Mike and I have a green salad either with or for dinner at least three nights a week. It’s so simple: organic baby greens, some walnuts, dried cranberries, some cheese and if it’s the main course, some protein – steak, chicken, salmon. We have our favorite brands of organic jarred salad dressings: he prefers a honey mustard while I like the tart balsamic. Today I decided I was bored of my “usual” and wanted to make my own. And why stop there, right? So I also made a warm sweet but savory chutney with caramelized onions and pears to serve with the salad.
This was awesome combined with the crisp cold greens and the creamy feta cheese we chose to use. I also added some crushed walnuts and diced grilled chicken and it was an easy dinner that looked and tasted fancy. The vinaigrette literally comes together in 30 seconds and the only reason the chutney takes longer is because you need to let the onions caramelize fully, which takes time and patience. I usually start this process first and then get the rest of the meal together.
I used canned pears (in own juice) for this recipe for multiple reasons. For one, pears are no longer in season and are really expensive in the store. For another, I wanted soft pears for this recipe. If you want to use fresh pears, you’ll have to cook them first. This isn’t hard but does add an extra step. To do this, simply peel and slice the pears and cook in a slow boil in 3/4-1 c. water and a splash of orange juice.
Recipe: Dijon Pear Vinaigrette with Warm Onion Pear Chutney
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
- ½ tsp fresh garlic, finely minced
- 2/3 c. sweet onion (Vidalia), chopped
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 c. soft-cooked pears (or canned), chopped
- ½ c. pear juice (I used the juice in the can. If you soft-cook them, use the remaining water/juice)
- ¼ c. oil, olive or grapeseed
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 ½ tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider, but red wine or balsamic would also work)
- splash sweet wine (optional)
- 3 tbsp honey
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan on low and add the garlic and onions.
- Let caramelize on low heat. Be patient, this can take a while.
- Once the onions are brown mostly through, add the chopped pears and maple syrup to the pan.
- Continue to cook this on low for around five minutes.
- To make the vinaigrette, simply add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and whisk: pear juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and honey.
- Toss the vinaigrette on your greens and top with your choice of toppings: it pairs amazing with feta, walnuts, and cranberries, but the possibilities are endless.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet (other): Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dinner