Warm Apple Vinaigrette With a Roasted Pear & Spinach Salad

"This is one of my favorite vinaigrettes and salad. The dressing is warmed up with some shallots and fresh herbs and pureed until creamy; served over spinach, sweet roasted pears, dried cranberries and crunchy pecans."
photo by PaulaG photo by PaulaG
photo by PaulaG
Ready In:
4-6 Salads




  • This takes 4-5 steps, but you do a few steps ahead of time so then it is just a matter of warming up the vinaigrette and tossing the salad.
  • Pecans -- In a small dry saute pan, toast the pecan halves on medium heat for just a couple of minutes until they get lightly brown. You will actually start to smell their toasted flavor. Remove from the pan and cool on a paper towel and then place in a ziplock bag or small tupperware type container and keep until you are ready to make the salad.
  • Vinaigrette -- Make this a day or so ahead and then all you need to do is just reheat.
  • Step 1: In a small bowl, add add the apple cider, vinegar, honey, and cinnamon stick, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  • Step 2: In a small pot, add the oil and saute the shallots of medium heat until tender. Then add in the apple cider mix and bring to a boil. Continue to cook on medium for about 4-5 minutes to let it reduce slightly.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and thyme. Add to a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Check to see if it needs any salt or pepper. I usually use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 pepper, but season according to your taste.
  • The dressing is done. You can use it right then, or you can put in a small container and refrigerate until later.
  • If serving it at a later date, I just whisk the vinaigrette, or my favorite method (just shake it in a small tupperware container) or you can always put it back in the blender or even use and immersion blender and then just reheat in the microwave for 1 minute on medium heat.
  • Pears -- You need to make the pears a couple of hours before as I like to serve them chilled. In a medium size bowl, add the melted butter, allspice, and pears and toss well. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven until tender but not too soft and then begin to get lightly brown. Depending on how thick you slice them, they can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Remove to a plate to cool. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Salad -- In a large bowl add the spinach, red onion, cranberries and set to the side.
  • Vinaigrette -- Reheat until warm. Medium heat in the microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes.
  • Finish the Salad -- Add a spoon or two of the vinaigrette over the spinach, cranberries and onions and toss lightly. Divide the spinach between four plates. Finish the salad by topping it with the chilled pears and toasted pecans. Drizzle the warm vinaigrette over the salad and enjoy!
  • This will serve 4 large salads or 6 smaller salads.

Questions & Replies

Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. This salad was beyond description. The salad burst with flavors and though it does require some advance preparation, it was simple enough and well worth the effort. As I did not have exact ingredients on hand, I made a few substitutions. Used corella pears, toasted almonds, apple juice and onions rather than cider and shallots for the vinagrette. All worked out fine. The dried cranberries are a must - they perfectly come together with the spices, cinnamon... apple vinagrette. Can't think of any salad better for Thanksgiving or X'mas!
  2. I would give this more stars if I could. This does require a bit of planning but the end result is outstanding. The dressing was reduced for about 5 minutes as recommended in the recipe. After blending all the ingredients together, I did put it back into the pot and reduced it by about half. This reduction took about 15 to 20 minutes; however, the vinaigrette was perfect. The roasted pears really made this salad. Something I well make again. Thanks for posting. Made for *Comfort Cafe*


<p>Growing up in Michigan, I spent my summers at my cottage in the Northern part up by Traverscity. On a lake, big garden which had all the vegetables you could imagine. My mom taught school, so summers were our vacation time. Gramps and I fished all the time so fresh fish was always on the menu, perch, blue gill, walleye and small and large mouth bass. At age 5 I learned how to clean my own fish and by 10 I was making dinner, canning vegetables and fruits, making pies and fresh breads. Apples fresh picked every fall, strawberries in June and July, Cherries at the Cherry Festival in Traverscity. So fresh foods always were a big part. Mom worked as a teacher during the year so dinner was more traditional with pot roasts, meatloaf, etc, but it seemed we always had fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the meal. Mom also didn't use as many spices as I do, but times were different back then. <br /> <br />So ... My motto is ... There is NO Right and NO Wrong with cooking. So many people thing they have to follow a recipe. But NO ... a recipe is a method and directions to help and teach someone. Cooking is about personal tastes and flavors. I love garlic ... and another person may not. I like heat ... but you may not. Recipes are building blocks, NOT text ground in stone. Use them to make and build on. Even my recipes I don't follow most times --They are a base. That is what cooking is to me. A base of layer upon layer of flavors. <br /> <br />I still dislike using canned soups or packaged gravies/seasoning ... but I admit, I do use them. I have a few recipes that use them. But I try to strive to teach people to use fresh ingredients, they are first ... so much healthier for you ... and second, in the end less expensive. But we all have our moments including me. <br /> <br />So, lets see ... In the past, I have worked as a hostess, bartender, waitress, then a short order cook, salad girl in the kitchen, sort of assistant chef, head chef, co owner of a restaurant ... now a consultant to a catering company/restaurant, I cater myself and I'm a personal chef for a elderly lady. I work doing data entry during the day, and now and then try to have fun which is not very often due to my job(s). <br /> <br />I have a 21 year old who at times is going on 12, aren't they all. Was married and now single and just trying to enjoy life one day at a time. I'm writing a cookbook ... name is still in the works but it is dedicated to those people who never learned, to cook. Single Moms, Dads, or Just Busy Parents. Those individuals that think you can't make a great dinner for not a lot of money. You can entertain on a budget and I want people to know that gourmet tasting food doesn't have to be from a can of soup or a box, and healthy food doesn't come from a drive through. There are some really good meals that people can make which are healthy and will save money but taste amazing. So I guess that is my current goal. We all take short cuts and I have no problem with that - I do it too. I volunteer and make food for the homeless every couple of months, donating my time and money. I usually make soup for them and many times get donations from a local grocery stores, Sams Club, Walmart etc, with broth, and vegetables. It makes my cost very little and well worth every minute I spend. Like anyone, life is always trying to figure things out and do the best we can and have fun some how along the way.</p>
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes