On our most recent family vacation, we ate dinner at the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. This wasn’t our first visit, it wasn’t even our second time there as we really do enjoy the food at this resort. For Disney property, the plated meals are on the high side of reasonable — but tasty and there’s plenty enough on a plate to share if need be. My main meal favorites are the smoked sausages and succulent smoked BBQ ribs but the one thing that really keeps me coming back is this delicious salad that they serve.
Before any of the other deliciousness ever makes it to our table, a salad of “mixed greens tossed with an apple vinaigrette” arrives in a big bowl just full of a variety of ingredients. The description on the menu does not do this salad justice, in my opinion. Of course, I really enjoy a salad full of varied ingredients to keep your palate entertained. This salad is in no way boring, that’s for sure!
As a part of our dinner this evening, I re-created this scrumptious salad at home. Even my 5-year old daughter loves this salad — including the blue cheese! It’s incredibly easy to put together and also to vary the add-ins based on what you have in the pantry that might also pair well. The vinaigrette is also easy and versatile. Simply put any vinaigrette is just about the ratios. Once you have those down, you can create any flavor you like. I like how easily this salad comes together to create the perfect bite. For a crowd, I prepare the salad in a large serving bowl. I do not add the dressing until we all get to the table for a better presentation. Then I add the dressing and toss to coat. For just my family for a weeknight dinner, I tend to create the salad right on our plates hand preparing each one to the individual it will serve. This way I know we all get exactly the flavors we enjoy. It’s impressive for a family gathering and this will be a part of our Holiday dinner this year as there’s something to appeal to almost everyone. For those who do not care for Blue Cheese, I find Gorgonzola to be a little milder however, you may crumble your favorite cheese instead.
Apple, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad with Apple Vinaigrette
Yield 8 servings
- 1 (12-ounce) bag salad greens like romaine or spring mix
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, raisins, or cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) blue cheese or Gorgonzola crumbles
- 2 whole apples (your favorite variety), cored and sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon or spicy brown mustard, more or less to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave, more or less to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Add the greens, cherries, pecans, cheese and apples into a large salad bowl.
- Mix the olive oil, Dijon, maple syrup and vinegar in a small jar and sprinkle with and salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well to mix.
- Pour the salad dressing over the top of the salad and toss to combine.