Oh my, this dressing is good! My mom told me about a delicious salad she had a while back at Nordstrom’s and she suggested I try to replicate it so… voila! Here is my Pear & Walnut Salad with Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Thank you mom!
I used a spring mix & baby spinach combo (thank you Costco!) and then topped it with pears, candied walnuts, feta cheese, craisins, and the oh so good Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette. I have been eating this salad everyday for a week now and I’m still not sick of it! It’s such a beautiful salad. Perfect for sharing with others. I even served it as a side for Easter Dinner!
Yes, this dressing is high in fat (like any other dressing), but you’re not drinking it! And at least it is made with canola oil (unsaturated fat, some of which is Omega-3) so it follows the recommendation of the Acadamey of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to increase the consumption of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and limit the consumption of saturated and trans fats. 
And to those that fear fat, the recommendation for adults is that 20-35% of your calories come from fat.  If you are on a 2,000 calorie diet that means you should be getting between 44-78 grams of fat a day (400-700 calories from fat).
So don’t be afraid of fat. Just choose good fat like in fish and liquid oils. I say liquid oil because the popular coconut oil is mostly saturated fat (more than butter! See chart below) The position AND has on coconut oil is this:
“New food products containing coconut oil and other palm oils (eg,milk, spread, yogurt) are touting health benefits of MCTs. Given that 44% of coconut oil is 12:0 and 16% is 14:0, and these fatty acids are hypercholesterolemic, consumption of coconut products is not currently recommended.” 
This is their standing as of 2014. If you have further questions about this PLEASE consult a Registered Dietitian (health expert)… not a sales person trying to make money off you at the expense of your health.
This chart is from the USDA’s 2010 Guidelines for Americans. And as you can plainly see, coconut oil is the highest in saturated fat and lowest in polyunsaturated fat. Now, you’re not going to die if you eat it occasionally but as AND recommends, the majority of your fat should consist of polyunsaturated fats.
Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 15 ounce can Dark Sweet Cherries
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cups canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- Drain the cherries and then puree them in a blender or food processor.
- In a medium size pot, bring pureed cherries, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Pour the cooked mixture in a standing mixer or blender. Mix in red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. While mixing, slowly pour in the oil and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Store in jars in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Recipe Source: Adapted from Jan Can Cook (use canned cherries instead of cherry preserves, amounts of salt and pepper, slightly different cooking method)
Pear & Walnut Salad
- 6 cups spring mix & baby spinach combo
- 1 red Anjou pear, diced
- 1/2 cup cinnamon candied walnuts, or pecans
- 1/2 cup Craisins, or dried cherries
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- ~6 tablespoons Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Add the dressing, toss, and serve immediately (or just serve dressing on the side).
Recipe Source: Inspired by Nordstrom’s Bistro Blue Cheese and Pear Salad