Pear & Spinach Salad w/Walnut Dressing

IMG_7260b3/4 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup peanut oil or other neutral tasting oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar or natural sweetener
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby spinach leaves
2 Asian pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon walnut oil (optional0

Place the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring or shaking a few times, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let burn.

Remove about 1/2 cup of the walnuts from the skillet and set aside to cool. Add the peanut oil to the remaining walnuts in the skillet and warm over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to blender and process until smooth. Return to the saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.

Place the spinach and all but 12 of the pear slices in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Arrange the remaining pear slices on top of the spinach and drizzle with the walnut oil, if using. Scatter the reserved walnuts on top and serve immediately.

Note: Last time I made this the grocery store only had one very bruised Asian pear and it was enormously expensive. I substituted Bartlett pears and it was still a super tasty salad.

~Karla

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