Lemony arugula salad with candied pecans

In a hurry and in need of a quick side for dinner? This arugula salad with candied pecans and dried cherries hits the spot. Even the dressing is a breeze. 

Garden of Eating
Sweeten up a spicy arugula salad with candied pecans you make yourself. Once you candy a big bag of pecans you can store them for later use.

I came up with this delectable salad the other night while frantically trying to pull some sort of dinner together after discovering that we were out of hotdogs (it's not all gorgeous meals and slow-cooked food around here).

After sulking about the lack of hotdogs for a while, inspiration struck: zucchini fritters! I got a batch of them sizzling in the cast iron skillet and turned back to the fridge where a nice big bunch of fresh arugula from our CSA caught my eye.

I had to keep it simple since the kids were hungry and it was almost time for the baby's bath but I did take a few minutes to candy some pecans in butter, maple syrup, salt and garam masala. These candied pecans are the bomb! MWWAAHHH – I kiss my fingers at you in an Italian-style expression of appreciation for their deliciousness.

Then I chopped some dried cherries, squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper over it all and tossed it to ensure that the crunchy, spicy, sweet bites would be nicely mixed in with the lemony, peppery greens.

A good meal was had by all. (And I have since bought a big package of organic hot dogs, too, just in case.)

Lemony arugula salad with candied pecans & dried cherries
Serves 4

Large bunch of arugula, washed and dried 

1/2-3/4 cup candied pecans (see recipe below) 

1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon (you can add more if the lemon is not super juicy)

A glug of olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Make the candied pecans.

2. While they're cooling, wash and dry the arugula then toss it with the olive, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste (adjust if you think it needs more lemon, oil, salt, etc.) Then throw in the cherries and the cooled pecans, toss again and serve!

Spiced candied pecans

2-1/2 cups raw pecans

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir the pecans with the egg white.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt. Pour over the nuts and stir until evenly coated.

4. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Slide parchment paper (with nuts still on it) off of the baking sheet and onto a wire rack (or the counter) to cool.

6. Break nuts up into a bowl to serve or store at room temperature in an airtight container.

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