Carley Petersen, Oakland, CA
With washed spinach ― baby and otherwise ― available in most supermarkets these days, a fresh spinach salad is almost no work at all. Carley Petersen found that adding just a few great ingredients makes it a very special salad. Toasting the pecans brings out their rich, sweet flavor.
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes
MAKES: 6 servings
1 cup pecan halves or pieces
3 quarts baby spinach leaves (about 8 oz.), rinsed and crisped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese (4 oz.)
3 tablespoons lemon-flavored extra-virgin olive oil; or regular olive oil plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1. In a shallow baking pan, bake pecans in a 350° oven until golden in the center (break one to check), 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
2. In a large bowl, gently mix spinach, pecans, cranberries, crumbled gorgonzola, olive oil, and vinegar. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.
Per serving: 295 cal., 76% (225 cal.) from fat; 6.3 g protein; 25 g fat (6 g sat.); 15 g carbo (4 g fiber); 331 mg sodium; 17 mg chol.