My favorite salad

I am not much of a salad eater.  Very rarely will you find me ordering a salad at a restaurant, or eating one as a self-contained meal.  Don't get me wrong, I love veggies, for some reason salad just doesn't do it for me.  That being said, I adore this salad.  Probably because the vegetable to non-vegetable ratio is like 1:1984953 (just right in my opinion).  

This recipe is my copy-cat recipe for Crushed Red's 'This Pear is on Fire' salad.  Crushed Red is a St. Louis started 'Urban Bake & Chop Shop' with a couple locations here and a couple in Colorado.  Their flatbreads and soups are yummy, but their salads, their salads.  I love their salads.  For awhile, I got a different salad every time I went, then I discovered their 'This Pear is on Fire' salad, and I haven't turned back.  It includes: spiced pears, dried cranberries, bacon, goat cheese, avocado, candied walnuts with spinach and house mix, tossed with habanero honey dressing.   This salad basically has all my favorite salad toppings, and a life-changing salad dressing I had never even imagined.  Salad dressing with a kick; sounds kinda weird, but holy croutons it's incredible.  

Since I am officially addicted to this salad, I decided it would be economical to learn to make it myself.  I'm also considering it a public service, because it's only ethical to share such a salad with people outside St. Louis and Colorado. Overall, I think I got quite close to the real thing- however because I don't care for the texture avocado, I always sub in quinoa when I order there.  I also had candied pecans on hand the first time I reproduced it, and found that I liked that better.  If walnuts are your jam, add walnuts by all means.

Copy-Cat Crushed Red 'This Pear is on Fire' Salad

spiced pears, dried cranberries, bacon, goat cheese, quinoa, candied walnuts with spinach, arugula, and leaf lettuce, tossed with habanero honey dressing


8 slices cooked bacon, and chopped
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup candied pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese 
1 pear, cubed
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
8 cups lettuce (I use spinach, arugula, and chopped leaf lettuce)


2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
6 Tbs mayonnaise
6 Tbs honey
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 habanero pepper, seeded (less if you're adverse to spice)
Salt & pepper to taste

For salad, start by mixing the cubed pear, lemon juice, and pinches of cayenne and cinnamon in a bowl or baggie.  Set aside for the flavors to meld, or you can do the day before and place in the refrigerator.  Make the dressing as outlined below.  Proceed to assemble the rest of the salad, dress and serve.

For dressing, put all ingredients in the blender and blend until the pepper has broken down and it is a creamy mixture. I tend to like an acidic dressing, so taste and add mayonnaise and honey to your preference.

  • Buying goat cheese in a log and crumbling it yourself is usually way cheaper.  I freeze it about a half hour before crumbling and it's super easy to crumble.  The unused portion of the log also freezes well for extended shelf-life.
  • bake bacon in the oven- it's way easier to clean up and no babysitting involved.
  • For extra flavorful quinoa, cook it in chicken or veggie stock.
  • I like to make the bacon and quinoa ahead a day or so before hand and use it in a few other meals.  That way the salad comes together super quickly and I get multiple meals out of the dirty dishes.  Win.
  • The longer you let the dressing sit, the spicier it gets.  While it lasts awhile in the fridge, by day 3 or 4 it's like whoa.


  1. This sounds so good! I'm definitely not a salad person, but when I find a good one I'm hooked!
    xo Adri

  2. This is my favorite salad too, and I was trying to recreate it today when I found your post. I just tasted it and you nailed it! Thanks for doing this!


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