Published on 24 Feb 2024

Warm Winter Salad with Pears

As the chill of winter wraps around us, the desire for warm, comforting meals becomes almost instinctual. Yet, amidst the hearty stews and rich casseroles that typically grace our tables during these cold months, there lies a unique opportunity to brighten our palates and nourish our bodies with something both warming and nutritious. Enter the Warm Winter Salad with Pears—an exquisite blend of seasonal flavors and textures that promises to delight your senses and infuse a bit of brightness into the dreary winter landscape.

This salad is a masterful symphony of ingredients, thoughtfully chosen to celebrate the season’s bounty while providing a comforting warmth. At its heart lies the sweet potato, peeled and diced, then roasted to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper, achieving a caramelized exterior and a soft, sweet interior. The pear, with its juicy sweetness, slices through the richness, adding a fresh, crisp contrast that perfectly complements the earthy tones of the dish.

The shaved Brussels sprouts and sliced shallot introduce a delightful crunch and a hint of sharpness, balancing the sweetness of the pear and sweet potato. The crumbled goat cheese adds a creamy, tangy element that melts in your mouth, while the chopped pecans provide a nutty finish that rounds off the salad beautifully.

But what truly sets this salad apart is its dressing—a harmonious blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a whisper of cinnamon. This dressing, with its rich, velvety texture and deep, complex flavors, drapes itself over the warm ingredients like a cozy blanket, enhancing each component’s natural flavors without overpowering them.

The Warm Winter Salad with Pears is not just a dish; it’s an experience. It invites you to slow down, to savor each bite, and to appreciate the depth of flavors and textures that winter has to offer. So, discover how a simple salad can transform the way we view winter meals.

How to Make a Warm Winter Salad

Indulge in the comfort and warmth of a delicious Warm Winter Salad with Pears, a dish that perfectly encapsulates the essence of winter dining with a nutritional profile that will keep you on track with your health goals.

Designed to serve four, this salad is not only a feast for the senses but also a mindful choice, with each serving containing 318 calories. For those following the Nutrisystem plan, it conveniently breaks down into one SmartCarb, two PowerFuels, one Extra and one Vegetable, making it an excellent addition to your meal plan. Don’t forget to log it in your NuMi app journal!

Winter Salad Ingredients

The preparation of this salad begins with a selection of fresh, wholesome ingredients. The base comprises a sweet potato, meticulously peeled and diced, then roasted with a touch of olive oil and a hint of black pepper to achieve that perfect blend of sweetness and spice.

Accompanying the sweet potato are crisp slices of pear, adding a juicy burst of flavor to the mix. The salad is further enriched with shaved Brussels sprouts and thinly sliced shallots, introducing a delightful crunch and a layer of depth to the texture. The inclusion of crumbled goat cheese offers a creamy tanginess, while chopped pecans sprinkle in a nutty crunch, culminating in a dish that’s as varied in textures as it is in flavors.

The dressing, a luscious combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon, is whisked together to create a concoction that beautifully marries the sweet and savory elements of the salad. This dressing is then drizzled over the assembled mix of roasted sweet potatoes, pears, Brussels sprouts, shallots, pecans and goat cheese, ensuring each bite is enveloped in its rich, comforting flavors.

Preparation

To create this culinary masterpiece, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. The sweet potatoes are tossed in olive oil and seasoned with black pepper before being spread out on a greased baking sheet, joined by the pear slices. This medley is then roasted to perfection, allowing the flavors to deepen and meld together.

Meanwhile, a quick sauté of Brussels sprouts and shallots in olive oil softens these vegetables, readying them for their role in the salad. Once all components are prepared and warm, they are gently tossed with the delectable dressing, resulting in a salad that is not just a meal but an experience—bringing warmth, nutrition, and a touch of gourmet to your winter table.

The beauty of the Warm Winter Salad with Pears lies not only in its delightful combination of flavors and textures but also in its versatility. This salad is a canvas, allowing for numerous customizations to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs, making every iteration of the dish uniquely satisfying. Here are some creative ways to tailor this salad to your liking:

Customizing Your Warm Winter Salad

Alter the Protein

  • Switch Up the Cheese: While goat cheese offers a creamy tanginess, you can easily swap it for feta for a brinier taste or shaved Parmesan for a nuttier, more aged flavor.
  • Add Meat: For a heartier meal, consider adding grilled chicken strips, sliced steak or even chunks of roasted turkey. These proteins complement the sweet and savory notes of the salad beautifully.

Play with the Greens

  • Experiment with Greens: Although shaved Brussels sprouts provide a crunchy and slightly bitter counterpoint, feel free to mix in or substitute with kale, arugula or spinach for different textures and flavors.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Introduce roasted butternut squash or carrots alongside or in place of sweet potatoes for a different kind of sweetness and a vibrant color palette.

Vary the Fruits

  • Try Different Fruits: If pears are not your favorite or you’re looking to experiment, apples, roasted grapes or even segments of orange can offer a refreshing twist and a new dimension of taste.

Nuts and Seeds

  • Switch the Nuts: Pecans provide a lovely crunch and nutty flavor, but walnuts, almonds or even pumpkin seeds could be fantastic alternatives, each adding their unique taste and texture.
  • Toast for Extra Flavor: Toasting the nuts or seeds before adding them to the salad can enhance their flavor and add an extra layer of crunch.

Dressing Variations

  • Customize the Dressing: While the original dressing is a harmonious blend of sweet and tangy, you can experiment with different oils (such as walnut or avocado oil), vinegars (like apple cider or red wine vinegar), or even add a hint of mustard or honey for complexity.
  • Spice It Up: Don’t hesitate to add spices to the dressing. A pinch of nutmeg, smoked paprika or even a bit of chili powder can create intriguing layers of flavor.

Additional Toppings

  • Incorporate Grains: For an even more filling salad, add quinoa, farro or barley. These grains contribute to the salad’s texture and nutritional value.
  • Herbs for Freshness: Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro or mint can brighten the salad and add a pop of color and freshness.

By customizing your Warm Winter Salad with Pears, you can enjoy a different culinary adventure with each preparation. Whether you adhere closely to the original recipe or venture out with substitutions and additions, this salad is a testament to the joy of seasonal cooking and the pleasures of a meal that’s both comforting and nutritious. Refer to the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide for more information on counting ingredient swaps and add-ins.

If you enjoyed this delicious, veggie-packed meal, you’ll love our Warm Brussels Sprouts Cranberry Salad recipe!



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