There’s nothing like seven Christmas celebrations to make you crave a salad.

After all of the dips, chips, cheese trays, homemade eggnog, and sky-high coconut cake of the past two weeks, I woke up this morning craving something fresh and green. Something that didn’t contain cream cheese. Something good for me.

It is time for the post-holiday detox.

If you’re ready to start the detox, too, try this Candied Walnut, Pear and Leafy Green Salad. Left alone, it would be sweet and crisp and crunchy, but drizzle it with a simple tangy dressing (made by shaking balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil and capers in a small jelly jar) and you’ve got something special. A big plateful of color, texture and flavor that will make you wonder why you don’t eat more salads.

If that’s not a holiday miracle, I don’t know what is.

Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green Salad

Adapted from “Cooking Light” (November 2009)

Yields 8 (1 cup) servings

    Candied Walnuts:

  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (substitute with balsamic, champagne, or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
    Salad:

  • 12 cups mixed lettuce (4 cups each green leaf / romaine / radicchio) (Note – I usually use a bag or two of Spring Mix salad greens, especially if I’m making a salad just for me.)
  • 1 ripe red Anjou pear, thinly sliced (Feel free to substitute any apple or pear.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the Candied Walnuts: Place sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 1 minute). Continue cooking 1 minute or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat; carefully stir in nuts to coat evenly. Spread nuts on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; separate nuts quickly. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside until cool; break into small pieces.
  2. For the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine vinegar and mustard, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in capers. (Or, shake up the dressing in a small jelly jar.)
  3. To Make the Salad for a Large Group: Combine lettuces and radicchio; top with pear and candied walnuts. Drizzle dressing evenly over salad; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.
  4. To Make the Salad for One or Two: Keep the greens separate from the rest of the ingredients, and only plate what you need. Top with pear slices and candied walnuts. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of dressing evenly over your salad(s); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. To store your leftovers, combine the pear slices, candied walnuts, and dressing in a small bowl, and store the mixture in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) – calories: 171, fat: 11.6g, carbs: 16g, fiber: 2.6g, protein: 2.7g, PP+ = 5