Mixed greens with pears and fennel

I love experimenting with salads, mix and matching ingredients based on what's in season and what I can find fresh, local and organic. 

Here's a basic guide for how I create my salad recipes:

choose a base: romaine, mixed greens, arugula, kale, red leaf lettuce or kale

add a couple veggies: fennel, carrots, onions, radishes

fruit for a touch of sweetness: apples, pears, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, blackberries

add nuts for a bit of crunch: walnuts or pecans are my fave. I like to toast them for extra flavor (recipe at the bottom) or used store bought (Trader Joe's has tons!)

top with cheese for creaminess (optional if you're going dairy free): goat cheese, blue cheese or parmesan

I came up with this pear and fennel salad that I've been having on repeat because it's just so good, and you can find all the ingredients either in your pantry or in season!

I listed two dressing recipes as well. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a balsamic and sometimes I prefer something a bit more savory. Both are delicious with this!

Ingredients
- mixed greens (or spring mix will work too!)

- 2 pears

- 1/2 (I do one full because I love fennel) fennel bulb, thinly sliced. Ideally use a mandolin to get paper thin slices (I did not because I'm lazy)

- candied and toasted pecans, walnuts (or both!) store bought or homemade (recipe for toasted walnuts/ pecans at the bottom)

- dried cranberries

- shaved parmesan

Directions

Combine ingredients and toss. Top with shaved parmesan.

Balsamic dressing

- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 2-3 tbsp honey (or maple syrup!)

- 2 tsp dijon mustard

- 1/2 tsp thyme

- 1 clove garlic, thinly chopped

- s&p to taste 

(combine ingredients in a mason jar and shake to combine)

Sherry Vinaigrette

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 1-2 tbsp sherry vinegar

- 1 tsp dijon mustard

- 1/4 tsp maple syrup (or honey)

- s&p to taste

(combine ingredients in a mason jar and shake to combine)

 

Candied walnuts (or pecans, or both!)
- 1 cup walnut or pecan halves/pieces 

- 1/3 cup sugar

- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Add ingredients to a skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are completely coated and butter is melted.
Quickly transfer to a lined baking sheet (quickly, otherwise they'll form blobs!) and spread out. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving