What a great salad! I had no honey mustard so I used Dijon instead and added a little sugar. Otherwise I made it exactly according to the recipe and it was delicious.

  • Tiffany

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I went to Chicago this weekend and had this salad at Capri’s Pizza and was looking for it online and here it is! Thanks again!

  • Alicia*

    I needed a way to use up some blue cheese. OMG! We loved this so much – the dressing is outstanding. My mistake was not having crusty bread to soak up the lingering dressing on the plate/bowl. Thank goodness it makes more dressing than you can use. I’ve been asked to make the salad again tonight for dinner. By Tuesday we’ll be in salad rehab for being addicted to the salad dressing. Who knew?!

  • Danielle

    I absolutely love salads and this salad sounds very delicious. I am not the type of person that cooks but preparing a salad is fast and easy. When you’re in a hurry and need to make something quick, a salad is the way to go. It is healthy and very refreshing. If I would make any improvisations to this recipe, I think I would use spinach leaves instead of mixed greens. I also would use toasted walnuts instead of pecans. Lastly, I love dried cranberries, and I would add those into the salad. I am excited to taste this salad. With the recipe and my new improvisations, I think this salad will be very appetizing.

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