Cranberry Walnut Baby Greens Salad with Goat Cheese

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This would be a fabulous, refreshing, easy salad to serve alongside all your other somewhat-heavy Thanksgiving feast foods this season.  And hey.  It’s got cranberries in it, so it’s totally autumn-worthy right?

Did I mention who the idiot is who has started eating right and exercising right before Thanksgiving?

Two guesses and one of them isn’t Oprah Winfrey.

You can toss this salad together so fast and people will think you’ve made something really special. You could put your favorite bottled dressing (like a Raspberry vinaigrette).

However, If you feel like something a little more homemade, try the dressing I used.  It’s wonderful, and you probably have everything you need in your pantry already.

I have found that making homemade dressing is super easy and economical and you don’t have all those preservatives and Color #5’s floating around in your dressing.  Toss a few things into a bowl and whisk it up, or better yet, a mason jar and shake it up, and you’re all set with a wonderfully fresh dressing.

So c’mon!  Be adventurous!  Make your own dressing!

In a bowl combine 1 shallot, finely minced, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon honey.  Throw in a dash of  salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Whisk well.

dressing

Or you could make a double recipe, put it in a mason jar, shake it up real good, and save some for tomorrow.   The mason jar adds a special touch – just put it alongside the salad on your serving table, tie a pretty ribbon or some rafia around it, and slide a pretty ladle into the jar to let your guests serve themselves.

Now for the salad – use your favorite salad mix.

My favorite is the Organic Baby Spring Mix from Sam’s Club.  Put a pile in a bowl, crumble some goat cheese over top.

Almost every supermarket carries Chevre or goat cheese now.  Once I discovered it, I was putting it in my omelets, salads and sandwiches.  I love the stuff. It’s got a great twang to it.

Sprinkle on some dried cranberries.

Add some walnuts.  You could just use them plain, but here’s a yummy, easy trick.  Place one cup of walnuts single layer on a dinner plate.  Pop it into the microwave for about 90 seconds to toast.  You can also do this in the oven. Spread them single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 15 minutes.  It not only warms the nuts, but brings out the oils and makes them taste heavenly.

Sprinkle your nuts over top of your salad.  Drizzle over your dressing and toss.

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If you’re like me, you can’t resist a sample.

It’s okay, just fluff up your salad and no one will no the difference.

Cooking with Love,

~Katie

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