This is probably my FAVORITE salad! I use the basic ingredients and throw in different fruits or swap out the nuts for different kinds and different kinds of cheeses also. It is SO delicious! This salad has all the right combinations of sweet and salty or savory. It’s just amazing.
The best way to serve it is to put the dressing on the whole salad–but that only works if you have company and all of the salad is going to be eaten at once. So I usually put the apples and pears in lemon juice to protect them from turning brown and this way the salad will be ok for a few days (just adding the dressing on individual portions instead of the whole).
It has it’s own poppy seed dressing that is also fantastic. It is one of my favorite homemade dressings too. Unfortunately, I have to get off all sugar (including stuff in ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings and stuff hidden in lunchmeats, tomato paste or puree, etc., etc., etc. So, as a result, I will also include my healthy sugarless recipe made without sugar or sweeteners for the dressing and made with honey instead.
I got this recipe from Gina Wooten when she brought it to one of our Christmas parties for our Sunday school class. I just had to have this recipe. I’m not sure where she got the recipe or who the creator of it is, but I know it’s popular on the Internet. It is probably my most used salad recipe. Scrumptious!
This is what it looks like without the salad dressing.
Here’s what I did.
Start with romaine lettuce. But if you prefer another kind that is perfectly fine with this recipe.
Add a cup of cashews. I love the crunch of cashews, but you can swap out for other nuts. However, because this is such a sweet salad anyway, I recommend not putting a glazed walnut, pecan or almond on it. A saltier nut, or one without a honey or sugar glaze is preferred.
The recipe calls for a quarter cup of craisins, but I use about 1/2 cup or a little more. If you wanted to mix it up a bit you could substitute regular or golden raisins here for the craisins.
Sprinkle an 8-oz. bag of shredded Swiss cheese on top. I have used Feta, Romana, Asiago and Parmesan here and those all work fine. But I really prefer the taste of the Swiss to mix the flavors better.
The original recipe calls for 2 chopped apples, unpeeled, and 2 chopped pears, unpeeled. Because I don’t mix the salad with the dressing immediately (and it has lemon juice to prevent discoloration), I chop up the fruit and swish it around in lemon juice first. Then I pat it dry before adding it on top of the salad.
This is a picture of the pears soaking in the lemon juice.
After soaking 30 seconds to a minute, place pear or apple pieces on towel and pat dry. Then sprinkle on top of salad.
Add the pears to the salad.
Now all the apples have been added. I recommend buying a high quality eating apple rather than the cheaper ones that come in bags of 3-5 lbs. Most of the time they are cooking apples and they have a mushier texture.
Tossed, and ready to add salad dressing.
Here’s the recipe.
WINTER FRUIT SALAD W/LEMON POPPYSEED DRESSING
(Recipe from Gina Wooten, when we attended Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill, TX)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons diced onion
1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 head Romaine lettuce- rinsed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces (I use about 3 bags of Romaine lettuce already torn)
4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese (I use 8-oz.)
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I use 1/2 to 2/3 cup)
1 apple- peeled, cored and cubed (I use 2)
1 pear- peeled and cubed (I use 2)
1. Dressing: In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds and process just a few seconds more to mix.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, cubed apple and cubed pear. Toss to mix, then pour dressing over salad just before serving and toss to coat.
NOTE: Many times I add blueberries to this recipe, sometimes pineapple, and sometimes omit the apples and pears altogether and use strawberries, blueberries, mandarin orange segments and pineapple. Feel free to exchange the lettuce, cheese, nuts, or fruit for other ingredients, while using the main idea.
NOTE: I never put the dressing ingredients in a food processor. I just mix them as is and stir up when I need them. It is probably better to put them through a processor, but it’s too much bother.
This picture shows the salad after I decided to throw in some blueberries and with the poppy seed dressing. Yum, yum!
Here’s the super-healthy sugarless version of the dressing.
This photo shows a healthier version of the poppyseed dressing with a high quality oil and honey substituted for the sugar.
2/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. onion (I used 2 green onions, sliced, you can also use dehydrated onions or red onion)
1/2 tsp. Himalaya red sea salt
1 tbsp. poppyseeds
Stir all ingredients together and keep stored in refrigerator. (I like to mix the dressing in mason jars).
Wow! Doesn’t that look wonderful?
- Spinach and Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (cantstayoutofthekitchen.com)
- Kiwi-Strawberry Spinach Salad (cantstayoutofthekitchen.com)
- Special Strawberry Spinach Salad (cantstayoutofthekitchen.com)
- Sarah’s Delicious Salad (cantstayoutofthekitchen.com)