I’m a huge sucker for traditions.
One of my favorite family traditions is putting up the Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Whilst listening to Christmas tunes and watching The Grinch that night. We do this every year. Religiously. Come hell or high water.
One year, however, I made plans with a friend to go Christmas shopping. My dad needed to utter but four words to make me instantly cancel these plans in favor of a garland and ornament-filled day: “But it’s a tradition…”
I. Love. Traditions.
Mark and I started our own tradition of sorts during the last few months of college. I would go over to his apartment, we would make dinner, and then we would have a fun little “picnic” on the floor next to the windows. He had a fantastic view in his old apartment (see this picture for proof), but it was seriously fun switching it up and eating on the floor. I can safely say that we never once ate as his dining room table during the last month of school.
When we moved into our new apartment, that “tradition” was moved to the back-burners, as we much enjoyed eating at our new kitchen table like the civilized professionals that we are.
One day last week, however, Mark decided that we should back the picnic tradition with a fun meal idea. Yes, this Summer Fruit and Candied Pecan Salad was actually Mark’s invention, and I totally could NOT wait to share it with you all! Boy is this recipe a good one. I knew there was a reason I liked him so much. ;)
This Summer Fruit and Candied Pecan Salad is filled with texture: crunchy, creamy, soft, and chewy. It’s packed with flavors: sour, sweet, and earthy. It may just be, dear reader, the perfect summer salad! I am totally head-over-heels for this veggie and fruit delight, and I know you will be, too! And it only requires a few simple ingredients that will seriously have you saying, “wow”:
I love fruit, so summertime is perfect for me due to the vast amount of fresh produce available. One of my favorite summer fruits is the good ol’ blackberry. They’re kinda tart, they’re kinda sweet, but the texture is what really gets me. I love how they literally pop in your mouth and that they’re sturdier than the sometimes-mushy blueberries. While I love eating them on their own, they really add something special to this salad. Just like that crisp granny smith apple does. I have never been a huge fan of granny smiths because of their super tart taste (I am a Fuji apple snob through and through). But. Something totally clicked this summer – I cannot get enough of these tangy green fruits! They also serve as the perfect “crunch” in this Summer Fruit and Candied Pecan Salad. Mmmm…they’re so SO good!
Next, some sweetness. We “quick-candied” some pecans in honey, and I’m pretty sure it was one of the best decisions we made this week. These candied pecans are so.addictive! They’re slightly crunchy, but they also get a little chewy, and, of course, they add the best sweet little bite to this salad! They actually might have been my favorite part, so it’s a good thing they take less than a minute to make! I’m sure that they will be a staple summer salad add-in!
Last, some creaminess. Our first choice was avocado, but they were a little on the hard-side when we went to make this salad. Mark, the brilliant man that he is, suggested that we cut up some brie cheese that was hiding in our fridge. As brie is amongst my favorite of the cheeses, I happily obliged. I’m definitely going to try this salad with avocado in the future, but I can honestly say that I love it with that salty, creamy brie!
This Summer Fruit and Candied Pecan Salad = perfection. Mark totally hit the texture-and-flavor nail on the head, and I know that we’ll be delighting in this perfectly balanced salad all summer long. Oh, and serving this salad on the floor of your living room? Totally not optional.
Summer Fruit and Candied Pecan Salad
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 2 people||Total:|
This gluten free and vegan Summer Fruit and Candied Pecan Salad is filled with just the right textures and flavors to have you coming back for more!
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted & toasted pecan pieces
- 1/2-1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
- 2 servings mixed greens
- 1/2-1 pint blackberries
- 1/3 cup diced brie (or avocado for vegan option)
- Make the balsamic vinaigrette: Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp. honey/maple syrup to a small jar. Secure lid and shake until combined. Set aside.
- Prep the salad ingredients: Add 1 Tbsp. honey/maple syrup to a small skillet. Melt over medium heat, then add 2 Tbsp. pecan pieces. Mix to coat pecan pieces. Allow honey/maple syrup to bubble for 30 seconds, then remove and place on a piece of parchment paper. Place in freezer to set, about 10 minutes.
- Assemble the salad: Dress mixed greens in just enough dressing to lightly coat greens.* Place apple, blackberries, and brie on top. Crumble candied pecans on top.
*You will have leftover dressing. But this is a GOOD thing! Dress ALL the summer salads with this delicious 4-ingredient recipe or use it as a marinate for ALL the grilled things!
Stay classy, Internet friends!
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Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks says
I adore candied pecans. I’d eat those for dessert!
Alexa [fooduzzi.com] says
I’m right there with you, Dani! They’re my favorite part of this summer salad!