Finding time to prepare healthy meals can be a challenge. With this simple and quick Salad with Candied Pecans, you can enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal in less than 10 minutes.
This Spinach Arugula Salad is packed with fresh veggies, including a vibrant mix of arugula and spinach, crunchy cucumbers, and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. The sweetness of dried cranberries and candied pecans adds a delightful contrast to the peppery arugula, while crumbled feta cheese lends a savory touch.
Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a healthy lunch option, this Salad with Candied Pecans is a perfect choice. It’s naturally gluten-free and can easily be made vegan by using vegan feta cheese. Opting for fat-free feta makes this salad even lighter and healthier.
why you’ll love this recipe
- Effortless Preparation: This Salad with Candied Pecans is incredibly easy to make, requiring just a handful of ingredients and taking less than 10 minutes to assemble.
- This salad is incredibly easy to make, requiring just a handful of common ingredients and taking less than 10 minutes to assemble.
- Meal prepping this salad is a breeze. Simply prepare the ingredients ahead of time and store them separately in airtight containers. When ready to eat, toss everything together and drizzle with your favorite balsamic dressing for a burst of flavor.
- Minimal Ingredients: You won’t need to hunt down any exotic or hard-to-find ingredients for this Salad with Candied Pecans. All the components are readily available at most grocery stores.
- Packed with Veggies: This salad is loaded with fresh greens, including arugula and spinach, providing a boost of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Quick Weeknight Dinner or Healthy Lunch: Whether you’re short on time or looking for a nutritious midday meal, this salad fits the bill perfectly.
- Meal Prep Friendly: Meal prepping this salad is a breeze. Simply prepare the ingredients ahead of time and store them separately in airtight containers. When ready to eat, toss everything together and enjoy!
- Versatile and Adaptable: Feel free to customize this salad to your liking by adding other vegetables, fruits, or nuts. You can also experiment with different dressings to suit your taste preferences.
ingredients & substitutions
This peppery green adds a distinct bite to the salad, balancing the sweetness of the cranberries and pecans. Arugula is rich in vitamin K, which supports bone health and blood clotting, and vitamin A, essential for vision and immune function. If you prefer a milder flavor, substitute spinach or a mix of baby greens.
This nutrient-dense leafy green provides a wealth of vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, and vitamin C. Spinach contributes a slightly earthy flavor to the salad, complementing the other ingredients. If you don’t have spinach on hand, arugula or kale can be used as a substitute.
These sweet and crunchy nuts add texture and a hint of indulgence to the Salad with Candied Pecans. Candied pecans are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. If you prefer a less sweet option, substitute plain pecans or walnuts.
These tart and chewy berries provide a burst of sweetness and contrast to the savory elements of the salad. Dried cranberries are rich in antioxidants and fiber, supporting digestive health and overall well-being. If you don’t have dried cranberries, try using raisins or dried cherries in this Salad with Candied Pecans.
These refreshing vegetables add a cool and crisp texture to the salad, balancing the richness of the other ingredients. Cucumbers are a good source of water and fiber, promoting hydration and digestive health. If you don’t have cucumbers, consider using diced bell peppers or celery.
These nutty and slightly crunchy seeds add a boost of protein and healthy fats to the salad. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which supports muscle and nerve function. If you don’t have pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or chopped almonds can be used as a substitute.
This salty and tangy cheese adds a savory dimension to the salad, complementing the sweetness of the cranberries and pecans. Feta cheese is a good source of calcium, essential for bone health. For a vegan option, use crumbled vegan feta or omit the cheese altogether.
This slightly sweet and tangy dressing enhances the flavors of the salad, bringing all the components together. Balsamic dressing is a versatile choice that complements the peppery arugula and the sweetness of the cranberries. If you prefer a different dressing, try a vinaigrette or a light lemon-herb dressing in this Salad with Candied Pecans.
taste & texture
This Salad with Candied Pecans is a symphony of flavors and textures that will tantalize your taste buds. The peppery arugula and earthy spinach create a vibrant base, while the sweetness of dried cranberries and candied pecans adds delightful pops of flavor. The crunch of cucumbers and pumpkin seeds provides a satisfying contrast to the tender greens, and the salty tang of feta cheese brings a savory element to the mix. Drizzled with balsamic dressing, the Salad with Candied Pecans comes alive with a sweet and tangy finish that ties all the elements together.
In a large bowl, combine the arugula, spinach, candied pecans, dried cranberries, cucumbers, and pumpkin seeds.
Crumble the feta cheese over the salad.
Drizzle with balsamic dressing and toss to coat.
expert tips & tricks
- Wash and Dry Greens Thoroughly: Before assembling the salad, ensure the arugula and spinach are thoroughly washed and dried. This will prevent excess moisture from making the salad soggy.
- Use Fresh, Crisp Ingredients: Choose fresh, crisp cucumbers and vibrant greens for optimal flavor and texture. Avoid using wilted or bruised produce.
- Customize the Sweetness: Adjust the amount of dried cranberries and candied pecans to suit your taste preferences. If you prefer a less sweet salad, reduce the quantity or substitute with plain nuts.
- Dress Just Before Serving: To maintain the crispness of the salad, add the balsamic dressing just before serving. This will prevent the greens from becoming soggy and maintain their vibrant texture.
- Experiment with Dressings: While balsamic dressing pairs well with this salad, feel free to explore other dressing options, such as a light vinaigrette or a lemon-herb dressing.
- Add Protein for a Heartier Meal: To transform this salad into a more substantial meal, consider adding grilled chicken, tofu, or chickpeas for a boost of protein.
how to make this lower carb
To make this Salad with Candied Pecans low-carb, simply omit the dried cranberries, as they contain a higher amount of carbohydrates. You can replace them with a handful of fresh berries, such as raspberries or blueberries, which are lower in carbs and add a touch of sweetness.
how to make this low fat or healthier
To make this salad low-fat, use a light balsamic dressing or a vinaigrette made with olive oil and lemon juice. You can also reduce the amount of candied pecans or substitute them with plain pecans or walnuts for a lower-fat Spinach Arugula Salad option.
how to make this vegan
For a vegan version of this salad, use a plant-based feta cheese or omit the cheese altogether. There are several vegan feta options available in most grocery stores, made from ingredients like tofu or cashews.
how to serve, store and meal prep
Serving and Storage:
This Salad with Candied Pecans is best served immediately after assembling to maintain the freshness of the greens and the crunchiness of the cucumbers and pecans. However, if you need to store it, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Keep the dressing separate and add it just before serving to prevent the greens from becoming soggy.
Meal Prep Tips:
To meal prep this Salad with Candied Pecans for individual portions, divide the ingredients into separate containers or jars. Layer the greens, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries, and store the candied pecans and feta separately to prevent them from becoming soft. When ready to eat, combine all the ingredients, add the dressing, and enjoy.
For make-ahead preparation, wash and chop the greens, cucumbers, and pecans. Store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. When ready to assemble, combine the ingredients, crumble the feta, and drizzle with dressing.
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Spinach Arugula Salad with Feta and Pecans
- 1 cup arugula chopped
- 1/2 cup spinach chopped
- 2 tbsp candied pecans
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup cucumbers diced
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp feta cheese vegan or fat-free
- Balsamic dressing
- In a large bowl, combine the arugula, spinach, candied pecans, dried cranberries, cucumbers, and pumpkin seeds.
- Crumble the feta cheese over the salad.
- Drizzle with balsamic dressing and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!