Oh man...crunch, crunch, crunch...delicious...num, num, nums! Literally eating this while I type, and can't even stand the delicious-ness. Truth be told, I am enjoying this WAY more than my husband, who is secretly wishing there was a pound of cheese in this (salads are not really his favorite meal). If I had my way, I would eat this every day (I think Jennifer Aniston has a waldorf salad every dinner, or is it a cobb salad??). This is filled to the brim with sweet surprises, like grapes, cranberries, and candied walnuts (or pecans, if you want to spend a bit extra). It is dressed with this deliciously sweet balsamic dressing that has four ingredients: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave and sea salt. I have been a fan of waldorf salads all my life, and it is about time I made my own at home!
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
1 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds
1/3 cup maple syrup
A pinch of sea salt
6 handfuls of mixed greens (I like to buy an organic field green mix)
1/2 cup seedless grapes, cut in half
1 pear, cored and chopped (you can also use apple)
1 mandarin orange (or any sweet, small orange), peeled, and pieces halved
1/2 cup dried cranberries, or raisins
a handful of sunflower seeds (optional)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp agave nectar
pinch of sea salt (brings out the sweetness)
* Depending on how much dressing you like, or how big your 'handfuls' are, you may want to increase the amounts.
1) For the candied walnuts, place the nuts on a large frying pan, followed by the maple syrup (just squirt on top), and saute/ heat for about 5 minutes, or until the maple syrup begins to bubble, or becomes 'sticky'. Once the maple syrup condenses, and begins to stick to the nuts, give them a quick stir to ensure they are fully coated. Transfer them to a parchment lined dish, sprinkle them with a pinch of sea salt, and allow them to 'dry' (they really need to just cool, which takes about 10 minutes)
2) For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and agave until thick. Add the sea salt to taste, and place in the fridge.
3) For the salad, toss all of the ingredients together. Add the dressing, and toss to coat. Add the cooled candied nuts, toss, and enjoy!