Sometimes I hesitate to post everyday meals that seem almost too simple to share. Then I reconsider—if I get excited about new ideas for easy meals that don’t require an extra trip to the store or a lot of time to prepare, then there’s a good chance that you all will feel the same way. I also believe that if we arm ourselves with enough simple, healthy recipes, we won’t be tempted to stop for fast food or lower our standards for food quality when we’re feeling hungry, cranky and tired.
Plus, there’s something magical about the combination of crisp, sweet Gala apples and crumbly, creamy, pungent Gorgonzola cheese. It’s a flavor pairing so dynamite that I had to share; keeping the discovery to myself would be criminal. I like to snack on Gala apple slices with Gorgonzola crumbles, but it becomes a meal when accompanied by fresh, local greens, toasted pecans and a simple balsamic dressing.
My diet this week has consisted of meals like this, made with ingredients that I have on hand or are available at the local health store that’s a short walk away. My freezer is full of leftovers that need to be eaten and my fridge is overflowing with random ingredients from elaborate recipes past. I absolutely hate letting food go to waste, so learning to combine ingredients and leftovers in new ways feels like both a game and an art.
Living by myself as a food blogger, I find myself with family-sized portions of meals that feed me for days. I don’t have a roommate or significant other around to eat leftovers, and I don’t want to ask my friends to eat anything that’s not stellar. Sometimes when a recipe fails to meet my expectations, I’m stuck eating it all week, like the sweet potato, lentil and kale soup that I posted to my Failed Recipes album on facebook. Honestly, I’ve been reheating it for breakfast because it’s not good enough to qualify for lunch or dinner. Sure, I could freeze it, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to thaw it out!
This recipe is so simple that it barely qualifies as a recipe in my mind. Start with a base of the freshest greens you can find. Toast your pecans over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, while you chop a Gala apple into small pieces. By the way, apples are higher in pesticide residues than any other type of produce, so organic apples are worth the extra couple of dollars. Sprinkle the pecans, apple, and good, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese over the greens and top with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I chose to keep this salad as simple as possible, without sacrificing flavor. As always, quality ingredients go a long way in that regard. Serving it with my grandmother’s silverware and a handkerchief designed by a good friend, alongside a sunflower plucked from my back yard, made this simple meal seem extra special. But if you do want to step this recipe up a notch, you could candy your pecans like these stovetop sweet and spicy walnuts (skip the cayenne pepper). I suspect this apple cider salad dressing would be nice as well.