When I was a sophomore in college preparing for the career fair, I closely examined all of the food companies that would be in attendance that day. I was determined to land an awesome internship for the upcoming summer. I remember my adviser recommending that I stop by the companies that were lowest ranking on my list first, to shake the jitters and use it as a practice round. As I was walking around, just scoping it all out, I noticed there wasn’t anyone talking to the recruiters at the Johnsonville Sausage booth, so I thought “perfect, this will be a good practice round.” Little did I know, I’d end up at Johnsonville that summer as an intern, and couldn’t help but return upon graduation for a full time job.
There’s something special about Johnsonville, and man, did I love my time there. It’s the culture, the people, the teamwork…. if it wasn’t for my husband and I “meeting in the middle” to be together, I’d likely still be there. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do now, but that’s a story for another time!
So, you’re probably wondering, where is she going with this? She’s got a meat-less salad recipe and she’s talking about a sausage company. Ha! Let me explain… As a sensory scientist, I was tasting SO many samples per day (I think my record in one day was 84!), including summer sausage, Italian links, breakfast patties, beer brats, smoked links, ground sausage….you get the point. As much as I loved what I did, I was so burnt out on meat at the end of the day, and resorted to fruits, vegetables (and ice cream – thanks to my sweet tooth! 😉 ) for most of my suppers. This salad was a staple for me during my time at Johnsonville, and always brings me back.
Nowadays, if I’m making this as an entree, I’ll add a grilled chicken breast, but for good times sake, we’re keeping it simple! This salad comes together quickly and is so delicious with the homemade raspberry vinaigrette. Salad can be so boring, but I guarantee that this one definitely isn’t!
Cranberry & Pecan Salad
Drizzled with the homemade raspberry vinaigrette, this salad is vibrant and full of flavor!
-5 oz container spring mix
-1 c chopped pecans
-1 c dried cranberries
-6 tbsp feta cheese
-Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1. Make the raspberry vinaigrette: In a blender, combine 1 c raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed), 1/4 c vinegar, 1/3 c light olive oil, 2 tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp chopped pecans. Blend until smooth. (Makes about 1 1/2 c)
2. Divide spring mix between six plates, and top with the pecans, dried cranberries, and feta cheese. Top with vinaigrette.
-Try swapping the raspberries out for blueberries to make a blueberry vinaigrette
-Top the salad with grilled chicken to make it an entree salad
-Toast or candy the pecans for a little extra crunch and flavor
-Don’t have time to make the vinaigrette? Use a pre-made vinaigrette instead!