Arugula Salad with Feta, Sweet Potato, Cranberry and Candied Pecans

Featured on TasteSpotting! #162959

My friend Ashley turned me onto this salad from Martha Stewart – and I feel like all the frying and desserting we’ve been doing lately, it was time for a salad.

When Ash made it, it was perfectly dressed, and I thought it was such a perfect combination of flavors – a roasted sweet potato that had been seasoned with salt and pepper to offset the sweetness of the potato, and the saltiness of the feta cheese (fat free at that!) contrasted really well with that peppery flavor that arugula has.  So it was a low-fat salad that packed a huge flavor punch!

So what did I do with it? Added more calories!  I loved this salad just as is, but I thought to add some added sweetness and crunch to it, that would just make it that much more amazing.  I love dried cranberries on any salad – and also,  have recently become a fan of candied nuts – and they’re so expensive in the stores! And it takes no time to make them yourself.

Arugula Salad with Feta, Sweet Potato, Cranberries and Candied Pecans

INGREDIENTS

1 box/bag of baby arugula

1 large sweet potato

1/2 cup whole pecans

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup fat free feta cheese (or more if you like)

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

1) For the sweet potatoes – preheat oven to 450 degrees and cut your sweet potatoes into 1″-1.5″ chunks.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet and toss in olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Set aside.

Arugula Salad with Feta, Sweet Potato, Cranberry and Candied Pecans

2) For the candied pecans – place pecans in a medium saucepan and toast over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.  Once the pecans have been toasted, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and let melt to coat the pecans.  Mix the sugar and brown sugar together (or you can buy premixed cinnamon and sugar in the seasoning section) and coat the buttered pecans in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Set aside.

Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

3) For the dressing – In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, grated orange zest, orange juice, and white-wine vinegar; season with salt and pepper

4) Layer arugula, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries,  candied pecans and then sprinkle top with crumbled feta cheese.  Use dressing to your liking.  I only like a little dressing, so I add mine on afterwards, but you could definitely pre-dress the arugula if that’s what you prefer.

This is a perfect late spring/almost summer salad for any occassion – and not too bad for you either! Thanks Ash! And Martha!

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