Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

It’s time to mix in some greens with all that butter and sugar I’ve been throwing your way.

And eat some better-for-me food so I can prepare to consume even more goodies on Christmas day.  It’s all about balance, right?

So let’s talk a quick and easy salad.   That has a very pretty colored dressing.  Which gives it bonus points in my opinion.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

The base is a simple spinach salad with my favorite combination of fruit, nuts and cheese – the perfect trifecta for salads in my world.  And then there is that bright orange / pink dressing – a little sweet and a little tangy.  And with fresh cranberries – so seasonally appropriate right now.

A sort of detox among all the cookies.  Eat this for lunch or dinner (with some sliced chicken perhaps?) or serve it as an appetizer for guests.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

And then go eat some more cookies … or fudge … or cake?  It is the holidays after all.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette
Yield: about ½ cup of salad dressing
For the dressing:
  • ⅓ cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
For the salad:
  • baby spinach leaves
  • pear slices
  • pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • crumbled goat cheese (even better if it’s herbed goat cheese)
  1. To make the dressing - add the cranberries and orange juice to a small saucepan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover with the lid. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the cranberries have softened. Transfer the mixture to a food processor (or blender). Let cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and honey to the food processor. Process until smooth, about 25 seconds. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil and continue to process until well combined. Store the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. To make the salad - in a large bowl, add the desired amount of spinach, sliced pear, pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.

Salad from Cookie Monster Cooking. Dressing adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Entertaining 2012.


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  1. I love the idea of fresh cranberry vinaigrette! It’s so pretty and I bet it tastes sensational with the pear slices and pecan nuts. I would definitely have more cookies fudge and cake afterwards! :D Pinned. Have a great holiday Ashley!

  2. I love homemade salad dressings! This cranberry vinaigrette looks so festive and flavorful!

  3. Hello! What a lovely winter salad. I love the tartness of cranberries but have never thought of using that as an inspiration for salad dressing. Thank you for sharing this holiday goodness! I hope you have a blessed Christmas!

  4. The salad looks really delightful, Ashley. The cranberry vinaigrette is the star.
    Happy Holidays!

  5. I will need to save this recipe for our spinach harvest next year, looks great! Have a great holiday!

  6. That dressing sounds amazing! I love a good healthy salad to remove the guilt from all of the extra cookies. :)

  7. What a beautiful salad!! And I love eating salads this time of year (so I can go have that extra fudge!)

  8. I definitely appreciate some healthy recipes right now!

  9. Love this salad combo – I had something similar for dinner at a restaurant, and it was amazing! Looove the cranberry vinaigrette.

  10. Love the addition of the bosc pear!

  11. I’m staring cookie baking today and I’m 100% sure that I’ll be needing salads like this in a matter of days ;–) The pinky dressing is an added bonus! I love the sound of this, and it just looks gorgeous and so so fresh!
    Have a great weekend! :-)

  12. I had a very similar salad for lunch yesterday, love the combination of pears and pecans in salads. Can’t wait to try the cranberry vinaigrette, not only does it sounds delicious but the color is gorgeous!

  13. A salad sounds perfect after all the sweets I have been eating lately too hehe. This is my kind of salad with the sliced pears and pecans. I really love the fresh cranberries and orange juice in the vinaigrette – it sounds great:) Happy Friday Ashley and hope you have a wonderful weekend:)

  14. Jo @ The Contented Baker says:

    I love the sound of this dressing Ashley! We often have salad with our cold meat leftovers. This one sounds perfect!

  15. I love a good spinach salad! And that dressing sounds ah-mazing!

  16. This salad looks so fresh and wonderful. Would love to grab a fork and dig right in!!

  17. Absolutely love the sound of the fresh cranberry vinaigrette! I could use a good salad! :) Have a good weekend!

  18. That dressing sounds incredible and wow- does it look good!
    A bowl or two of this salad will easily justify one or two (dozen) cookies I think I have ingested this month :)

  19. Love this simple salad. It truly looks lovely friend!

  20. I definitely need some balance right about now! Everywhere I look there are piles of butter and sugar cleverly disguised as cookies, truffles, and candy. And I’m eating them all!

  21. I love this idea Ashley! I’m definitely in need a detox of sorts; I’ve been in a constant sugar coma. Sometimes my body even craves greens, to cleanse my palate I’m guessing. I’m sure this salad could do the trick. Loving the vinaigrette choice!

  22. This is pretty much my ideal salad. Fruits taste amazing in salads but I rarely try apple, I’m going to have to give that a try next. And goat cheese? Ummm…kind of addicted. :)

  23. The salad chaser has arrived, and it looks incredible! I love nuts, fruit and cheese in salad, but this one is different with fresh cranberries in the dressing. It sounds lovely, and I’d love to try it soon! Have a great Friday, Ashely. :)

  24. …and I was just snacking on a cookie :). You are right about the green break. The salad looks fantastic. I’m particularly curious about the dressing…never made it with orange juice :) ela

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