Over the last couple of years, Thanksgiving has become a weird (non) holiday for us.
I used to travel home every year without fail for the big feast, always held at my Grandparents’ house in the desert, but when my Grandfather passed away two years ago, our family celebration was scaled way back. Last year, newly married, between our joint work schedules, the expense and stress of traveling on the worst air travel days ever, for the first time, we stayed home.
We made pizza and ate it off of our wedding china. We went for a long walk with the pup, and decorated the house for Christmas. And the silver lining… we didn’t have to fly!
This year we’re continuing that tradition, and while I do miss being back home, I’m sure once we have some little ones running around, we’ll get back to doing the big, traditional family Thanksgivings we grew up with. For now though, it’s a very low-key, low-pressure affair.
So while most food bloggers consider Thursday to be the Super Bowl of the recipe world, I hope you’ll pardon my lack of enthusiasm and impatience to just.get.on with the Christmas song-singing, holiday decorating, present shopping, and mega-cookie baking, as I unabashedly contribute to the holiday creep.
Along with our Thanksgiving pizza, I’m planning on making this simple spinach and pear salad, topped with goat cheese, vibrant pomegranate arils and super addicting candied pecans. I also may have promised the hubby I’d bake him this pie.
I make variations of this salad all Fall and Winter long – spinach (or mixed greens), creamy goat cheese, seasonal fruit and/or berries, and a handful of chopped nuts, all tossed together with an easy-to-whip up, sweet and tangy homemade balsamic dressing. This is the sort of green salad that pairs well with just about everything and lightens things up around the holidays – particularly if you also have a weakness for holiday baking…
Hope you have a wonderful, love-filled, delicious Thanksgiving! xo, Laura
- 2 ripe pears
- 9 oz baby spinach leaves
- 3/4 cup candied pecans
- 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup halved pecans
- 2 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add the pecans, and stir until well coated. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until the pecans begin to darken and give off a toasted, nutty aroma.
- Transfer the candied pecans to the prepared sheet pan, arranging in an even layer. Let cool to room temperature. Will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Will keep for up to week.
- Core and thinly slice the pears. Toss together the spinach, candied pecans, goat cheese and pomegranate in a large bowl. Layer with the pear slices.
- Drizzle the salad with the dressing right before serving. Enjoy!