Candied pecans + blue cheese + dried cranberries make a colorful holiday salad that hits all the right notes of sweet, salty, and crunchy without being heavy. It takes less than ten minutes to throw together and it’s a refreshing change from the dozens of cookies that are about to be everywhere.
Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers are starting to wind down, maybe it’s time to start thinking about cooking again. Except nothing complicated or requiring lots of dishwashing, because we only just got everything cleared out and put away. And definitely something a little lighter than the six different versions of turkey-mashed-potato-stuffing-gravy we’ve eaten all weekend.
Let’s back up real quick – if you’ve never candied nuts before, it’s ridiculously fast and easy. There’s no candy thermometer or careful timing. You’re going to dump your pecan pieces in a pan, scoop some brown sugar over them, and plop down a pat of butter.
Just keep stirring for a couple minutes as the butter melts, the sugar dissolves, and everything starts sticking together. Dump the whole mess on parchment paper, spread it out, and you’ll have candied nuts in five minutes once they’ve cooled down. You can always sprinkle with cinnamon, cocoa, or a little salt for even more flavor, depending on the recipe.
Candied Pecan Blue Cheese Cranberry Salad
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- 2 T. brown sugar
- 1 T. butter
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbled
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 6 oz. spinach
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1 T. dijon mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat pecans, sugar, and butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Stir constantly until sugar is completely melted and nuts are coated.
- Immediately spread nuts in a thin layer over parchment paper and let cool.
- Toss candied pecans, blue cheese, and cranberries with spinach.
- Shake remaining dressing ingredients together and top salad.