Red Leaf Lettuce with Grapes, Blue Cheese, Pecans, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes

We think this is the perfect “wine-country” salad, as it stands as a veritable tribute to wine, with its sweet grapes, red wine – loving blue cheese, and sweet balsamic vinegar. We love to transform this first-course salad into a full meal by adding deli-roasted chicken to the mix. For a dairy free version, substitute a handful of hemp seeds for the blue cheese.  

Ingredients:

For viniagrette: 

1/4 C balsamic vinegar 

2 tsp grainy mustard 

1 tsp finely minced garlic 

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste 

Freshly ground pepper 

1 1/4 C best-quality extra virgin olive oil 

 

1/2 C pecans 

8 C lightly packed red leaf lettuce  

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 

1 C halved red seedless grapes 

1/2 C crumbled blue cheese (or hemp seeds for dairy free option) 

1/3 C paper-thin red onion slices 

 

Directions:

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, sea salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to incorporate. Alternatively, combine all the ingredients in a jar, cover tightly, and shake until thoroughly blended. Adjust the seasonings to taste. The vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 1/4 cups 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

 

Put the pecans on a baking sheet and roast until aromatic and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. After 6 to 8 minutes, shake the pan and rotate if necessary to ensure even browning.) Let cool, then roughly chop the pecans or break into pieces by hand.  

 

Put the lettuce in a large bowl and season lightly with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Add the grapes, blue cheese (or hemp seeds), pecans, and red onion and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately. 

 

 

 

Shopping List 

balsamic vinegar 

grainy mustard 

garlic 

best-quality extra virgin olive oil 

pecans 

red leaf lettuce  

red seedless grapes 

crumbled blue cheese (or hemp seeds for dairy free option) 

1 red onion