Mixed Greens with Maple-Glazed Nuts

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18 Mar Mixed Greens with Maple-Glazed Nuts

When it comes to salad. I’ve let myself go. Sure, I might dress things up with Nectarine and Plum Chicken or make an extra effort with a new dessert like Coconut Cream Pie Ice Cream.  But leafy side dishes? I’m sad to say, the spark has gone. Until recently.

I admit, before this week, salad usually meant a bowlful of Mesclun mix and a splash of homemade dressing. Sure it was satisfying. Better than a wedge of iceberg doused in store-brand Thousand Island. But it was safe. Predictable. Dare I say…

Boring.

I knew that if I kept this up,  Andrew’s eye would inevitably stray towards more exciting side dishes. Like that tart of a potato salad all decked out in bacon bits some shameless hussy brought to last year’s picnic. And I can’t have that.

So when Jeanelle Mitchell’s For the Love of Salad arrived, I was more than ready to spruce things up a bit. Scared, but ready.

But there was no need for fear. Notice how her book title doesn’t have a secondary heading? It’s not For the Love of Salad: 99 Tempting Ways to Rekindle Your Love Affair with Lettuce. Or For the Love of Salad: Discovering the Saucy Sides of Dinner.

Nope. Jeanelle just keeps it real. She doesn’t ask me to do weird or uncomfortable things with ingredients I can’t pronounce or would be too embarrassed to ask assistance buying. Instead, she uses familiar ingredients in fresh combinations. Okay, she flirts with beets more than I’d like, but I can turn a blind eye to 4 little recipes out of nearly 100.

The wow results has shaken me out of my salad sloth.  So when a friend hosted a potluck and asked me to bring the salad, I didn’t just swing by the grocery store and show up with a bag of greens and some bottled dressing. No, I turned to Mitchell’s book for inspiration. And soon I was scouring the produce section at the local green grocer and candying nuts at my Mom’s. Despite the fact I forgot the apples, this recipe breathed life into what had become a predictable side dish.

I made variations of this twice in less than a week, using leaf lettuce instead of endive and swapping walnuts for pecans. And both times there wasn’t so much as a sprig of arugula left at the bottom of the bowl. Take that skanky potato salad!

Got an exciting salad you care to share? I’m all charged up and ready to try anything. Well, almost anything…

Mixed Greens with Apples & Maple-Glazed Pecans

Serves 4 to 6
Excerpt printed with permission. From For the Love of Salad by Jeanelle Mitchell. Published by Whitecap Books, 2010.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cups (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 bunch arugula or watercress, trimmed
  • 3 Belgian endives, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 2 apples, cored and diced (prepare just before serving, or toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) maple-glazed pecans, coarsely chopped (recipe to follow)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL0 crumbled chevre or feta (optional)
  1. For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, shallots, vinegar and maple syrup in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  2. Just before serving, place lettuce, arugula, endive and apples in a large serving bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss to coat. Sprinkle with maple-glazed pecans and chevre if using.

Maple-Glazed Pecans

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 cup (250 mL) pecan halves
  1. Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 325 F (160 C). Combine maple syrup, brown sugar, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Add pecans and toss to coat. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Toast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until nuts are golden and sugar is bubbling. Let cool completely on a baking sheet. Break apart if necessary. Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  2. TIP: to make honey-glazed walnuts, substitute liquid honey for the maple syrup and walnuts for pecan halves.

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23 Comments
  • molliebryan@comcast.net
    Posted at 14:11h, 18 March Reply

    Great post. Perfect timing. I was just thinking I need more salad mojo.
    .-= molliebryan@comcast.net´s last blog .. =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:33h, 23 March Reply

      @molliebryan@comcast.net, I stole your term “salad mojo” for a tweet. It’s a perfect phrase!

  • Cheryl@5secondrule
    Posted at 16:09h, 18 March Reply

    Oh my god, Charmian, you’re absolutely right… we’re majorly riding the same wavelength. Power to those whose names start with Ch! Between the 2 of us we’ll soon have more salad ideas than, well, pretty much anyone!
    .-= Cheryl@5secondrule´s last blog ..Salad =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:34h, 23 March Reply

      @Cheryl@5secondrule, I swear, Cheryl. If you didn’t have curly hair, I’d swear we were twins separated at birth! Scary how often our posts overlap. Great minds…. I hope.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 16:58h, 18 March Reply

    Oh this is just what I need right now. My own eyes are straying and I admit to shunning the salad for months on end now. This always happens to me during the winter. But … the sun is shining brightly now and I’m ready to fall back in love with salad.

    This recipe looks great and so does the book. Thanks so much for the tip … I *need* this book!
    .-= The Diva on a Diet´s last blog ..Thirsty Thursdays: Rum Punch Edition =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:35h, 23 March Reply

      @The Diva on a Diet, I *need* this book, too! I always dreaded being asked to bring salad to potlucks, and now I’m just itching to be asked to look after the greens!

  • Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart
    Posted at 18:18h, 18 March Reply

    Sounds like a great book. I’m getting ready to seed-up the beds in ye olde greenhouse for the summer. (It’s a must-have in our scary-short, high-altitude growing season.) Love, love fresh salads in the summer. I swear, some day I will make your homemade ranch with my blue cheese option.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:36h, 23 March Reply

      @Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart, Greenhouse? I’m jealous. We have the same short growing season and I don’t have a green house. Fingers crossed the tomatoes do as well this summer as last.

      And let me know if you ever do try that ranch dressing. Your homegrown salad deserves better than bottled. 😉

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 11:45h, 19 March Reply

    It must, indeed, be salad season! I just visited 5SecondRule where salad was the topic as well.

    I’m a big salad person – we have one at least 4 nights a week and usually more. I almost always make a scratch dressing. I just couldn’t live happily with out them.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:37h, 23 March Reply

      @Dana McCauley, nice to hear you love salads as much as I do. I just get into a rut. Maybe you can give me some tips on keeping the spark alive — with the dressing.

  • marlenem
    Posted at 11:50h, 19 March Reply

    I love your site! Great Recipes!
    .-= marlenem´s last blog ..Watch the Yebra Roller Gadget in Action =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:38h, 23 March Reply

      @marlenem, Thanks for taking the time to post a comment. It’s always nice to hear from someone new.

  • Lentil Breakdown
    Posted at 16:25h, 19 March Reply

    Nice blog. Found you on 5 Second Rule, and the three of us must have called the same psychic hotline. I posted about different lettuce and salad types today:
    http://lentilbreakdown.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-lettuce-type-are-you.html
    .-= Lentil Breakdown´s last blog ..What Lettuce Type are You? =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:39h, 23 March Reply

      @Lentil Breakdown, who knew leafy greens had a Collective Conscience? Thanks for dropping by! I love Cheryl’s blog and am thrilled you find mind comment worthy!

  • Patty
    Posted at 16:26h, 19 March Reply

    You had me at “maple glazed pecans” YUM! Thanks for posting, I can’t wait to try out this delicious looking salad.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:41h, 23 March Reply

      @Patty, be warned. Glazed maple nuts are addictive. The recipe should make enough for 2 salads and both times I made them I used the whole batch on ONE. Tsk, tsk.

  • Sophie
    Posted at 13:46h, 25 March Reply

    Waw!! What a fabulous recipe this is!!

    That must taste awesome!!!

    Yum yum Yum,..I also love the presentation!
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..fennel & tomato soup with basil & haloumi croutons =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:42h, 31 March Reply

      @Sophie, thanks. A pretty blue bowl makes everything taste better. And it was very, very tasty to begin with.

  • Chiot's Run
    Posted at 11:23h, 26 March Reply

    This is my favorite way to eat greens, with maple glazed nuts & a delicious maple vinaigrette. And of course some bacon!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:44h, 31 March Reply

      @Chiot’s Run, bacon? Oh, my husband would LOVE that addition to the mix. Not sure why it didn’t occur to me given maple-smoked bacon is one of his faves. Thanks for the great suggestion.

  • Faye Auffray
    Posted at 21:42h, 15 October Reply

    Hello Charmian
    Just wanted to tell you that I love your website and your wonderful recipes. I will be passing this one along to all my friends.
    Many thanks!
    Faye

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 23:01h, 15 October Reply

      Thanks so much, Faye! You just made my night. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know!!

  • Dinner & Discussion, Week 1
    Posted at 16:39h, 23 September Reply

    […] Potato Salad w/Arugula tossed with a maple balsamic vinaigrette: I have grown to love salads that combine interesting ingredients. The roasted potatoes pair so […]

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