Cranberry Pear Salad


















Isn’t this salad pretty?  I’m here to tell you it’s not just a pretty dish — it’s completely addicting.  Years ago I attended my old roommate’s birthday party where this salad was one of the dishes served.  Everyone was going crazy over it, including me.  A few guests and I were trying to figure out what was in it.  I had to have the recipe, so I asked the woman who made it and she told me the ingredients. I have made it countless times over the past 10 years and every time I have brought it to a gathering I’m asked for the recipe. No lie….it’s that good!  It has every element you want – crisp, fresh romaine lettuce, chewy, tart dried cranberries, salty feta cheese, crunchy slivered almonds, and one of my fall favorites, juicy Bartlett pears.  You’ll also be happy to know that you don’t even need to make your own dressing for it.  I was told that Paul Newman’s Caesar dressing was used in the salad the first time I had it.  I was quite surprised that it was a Caesar dressing on a very un-Caesar salad, but you know what? It just doesn’t taste the same without it.  Seriously, I have used other dressings with a lackluster outcome.  Why mess with perfection?  Next time you’re asked to bring a salad to a gathering, try this one.  It’s guaranteed to please.

Cranberry Pear Salad

One bag of chopped Romaine (or two hearts of Romaine cleaned and chopped)

One perfectly ripe Bartlett pear, cored and chopped into 1″ chunks

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds

Paul Newman’s Casesar dressing (Regular or Light)

1. Place slivered almonds in a large skillet over medium heat.  Toast for 8-10 minutes until fragrant.  Remove from heat and cool.  Keep a close eye on these – they go from toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds.  If you want to skip this step, purchase Trader Joe’s toasted, slivered almonds….they are fabulous!

2.  Place remaining ingredients in a salad bowl.  When cooled, add the slivered almonds.  Add the dressing.  Be careful not to overdress – this salad shines on its own and too much dressing will overpower it.  Start with about an 1/8 a cup to start and add more as needed.  Toss and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6