Colorful Spring Salad with Cranberries and Home-Made Bleu Cheese Dressing


Remember those evenings when you have had a rough day at work, end up coming late at home, and have nothing to cook except some cheese and a bag of salad greens gawking at you from your fridge!! believe it or not, I have had more than my share of such evenings, especially when it gets really late and I am determined to go to gym that day at any cost. For days like these, salads can act as a welcome retreat. And yet, using the same store-bought salad dressing every time can get kind of boring. So this time around, I set to make my own dressing, which obviously works way better than the ready-made ones because you choose the type and quantity of ingredients that go inside, and hence can make it to suit your taste requirements. The one we get from outside are always a bit more "vinegary" for me, so I was really happy with my Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing The bag of mixed spring greens was put to good use, combined with some dried cranberries and toasted pecans, mandarins, some baby tomatoes, a dash of olive oil and lime juice and some fresh black pepper. The resulting salad was not only colorful and soothing to the eyes, it tasted way better and fulfilling, thanks to the homemade dressing!

The Bleu Cheese dressing recipe was adapted from one I had seen on Eating Well some time back. I always prefer tossing my greens in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice just to preserve their color and impart some extra flavor. You could even add fresh spinach leaves, replace pecans for any other nuts, and add some seasonal fruits like pears or apricots instead of cranberries.

Ingredients
1 bag of mixed spring greens
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp toasted pecans - chopped
1/2 cup mandarin slices
a fistful of fresh spinach leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad Dressing
1 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled blue (bleu) cheese
1-1/2 cups low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp fresh or dried parsely

Method

Toss the spring greens with the olive oil and lemon juice and keep aside.

Coarsely grind the pecans in a grinder to form smaller pieces (or leave them whole if you prefer so) Take a pan and roast the pecans on medium-heat, constantly turning them around so they don't get burnt. You can do this step in advance and store the roasted pecans and keep.

For the Blue Cheese Dressing, beat all ingredients together, except vinegar until fluffy. Blend to form a smooth puree (or leave some chunks of cheese if you like that kind of texture), adding the vinegar slowly as you blend it. Check for taste; add more vinegar if you like it tangy. Then transfer to an air-tight bottle. You can refrigerate and store this for about 2 weeks.

Layer the salad greens on a plate, add the spinach,toasted pecans and cranberries, mandarins and baby tomatoes. Then add some fresh black pepper and drizzle with the homemade bleu cheese dressing and enjoy the salad that is both, colorful and healthy!


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31 comments :

Angie said...

Brilliant Mansi! I love the picture:) its so colorful and vibrant!

-Angie

Sneha said...

homemade dressing!! that's awesome...it would taste way better than Safeway's that we get:)

~Sneha

Kalai said...

That looks like spring on a plate, Mansi! Beautiful!! :)

Suganya said...

Mansi, you can send this to Waiter...Salad, hosted by Andrew of Spittoon.

Anita said...

that looks so beautiful! I would add some more cheese, maybe arugula on mine though:)

Anita

Mansi Desai said...

Angie, Sneha - thanks guys!

Kalai - yeah, looks really soothing na:)

Suganya - thanks so much for reminding me about Andrew's event!:)

Anita - arugula sounds great gal!:)

sandhya said...

mansi, salad looks fabulous.. it looks so colourful..

Meeta said...

Oh this really is a lovely salad. Full of great flavors and aromas. I also love the bleu cheese dressing. YUM!

Sreelu said...

Mansi looks fresh and delish :) like the way you decorated cranberries

Happy cook said...

Yumm; healthy and delicious. And you made your own dressing. Yumm

Asha said...

Love the salad but Blue cheese, I can't handle the smell! :D

Peter M said...

Mansi, that's a fabulous salad and I love blue cheese.

Ben said...

Lovely colors. I am loving the cranberries on it! Delicious

Simply...Gluten-free said...

So pretty. I can't do blue cheese because of the gluten but there must be some kind of cheese I can substitute. Hmm..you have inspired me!

sra said...

It looks really beautiful, Mansi! I can imagine the taste!

Mansi Desai said...

thanks folks! i was a little intimidated at first by the thought of making the dressing, but it really turned out well:)

AnuZi said...

Oh my!! You made your own bleu cheese dressing. Kudos girly. Beeeeyotiful pic!

Rina said...

Mansi I add cooked cranberries to my salads most of the time. Your salad looks gr8

Kalai said...

Mansi, drop by my blog when you get a moment. There's a surprise waiting for you! :)

Mansi Desai said...

Thanks for the wonderful "Excellent Blog" Award Kalai! It means a lot to me:)

Lisa said...

Sounds wonderful. I always make my own dressings and this is one I for sure would enjoy. Alas, if only it were Spring where I am. Snow, ice and cold temperatures has been the norm for weeks and weeks.

Uma said...

Hi Mansi,

The salad looks so lovely. Nicely decorated. By the way, I have tagged you for a meme, please stop by my blog for details. Thank you.

tigerfish said...

I have many days that I just don't liek cooking! This is a good solution :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

This sounds absolutely delicious!

Raaga said...

I totally agree with you... I have started making my own dressings now :-) this looks so refreshing.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Homemade blue cheese was always one of my dad's favorites. How he would love this salad! I'll have to remember this for when he visits.

Mansi Desai said...

tigerfish - we all have our days!:)

Gretchen - thanks!

Raaga - I know! its so much more fun to making your own dressings:)

Susan - wish I could send you some for your dad, b'coz I still have some remaining in my fridge:)

Rosie said...

Mansi, this looks so beautiful! Spring is on a plate definitely!

Rosie x

Andrew said...

interesting sounding dressing; one I am looking forward to trying.

Thanks for taking part in Waiter...

Helen said...

Hi! Yummy recipe! I've used a quote from your post for my Healthy Salads article!
Thank you!
Regards, Helen

njppa said...

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. A little twist is to use the candied pecans which are easy to do. Just heat some brown sugar to melting in a saucepan, put in the pecans, stir until coated and lay out on wax paper to dry.. yum!
-njppa