Oh, dinner salad. The often overlooked attempt at a healthy green side dish. Most of the time it is an after thought, following on to more glamorous main entrees like a lasagna, pizza or a roast: “just throw together some lettuce, tomato, cucumber, maybe go crazy and add some sliced onion or bell pepper and problem solved”. Serve with a simple balsamic vinaigrette or pre-made bottled dressing to make it easier. It’s as straightforward as it is forgotten and disappears into the background. I start to yawn just thinking about it.
Not all salads have to be this banal. Some are gloriously massive and caloric like a Cobb or the American classic, Taco Salad (only America can make a salad unhealthy). These beautiful concoctions with vegetable matter give the impression of healthy eating and allowing them to be nominally classified as a salad are, of course, hiding their true glory because they are proper meals in themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I will happily make and eat them for lunch or dinner but serve them as an accompaniment to pasta or chicken….no. No. I need something a tad simpler, lighter and more refined.
And so came about my new favorite salad which comprises all necessary elements of a great bowl of the green leafy stuff: sweet, salty and a crunch. The sweetness of a roasted pear combined with the salty and sharp Bleu cheese crumble and the crunch of cashews all tossed in a tart lemon and thyme dressing. Damn, that’s good and it’s a great way to use up those hard pears that refuse to ripen. Afterthought, no more, this is a beautiful addition to any meal. Take it from me, save room for the salad.
Butterhead lettuce tossed in a lemon thyme dressing then topped with roasted pear, Bleu cheese crumbles and roasted cashews. Not your typical boring side salad. #easy #healthy #salad #dinner #vegetarian
- 1 firm pear (I used Forelle but you can choose whichever is your favorite)
- 1–2 oz Bleu cheese
- a handful of roasted cashews
- 1 med/large head of Butterhead lettuce (or whichever is your favorite)
Lemon Thyme Dressing
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 sprig of thyme (leaves removed and finely chopped)
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1–2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450F/220C. Wash pear and roast in the oven for 20 min.
After roasting, remove from oven and wrap in aluminum foil to allow the pear to steam from the inside out.
Meanwhile, wash and dry lettuce.
When pear is cool to the touch, remove stem and peel the skin off.
Cut in half and take out the core where the seeds are.
Slice into bite sized pieces.
Toss dressing over lettuce leaves then top with roasted pear slices, crumbled Bleu cheese and a generous sprinkling of roasted cashews.
Lemon Thyme Dressing
Combine minced garlic, finely chopped thyme leaves, honey and lemon juice together. Slowly whisk in olive oil until thoroughly emulsified. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Category: Salad, starter, side, vegetarian
- Cuisine: Western
Keywords: salad, lemon, thyme, pear, bleu cheese, cashews, side salad, vegetarian, appetizer, starter