Chopped Salad with Sweet & Spicy Pecans and Cumin Dressing

After I shared this quick snap on Instagram and Facebook of the salad I took to dinner with friends last weekend, I got several requests for the recipe. Then my friend was raving about the salad the next day at a baby shower we attended for another friend, so I knew I had to spill the details! This salad is a favorite, but I can’t take any credit for the delicious combination of crisp veggies, cumin-dijon vinaigrette, and candied pecans. My husband’s cousin made this salad–in a really big batch–for the Texas-meets-Missouri barbecue rehearsal dinner my parents hosted for us in their backyard nearly seven years ago. And I’ve been obsessed with it ever since! It goes perfectly with summer grill outs–or early spring ones like we had last weekend. From hamburgers to brats to grilled chicken to ribs, this salad is the perfect side to your grilled meat of choice. See below for the salad mixins, the dressing recipe, and the easy how-to for homemade sweet and spicy pecans!

Chopped Salad

Serves 4

1/2 a head of romaine or red leaf lettuce, leaves cut crosswise into thin strips
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in water (to remove some of their bite)
1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
A large handful of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced
Black pepper and salt

Add lettuce to a large serving bowl. Top the lettuce with all the ingredients, except the avocado, and toss with the dressing right before serving. Top with the avocado and season with a pinch of ground black pepper and salt. Sprinkle with the pecans.

Cumin Dressing

1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
A squeeze of lemon juice
Black pepper and salt

Whisk the vinegar, cumin, Dijon, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Sweet & Spicy Pecans

2 cups of pecan halves
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick olive oil spray. Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. While the pecans toast, microwave the butter in a large bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cayenne, salt and cinnamon. Once the pecans are toasted, remove from the oven and pour into the sweet and spicy mixture. Stir until the nuts are fully coated, then pour them back on the foil-lined baking sheet and spread out. Bake for another 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the candied nuts cool and harden on the baking sheet. Once cool, transfer the candied pecans to an airtight container and store at room temp for up to a week.

  • share this post:
  • Liz

    What great timing. I was going to ask you for the recipe to serve at Mark & Ally’s rehearsal dinner. It was so good and a light balance to the heavier food we served. Thanks for sharing.

  • This sounds like amazing salad! I love cumin. Definitely going to make this!!

  • The dressing is so delicious, hope you enjoy! xx