Summer Chopped Salad with Spiced Pecans and Light Vinaigrette
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Summer Chopped Salad with Spiced Pecans and Light Vinaigrette

Enjoy this light summer salad, a favorite of the Obama family!

For the salad
2 pounds assorted summer greens, such as, arugula, frisee, bibb lettuce, romaine etc., washed and spun dry
1 cucumber, peeled, diced into 1/2-inch size
4 red radishes, sliced thinly
2 ripened tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch size
1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2-inch size
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1 inch
2 cobs fresh corn + 1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking
6 sprigs chives, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

For the pecans
1 cup pecans
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon store-bought Cajun spice

For the dressing
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
2 lemons, juice
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. For the salad components, wash all the lettuces and tear into bite-size pieces. Blanch the fresh green beans in salted boiling water for five minutes. Place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside. Pan-roast the corn kernels on a preheated saute pan with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, toss the pecans, honey, brown sugar, and Cajun spice in a bowl and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated oven (250 degrees) for 30 minutes. Toss every 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  3. For the dressing, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, and shallots in a bowl with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the canola oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. To assemble, in a large mixing bowl, place all the salad greens. Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs. Add the candied pecans. Pour just enough dressing to slightly coat the salad. Season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and serve immediately.

Originally published on, May 2010.