Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pear and Spinach Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

Transparently thin pear slices are featured in the latest salad by the master of miserly meals. I've had a metal grater for forever, but seldom use the mandolin blade on the side. It's not quite long enough for wide fruit or some veggies, but works fine for my tart and tasty salad, which also includes spinach and a creamy herb dressing.

Pears have been showing up at my neighborhood grocery stores for way below 99 cents per pound, in a lot of varieties, too. For my Pear and Spinach Salad I used pears that were firm, for easy shaving. You could use soft riper ones if you prefer, but the mandolin might not work well -- so just slice thinly with a knife, or cut into bite sized pieces.

I bought a package of spinach leaves at my local 99c only Store; even my local Latin market often carries one large bunch for a dollar or less.

You can make a simple oil and vinegar salad dressing, or just use your favorite bottled one. But I would recommend you try my Creamy Herb Dressing. The herb part came from a parsley plant in my condo patio garden. You could also use basil if you have a plant. Or, if you are herbless, then a couple of green onions would be a tasty substitution.

The cream base is mayo and milk that is sweetened with honey. It's a delicious dressing that you can make in under a minute in the blender. And substitute dairy with soy or almond milk and vegan mayo.

I topped my fruit and veggie salad with crumbled cheaply priced Mexican cheese, queso fresco, but you could use feta, blue cheese or a little shaved parmesan. Although, this salad is delicious with or without cheese.

 For all my vegetarian visitors, this salad is especially for you. To keep things lactose free, substitute with soy milk and imitation mayo.

So for a light and refreshing salad with a pleasingly pungent and luscious dressing, try The 99 Cent Chef's Pear and Spinach Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing.

Ingredients for Salad (serves 2-3)
  • 2 whole pears* - any type. I shaved with the mandolin slicer on my metal grater, but you could just thinly slice or cube the pears with a knife.
  • 1 bunch, or package, of spinach - wash well and remove large stems.
  • Cheese (optional) - crumbled feta, queso fresco, blue cheese, or shaved parmesan.
  • *1 teaspoon of lime or lemon juice (optional) - Drizzle over sliced pears to keep them from turning brown, if you are assembling the salad and storing it in the refrigerator for later use.

Herb Cream Dressing
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, parsley, or 1 green onion (roughly chopped.) You could also combine any of these.
  • 1/4 small onion - if you are using 2 green onions, then don't use the 1/4 onion.
  • 2 tablespoons of milk - whole or low fat. Okay to use soy, almond or any vegan dairy substitute
  • 3 tablespoons of mayo - vegan mayo or plain yogurt.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey - or a favorite sweetener.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions for Creamy Herb Dressing
Chop onion in half (or small enough to fit blender, or food processor.) Add parsley (and/or basil) and onion to blender. Spoon in mayo (or yogurt,) then pour in milk. Add a teaspoon of honey or a favorite sweetener. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth like a salad dressing.

Thinly slice pears using the mandolin blade of a metal grater -- if you have one. Make sure to stop shaving before you reach the bitter, light brown speckled, pear core. It's okay to just thinly slice, or cube, pears with a knife.

In a large bowl or plate, mix together sliced pears and spinach. Crumble on cheese (optional) and finish with plenty of my Creamy Herb Dressing.


Shell said...

I was thinking about trying to find a nice recipe for spinach salad dressing, thank you.

Kathryn said...

This sounds like it would be delicious. Going to try this some time. Thanks for sharing this with us:)

Denise said...

Nice to seey ou using fresh herbs from your garden!

senisabroke said...

I did this 4 years ago and LOVED it. I failed to save the recipe and spent the last 4 years trying to replicate or find it. So glad I found it again! Having this tonight!

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