Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans, Pears and Brie

This is the number-one salad in my catering company. The sweet and savory combination of cinnamon-sugared pecans, ripe pears and small morsels of brie is sensational. There is very little oil in this, but you won’t miss it. You can easily make this a main meal salad by adding some grilled chicken or shrimp. Photo by Brian MacDonald.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil.

2. Rinse the pecans with cold water. Drain, but do not let them dry. Combine the icing sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a small bowl. Dip the pecans in the sugar mixture, coating them well. Spread on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Bake for 15 minutes in the center of the oven. Remove and cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, chop coarsely.

4. Combine the spinach, radicchio, pear and brie in a large serving bowl.

5. Whisk the juice concentrate, oil, vinegar, garlic, honey and mustard together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish with the candied pecans.

1/3 cup pecan halves
3 Tbsp icing sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
8 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup diced radicchio
1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored and diced
2 oz brie, diced
2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 189
Protein 4.2 g
Fat 12 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Carbohydrates 13 g
Cholesterol 9 mg
Sodium 105 mg
Fiber 2.6 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare pecans 2 weeks in advance and store in an airtight container. Prepare salad and dressing early in the day and refrigerate. Toss together and garnish just before serving.

Serves 8