Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette
This winter spinach salad is filled with pecans, sliced pears, creamy goat cheese and a fantastic sweet & tangy cranberry vinaigrette! Perfect for the holidays or entertaining. Vegetarian and gluten free with dairy free / vegan options.
It’s time to mix in some greens with all that butter and sugar I’ve been throwing your way.
And eat some better-for-me food so I can prepare to consume even more goodies on Christmas day. It’s all about balance, right?
So let’s talk a quick and easy salad.
That has a very pretty colored dressing. Which gives it bonus points in my opinion.
The base is a simple spinach salad with my favorite combination of fruit, nuts and cheese – the perfect trifecta for salads in my world.
And then there is that bright orange / pink dressing – a little sweet and a little tangy. And with fresh cranberries – so seasonally appropriate right now.
A sort of detox among all the cookies.
Eat this for lunch or dinner (with some sliced chicken perhaps?) or serve it as an appetizer for guests.
And then go eat some more cookies … or fudge … or cake? It is the holidays after all.
Additional Fresh Cranberry Recipes You Might Enjoy:
- Cranberry Orange Eggnog Muffins
- Homemade Vanilla Thyme Cranberry Sauce
- Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Cranberry Cupcakes
- Cranberry Eggnog Coffee Cake
Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.
For the dressing:
- ⅓ cup fresh cranberries
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons honey*
- ¼ cup olive oil
For the salad:
- baby spinach leaves
- sliced pear
- chopped pecans
- crumbled goat cheese**
To make the dressing:
- Add the cranberries and orange juice to a small saucepan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover with the lid. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the cranberries have softened.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor (or blender). Let cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.
- Add the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and honey to the food processor. Process until smooth, about 25 seconds. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil and continue to process until well combined.
- Store the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the salad:
- In a large bowl, add the desired amount of spinach, sliced pear, pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.
*To keep this vegan - use maple syrup in place of the honey.
**To keep this dairy free / vegan - omit the goat cheese. You can also add in some vegan parmesan (either store-bought or homemade!).
Dressing adapted from Cook's Illustrated Holiday Entertaining 2012.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 167mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice. Nutrition info is ONLY for the cranberry vinaigrette as the rest will vary widely depending on what quantities you use.