Monday, April 01, 2013

Red leaf lettuce salad with apples, goat cheese, candied walnuts, & honey vinaigrette

My husband and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary by going to Charleston, SC. We had a wonderful time and had some of the best food we've ever eaten. The restaurants alone are worth the trip! There are so many we didn't even get to try...we'll just have to go back. Every meal I had included a delicious salad. One salad I had was served with honey vinaigrette, which was delicious and something I had never had but knew I wanted to make at home. This salad is inspired by some of the great salads I had on our trip. The apples, cranberries, candied walnuts and goat cheese are paired well with the honey vinaigrette. This really is a delicious salad! Goat cheese can be expensive but I find good deals at Trader Joe's and Costco. You can use feta if you don't have or like goat cheese, and I tried this as well, but I much prefer the goat cheese. The walnuts are very simple to make and totally worth the extra few minutes. This is a delicious salad-perfect for a casual weeknight meal or nice dinner party.

Red leaf lettuce salad with apples, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and honey vinaigrette
Recipe mine

S A L A D   I N G R E D I E N T S :
1 head red leaf lettuce
2 granny smith apples, sliced thin
1/2 cup dried cranberries, or more
Candied walnuts (recipe follows)
Goat cheese

D R E S S I N G  I N G R E D I E N T S :
1/2 cup honey 
1/2 cup oil (I used a mix of EVOO and safflower-you can also use canola or vegetable)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

D I R E C T I O N S :
Combine ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend well.

Candied Walnuts
Adapted from this recipe

I N G R E D I E N T S : 
3 cups walnuts
3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

D I R E C T I O N S :
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a heavy large baking sheet. Combine sugar, water and salt in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil 2 minutes. Add walnuts and stir until walnuts are coated with mixture, about 1 minute. Transfer walnuts to prepared sheet, spreading evenly. Bake until walnuts are just beginning to brown, about 13 minutes. Transfer to a sheet of foil or waxed paper and quickly separate with a fork. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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