Or, as I like to call it: my favorite everything salad. Because it has all my favorite things! Juicy fall pears, tangy bleu cheese, and salty roasted hazelnuts.
But, first let’s discuss something very important. The classic vinaigrette recipe. You know it by heart: the one with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a touch of Dijon? Well, here’s the thing: I’ve never really liked it on lettuce. I love it on salmon and lentils, but on delicate greens? No way. I don’t know why I’m the only person in the world that thinks the ‘perfect vinaigrette’ recipe is flawed. But I do. I realized it was keeping me from eating salad.
Then, I realized it was the vinegar that was the deal-breaker for me. Now, I don’t normally have a problem with vinegar. I actually drink pickle juice from the jar. (Why did I feel the need to divulge that in public? Oh god. Sorry, Mom). Basically, I like vinegar. But I just think it’s too over-whelming for delicate baby lettuces. So, when my CSA gave me a giant bag of lovely little hand-picked lettuces, I vowed to find a homemade dressing recipe that I loved so they wouldn’t go to waste.
Here’s the trick: I reached for rice vinegar instead of the standard red wine vinegar. Rice vinegar is mild, subtle, and always there for you in the pantry. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a lover. I mean dressing. We’re definitely talking about dressing.
The world’s new perfect vinaigrette recipe is this: rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, and maple syrup. Pepper if you’re feeling fancy. (When are you not feeling fancy?)
Side note: if you bought the $7 bag of roasted hazelnuts to make my hazelnut cookie recipe, you can use the rest of the bag here. Thank you guys for all the great reviews on that recipe! I’ve made it 3 more times since, and I’m obsessed.
Gotta get my mind off cookies and onto salad now.
This recipe usually makes enough salad dressing for a salad that serves two. Because, um, that’s the point of this here site. BUT, if you’re following along on my Small Thanksgiving series, you’ll know that we’re going to double it today to serve 4. So, start with 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar in a pretty little jar.
Add two pinches of salt. Literally two pinches. Don’t measure. You don’t have time for such things!
Forget what I just said and carefully measure out 4 tablespoons of olive oil. This is where you use high-quality olive oil. It just tastes clean and grassy. Because grassy is a good thing when it comes to olive oil. Trust.
And two teaspoons of maple syrup. Yes, yes.
Isn’t it pretty?
Shake shake shake, Senora, and then pour it over the salad. You already added tons of crumbled bleu cheese, thinly sliced red pears, and hazelnuts to the salad, right? I thought so.
All we have left on our Small Thanksgiving journey is one more side-dish and dessert. Are you ready?
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pinches salt
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 6 cups mixed baby greens
- 2 red pears, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
- 3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- First, make the vinaigrette: Combine the rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and maple syrup in a small jar. Shake well.
- Next, in a large bowl, mix together the salad greens, pears, bleu cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top, and toss to combine.