Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

You guys.  This salad.  It’s my newest obsession.  Although don’t worry, I’m still just as smitten with creamy polenta and bourbon salted caramels.

But this salad?  It is pure summer goodness.  And my new go-to side dish to accompany homemade pizza.  Or to enjoy for lunch with some sliced chicken on top.  Yep, it’s nice and versatile.  Really, I’ll find any excuse to make it these days.

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

It all started a ways back when we took a quick trip to North Carolina to find a place to live.  We were pretty excited about the upcoming move so we decided to have a celebratory dinner out.  Sounds fun right?  Well the meal itself turned out to be a bit of a bummer.  Except for the appetizers.  I had a salad with fruit, pecans and poppy seed dressing – and it was fantastic.

So this beautiful salad right here?  This is my at-home recreated version.  It has layers of your favorite greens, oh so sweet strawberries and peaches, salty goat cheese, wonderfully crunchy sugared pecans and a lighter poppy seed dressing.

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

I think we all know what I’m having for lunch today….

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing


    For the sugared pecans:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups raw unsalted pecans
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • For the salad:
  • mixed greens
  • sliced strawberries
  • sliced peaches
  • crumbled goat cheese


    To make the sugared pecans:
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until it is white and slightly frothy. Add in the pecans and toss until the nuts are coated with the egg white. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt (making sure there are no clumps). Add the sugar mixture to the bowl with the pecans and mix until well combined (and all of the sugar is sticking to the pecans).
  3. Spread the pecans evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The nuts should be dry and the coating should not come off on your fingers.
  4. To make the dressing:
  5. Add the shallot, mustard powder, salt, sugar, honey and vinegar to the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Process until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Slowly stream in the oil, blending until combined. Add in the poppy seeds and pulse until incorporated.
  6. To assemble the salad:
  7. In a large bowl, add the desired amount of lettuce, strawberries, peaches, goat cheese and sugared pecans. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.

Salad and pecans from Cookie Monster Cooking.  Dressing from Pink Parsley.  Originally from The Pastry Queen Christmas.


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  1. Sweet Jesus! This looks divine! AND you had it with pizza? Talk about a perfect meal! I have a love for poppy seeds, plus sugared pecans sound fantastic.

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says:

      haha thanks Colleen! I can’t stop making it – every time we’ve had pizza lately I’ve made this salad to go with it!

  2. Sounds perfect and healthy for summer.

  3. Ashley, you have turned into a southerner already! Making salads with pecans and peaches is a sure sign! :) I love a little fruit in salads, especially with a light slightly sweet dressing. I am not surprised you find this salad addicting. Fruit AND goat cheese in a salad….I could eat this daily!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says:

      haha thanks Wendy! There’s something about goat cheese and fruit – it’s sooo good!

  4. Don’t you just love recreating restaurant favorites? This looks like a perfect plate of summer. I love the sweetness and the crunch! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  5. This sounds amazing Ashley! I love candied pecans in my salad. Love the strawberry and peach. You arranged it beautifully! :)

  6. This salad looks amazing!! Love all the summer goodness in there :)

  7. Salads with fruit, nuts, and cheese are my fav! Your pictures are gorgeous! I always have a hard time taking good salad pictures.

  8. This is possibly the most perfect looking summer salad ever! Yummy. Love the pecans and the dressing sounds phenomenal!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says:

      Aw, thanks Rachel! It’s slightly addicting … I can’t stop making it!

  9. I love how pretty and summery this salad is, especially with the peaches. We are just starting to see local peaches around here so this salad sounds perfect! Those sugared pecans sound amazing and love this poppyseed dressing, so delicious! Have a great weekend Ashley:)

  10. That dressing sounds awesome. I really love poppy seed dressings :).

  11. This salad is gorgeous and festive! I’ve got pecans right now that I want to candy for salads such as this, and I love ‘em with grilled chicken. I love poppyseed dressing and I’ve never made my own. I really need to, this looks great!

  12. This is such a beautiful summery salad, Ashley. And those sugared pecans…my..are totally irresistible.

  13. I love pretty summery salads like this. They make me feel so healthy!

  14. This salad speaks for itself, but I love love love that poppy seed vinaigrette! It looks so creamy without the cream, and the addition of dry mustard powder must give a really nice bite. So fresh and perfect for summer.

  15. Salads are always perfect for little nip here and a tuck there for me :) But my husband loves them and he is a non-vegetarian. He would take a bite off the screen only :)

    Thanks for visiting my space. Much appreciate.

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says:

      haha my husband likes some salads …. but he went back for seconds with this one. I’ll consider it a winner : )

  16. I love a colorful salad! It just screams summertime. I also love the addition of fruit, since it’s SO good right now!

    • Ashley @ Cookie Monster Cooking says:

      Thanks Holly! It is – I have a little problem right now with buying way too much : ) lol

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