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

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Mixed green salad with pecans, dried cranberries, goat cheese, red bell pepper, and a honey mustard balsamic vinaigrette.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

For the last couple of years, my neighbor Molly has been bringing this salad to our neighborhood potluck parties, and every time everyone goes 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

  • 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

Pecans:

  • 4 ounces whole pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 1 pound 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 Toast the pecans: 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 300°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to touch.

2 Make the dressing: 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 Toss the salad: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

34 Comments / Reviews

No ImageMixed Green Salad with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lia

    I have made this salad multiple times and always get wonderful comments.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Valarie

    Excellent salad

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  3. 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!!

  4. 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.

  5. 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?!

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