Tuesday, March 10, 2009

apple, pear, & craisin salad with lemon-poppy seed dressing

This is THE favorite salad in our house. My husband loves it (I do, too), and has ever since the first time our friend Jan made it for us. This is a great salad for any time of the year! It's great for fall because of the apples and pears, Christmas because it has green and red fruit, and spring and summer because it is light and refreshing. I enjoy making this when we are asked to bring salad for a group meal or when we have guests over for dinner.

Craisin Salad
Adapted from my friend Jan and also seen in Southern Living Magazine

I N G R E D I E N T S :

for the salad...

1 large head romaine lettuce, torn in pieces (or three romaine hearts)
1 cup cashews (or less, if you wish) (you can also use candied pecans or walnuts)
4 oz. shredded swiss cheese*
1/4 cup craisins (we use more, it's just however much you want)
1 red apple (I like fuji), cubed
1 granny smith apple, cubed
1 pear, cubed

for the dressing...

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons...make sure you get a full 1/3 cup)
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. poppy seed
2/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
I also add a little white wine vinegar (maybe 1-2 Tbsp. at most) for extra zing or to thin out the dressing if I don't have enough lemon juice
** original recipe calls for a little bit of minced onion (I think about 1 Tbsp.) but I never add it

D I R E C T I O N S :

Mix dressing ingredients in a jar. If you have a food processor, it's best to use one because it really combines the dressing and keeps it from separating. Otherwise, just shake really well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine salad ingredients. If making ahead of time, toss the apples and pears into a small amount of the dressing to keep them from turning brown, and then add to salad.

Toss salad with dressing right before you serve it. I actually only toss a little of the dressing in, and let people add however much extra they like.

*Sometimes I can find grated swiss in a bag, but most of the time I have to buy it in a block or have the deli cut a block for me, and then I grate it at home...another perk to having a food processor. But if you don't, you can grate it manually, too.

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