Sunday, August 18, 2013

Balsamic Pear and Asparagus Salad

Since time seems to escape ever so quickly, I know a lot of people, including those who pre-prep meals for the week, prepare the same foods for multiple days.  This method is especially useful for those who are die-hard healthy eaters or calorie counters, as the same type of food is measured and accounted for.  I don't know about you, but eating the same thing day after day is just too boring for me.  I love food...all different kinds...and I tend to have numerous different cravings, so I need a little variety in my life.  Heck, it makes the week more exciting, too!  I already spend too much of my free time cooking, so finding ways to make a variety of foods as quick as possible is essential for my foodie lifestyle.  Combining vegetables and fruits in various salads and sautes is not only fast and healthy, but it also allows for a little creativity and happiness for the taste buds!  

Salads and sautes with simple sauces, dressings, or spices are so versatile - they can be mixed with meats, eggs, tofu, or other types of protein as stir-fries; tossed onto spinach or lettuce as a salad; topped onto bread or in wraps, or even just used as side dishes.  

This week, I've been really into the vibes late summer brings us.  Hints of crisp fall mingling with the warm, lazy days of summer all combine to create a lovely, cozy atmosphere.  As such, I decided to mix in the refreshing, vibrant summer and fall tastes of balsamic vinegar with asparagus, pears, onion, and cinnamon to create this dish.  During the week, I will toss it over some spinach and will top it with grilled chicken, feta cheese, and almonds for a comforting salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pear cut into cubes
  • 1/2 a bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into halves or thirds, depending on the size
  • 1/2 a red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1 tbsp. juice from the capers
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil or any other oil of choice
Recipe:

Dab a little olive oil onto a paper towel, and lightly rub onto a skillet.  Heat the pan on medium heat; once the pan is hot, toss in the pear, asparagus, and red onion.  Saute until the onion and asparagus begin to soften.  Meanwhile, combine the capers, caper juice (imagine drinking a glass of that!), balsamic vinegar, salt, cinnamon...in my case, lots and lots...and pepper.  Toss the dressing into the skillet and mix all of the ingredients together.  Continue to heat until the liquid is absorbed, right before the pears become mushy.  Remove from heat.  Either serve warmed as a side dish, or toss with spinach/lettuce of choice, chicken, feta or goat cheese crumbles, and almonds!

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