Everyone loves this salad. Full of little unexpected green things like tender sweet peas! Then there’s my husband. He always surprises me with food. Tonight, he brought his salad plate back and it was full of PEAS! Just when you think you know your man he brings you peas! It may take another 17 years for me to re-aquaint myself to this mystery man I call my husband! Anyway, plates usually come back clean with this delicious dish. I call it my “no miss salad”! I do hope you enjoy this as much as I do! Note: If you absolutely do not like peas then blanched/shocked asparagus cut into bite sized pieces substitute nicely for the peas!
As with any recipe, the quality of your ingredients will play a huge role in the success of your end product! This recipe is a prime example of how good quality ingredients will make this salad shine! The balsamic vinegar and maple syrup play major roles in this salad. Read more about what to look for in a good quality balsamic vinegar. I have found the Kirkland brand (Costco) of balsamic vinegar to be the best for the price, as well as their extra virgin olive oil. Now about pure maple syrups. There are different grades (Grade A, Grade B) and some come amber etc. I’ve tried them all and my palate only finds a slight differences in each (major foodies must hate me!!). I think as long as you use a pure maple syrup you will be fine. Just make sure you aren’t using the syrup your kids put on their pancakes!
Just throw all the vinaigrette ingredients into a leak-proof container. When you are ready to toss the salad, all you have to do is give it a good shake.
Get all your ingredients ready for easy assembly. I don’t put a lot of peas in my salad, and remember to keep tossing the salad as you serve because the peas sink to the bottom. You can assemble all the greens together a good four hours before you are ready to serve and then toss with the vinaigrette.
Here is everything put together, ready to be tossed. I don’t toss the cheese into the greens because of the non-cheese lovers of the world…you know who you are…we all know who THEY are!
Toss a little bit of the vinaigrette into the salad and give it a good toss.
All tossed and ready to go. MMmmm, I can’t wait to make this again! Serves 4.
Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 small shallot–minced
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Whisk until all is blended. Keeps for up to two weeks in refrigerator. Right before tossing into salad, give it a good whisk again.
4 cups of your favorite tender greens, use baby greens, European blend mix or a blend of baby greens and baby spinach
6 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 green onions, chopped from white to pale green only
1 cup sweet baby peas, frozen
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled (feta also works nicely in this salad)
1/2 cup honey-roasted cashews (any candied nut will do)
1/2 cup Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
Toss the greens, bacon, dried cranberries, green onions and peas in a large bowl. Add in the blue cheese and cashews; toss to combine. Slowly add the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat well. Serves 4.