For the vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vegan sugar
- 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 18 Bibb lettuce leaves
- 2 cups peeled and sliced pear
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup (1/8-inch thick) sliced red onion
- 1/3 cup crumbled vegan blue cheese (such as Veg Cuisine)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped and toasted walnuts*
2. To prepare the salad, place 3 lettuce leaves on each of 6 salad plates. The small, slightly-cupped leaves of Bibb lettuce are a perfect base for this kind of salad:
3. Toss the pear with 2 tablespoons orange juice. Separate the onion slices into rings, and divide the pear and onion evenly among the salad plates.
4. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon blue cheese and 1 teaspoon walnuts, and drizzle each serving with about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons vinaigrette.
*Toast the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until toasty smelling. Be sure to stir or shake the pan frequently to prevent burning.
6 servings (3 lettuce leaves, 1/3 cup pear, 1/6 cup onions, 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 teaspoon walnuts, 2 and 1/2 tablespoons dressing), Calories 148
More so than the cranberry, it was the burst of fresh ginger that stood out in the vinaigrette. The ingredients of the dressing sounded like an odd mix, but the end result is spectacular, not too sweet, and very Christmas-y. The rest of the salad had a little bit of everything - fresh lettuce, tender pear, salty blue cheese, and toasty walnuts. Even the raw red onion, which is not normally my favorite, was great here, and a nice foil to the pears and blue cheese in particular. A real keeper.