Holiday entertaining is on my mind these days. Yours too, I bet. This is a salad I used to make when I entertained around the holidays. Usually, I made a pear and blue cheese salad, but once in awhile I made this salad. Fresh sliced oranges, red onion and chèvre, with a smoky honey cumin vinaigrette. And oranges are in season, so now is the best time for this beautiful salad.
So, of course, I couldn’t find the original recipe in my messy drawer. I knew I wouldn’t, several of my favorite recipes are lost. I can only remember the oil and vinegar ratios, so I just recreated it, different from the original I’m sure. And I’m pretty sure I got the salad recipe from Bon Appetit or Gourmet in the early 90’s.
This salad is a great combination of flavors. Baby spinach, orange, red onion, honey goat cheese and a dressing flavored with honey and cumin. And this time, some toasted pine nuts on top. The salad I made years ago didn’t have goat cheese or pine nuts, or spinach for that matter. It was a mixed green salad and that would work also. I like the spinach though, and the colors are gorgeous in this salad. Also, plain chèvre would be just fine, I just happened upon this honey goat cheese and wanted to try it. Love the sweetness it added with the other ingredients.
This is a delightful winter salad, seasonal and festive, perfect for Christmas and entertaining. You and your guests will love it.
Spinach salad with a smoky-sweet vinaigrette and the citrussy brightness of oranges.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin ~I used smoked cumin
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- 10 ounces baby spinach (more or less)
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds ~ if your rounds are too big, cut again into half moons
- Honey chèvre, small log ~ pretty name for goat cheese, use any kind you like, plain is fine
- Pine nuts, toasted
- Kosher salt and pepper
Place first 6 ingredients and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Or place in jar with tight fitting lid and shake well.
Put sliced red onion in small bowl and toss with about 2 tablespoons of dressing. Set aside and let macerate for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, place spinach, orange rounds and red onions. Dress lightly and toss. Add more dressing as needed, being careful not to overdress. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again.
Divide salad evenly among 4 plates. Dot pieces of goat cheese on each salad. Sprinkle on some toasted pine nuts.