Okay, so that’s not the name of the salad. In fact, the original recipe, pinned to my “Yep, We Eat Actual Meals, Too” pinboard around this time last year, was called “pear, blue cheese, and walnut salad with a maple syrup vinaigrette” and was featured on the blog Drizzle and Dip. I love salads, but for some reason my salad greens (purchased with every good intention) always seem to be wilting in my produce drawer. I don’t know why throwing together a quick salad to go with dinner seems daunting to me, but often it does. The promise of a more substantial salad that stands on its own (or with a bowl of soup or quick sandwich) definitely perks me up.
Originally I planned to make this recipe as it’s shown on Drizzle and Dip, but when I was actually buying the ingredients for it this week I remembered the cranberry-orange sauce that I had made for Thanksgiving was still sitting in my fridge. I’ll tell you….foodwise, leftovers are my favorite part of Thanksgiving (pumpkin pie would be, but I am THE ONLY. PERSON. IN MY FAMILY. who eats it, so I don’t bother). Actually, my mom, Philip, and I are the only ones who eat the cranberry sauce, but cranberry sauce is necessary. Why, you ask? Because you can’t make turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches without it. And you also can’t make my cranberry vinaigrette without it. Reason #2 to make cranberry sauce (reason #3 is because this particular sauce is delicious on its own. I have eaten it with a spoon standing at my refrigerator. I am not sorry).
I used to hate sweet dressings, back in the days when ranch dressing seemed like the be all and end all of salad dressings (okay, back when ranch dressing was the only dressing I would eat). My tastes have changed, though, and while I still love a great homemade ranch, I love the bite of vinegar against the sweetness of a flawless jam. The sour cranberries just up the flavor factor. You could use untoasted walnuts, but I’m not really sure why you would….the nutty toastiness pairs perfectly with the salty, pungent blue cheese, the sharp peppery arugula, and the sweet and sour vinaigrette. While we ate these with our Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches (ham for Philip, turkey for me), I think the salad itself would be delicious with turkey on top. Hope you like it!