Candied Pecan, Craisin, Feta Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

When my hubby is out of town, I get to enjoy meals that I may not normally get to. He does’t believe a salad can be the star menu option for dinner.  I do. He hates when I order salads when we go out to eat at restaurants, but I do.  I adore salads. So when he leaves, you better believe I am chowing down on a salad for dinner :) Not only are they delicious, but can they seriously get any easier?!

To me, salads are the perfect way to enjoy a light and refreshing meal.  You can dress up a salad to make it one of a kind and to make different flavors come together and unite to make it one irresistible dish.

This salad is one of my top 3 favorite salads of all time.  Candied pecans provide such a sweet and yummy crunch while the cranberries and feta bring such strong flavors to the plate, yet surprisingly, combine to bring a delicious and desirable taste.  The creamy balsamic vinaigrette takes these odd but delicious ingredients and tops it off with such a unique and perfect dressing that makes these flavors and textures work together perfectly.


My mom made this salad for me what seems like forever ago and I have fallen in love with it.  In fact, I fall in love with it more every time I eat it.  How cliche does that sound but it is so true.  And yes, I fall in love with food… don’t you?! Originally she used store bought Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette, but then we found this recipe from My life as a Mrs. for a homemade version and now use it all the time. It is SO delicious.

Please excuse me now while I wipe off my drool and head to the kitchen to go and make me one of these salads.  You should do the same.  Your palate will be thanking you for it with every bite.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Candied Pecan, Craisin, Feta Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is the most amazing and delicious salad! Candied pecans provide such a sweet and yummy crunch while the cranberries and feta bring such strong flavors to the plate, yet surprisingly, combine to bring a delicious and desirable taste. The creamy balsamic vinaigrette takes these odd but delicious ingredients and tops it off with such a unique and perfect dressing that makes these flavors and textures work together perfectly.
Recipe type: Salad
  • 2-3 cups spring mix salad
  • 1 cup sugar coated pecans
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp. Morton's Nature seasoning
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large bowl or on a large plate, lay out spring mix salad. Top with sugar coated pecans, craisins crumbled feta.
  2. You could use a store bought Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette or you can make the recipe above by whisking together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, sugar, Nature's Seasoning, and salt until well combined. Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk well. Slowly add in the olive oil (while whisking).
  3. Pour dressing over prepared salad and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftover dressing.


(Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe from: My life as a Mrs.)

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #chefintraining and/or #chefintrainingblog. I would love to see how these recipes take shape in your kitchens.

Filed under: dinner, salad

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  1. Ruth

    I'm a big fan of this kind of salad, too, but I have no idea what Morton's Nature dressing is. Is there something else I could use instead of it?



    1. Chef in Training

      It is a combo of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed, and parsley. You can get it at Walmart or I am sure other grocery stores too.

  2. Ruth

    Sorry, I MEANT to say Morton's nature SEASONING, not dressing!


  3. Lorna

    Yum, Yum, and double yum! I love salad for dinner, and I don't even feel guilty when it is overflowing off my plate. Salad makes me happy and this one looks and sounds divine! Making it for dinner! Thanks for the great reciepe! Love your blog!

  4. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Anytime a restaurant offers a salad like this, I always snatch it up! I love craisins and pecans on my salad--nothing better! Feta sounds like a nice change from what I usually get, either parm or gorgonzola. This looks delicious!

  5. maria @close to home

    I am adding this to my thanksgiving menu. Love for you to link up to our Friday FOod Frenzy recipe party

  6. Colleen

    Do you make your own sugar coated pecans?

    The salad sounds delicious!

    1. Chef in Training

      yes I do. I just put 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup pecans into a frying pan and stir on medium heat until the sugar begins to melt and clumps form and stick onto the pecans :)

  7. sally @ sallys baking addiction

    Nikki! My mom makes a salad similar to this every Christmas. It's so special and I never get around to making it myself throughout the rest of the year. You've successfully tempted me! I love feta cheese and candied pecans together. Plus the craisins, greens, and that dressing!! I think i'm going to eat salad for dinner practically every night this week now.

  8. Joan


    The salad was a huge hit, but I have to say that I made the dressing to the instructions and it was WAY too salty! I would say that the Mortons seasons is plenty of salt without any additional needed. I altered it with some honey and a little more mayo. Other then that, it was great!

  9. Sherry

    A hit!!! Family really enjoyed this salad. I made the homemade dressing (didn't have the Morton's seasoning, just tossed some onion powder, celery seed, etc in). Definitely be keeping this recipe and dressing recipe on our family rotation. Oh, and the candied pecans....yum! Taste just like store bought but better! *followed recipe of 1/2c sugar, 1c pecans over heat*

  10. Heather {Dietetic Sinners}

    Just made the dressing. Tastes awesome! Can't wait to get to eat it on the salad tomorrow. I'm making it for Thanksgiving!

  11. Julie

    I cannot say thank you enough for this amazing recipe. I can't imagine not making the dressing. It's easy and probably one of the most amazing dressings I've ever tried. Thanks again! (found this on Pinterest)

  12. Kelly

    I was introduced to this salad by Whole Foods! The only thing theirs has that yours doesn't is thinly sliced red onion. I usually dislike raw onion but BOY it sure adds a lot to this salad!

  13. Ellie Pratt

    About how many does this feed?

    1. Chef in Training

      For 1 Baguette loaf, I would say 5-6 if they each have 2-3 crostinis.

  14. Elaine

    I've mad the dressing a couple of times and therefore have served the salad several times. I love it! My husband who is not a salad eater, loves it! Everyone loves it and such a nice presentation for guests. I wonder if anyone knows how long the dressing will keep in the fridge?

  15. Becca

    Make your own Candied Pecans and this salad just got even better. And they are SUPER easy. Oh and they are really good all by themselves, without the salad too.

  16. Barb

    I thought the dresssing was way too salty. Is 1 1/2 teaspoons correct?

  17. jessica

    Trying this salad tonight! Sounds delish! Couldn't find candied pecans so I replaced with honey roasted almonds (we don't like pecans anyway). Let's see how it goes! Thanks for the recipe.

  18. Faith @ Artistic31Mama

    This recipe is being featured on my blog ( ) in my top favorite salads post. The post as well as the blog hop will go live tomorrow (04-14-13) at 6pm EST. Would love for you to stop by!

    Love your blog! I'm a new follower and your recipes are so delicious! :-) Thanks for all you do!

  19. Mary

    could you pass on how to make the sugar coated pecans?

    Are these toasted, etc?

  20. jeana

    What is the serving size for this recipe?

  21. Sherry

    I've probably already commented on this salad, but I need to do so again. It's just so dang GOOD! My husband and I crave this salad a couple times a month (we'd have it more but we hate to tire of it by having it too after!) It's so easy to make and I love the homemade dressing, it always makes plenty and I even have extra to use on salads throughout the week. And I also made my own
    Candied pecans using your method you suggested to another commenter. So good! Oh yeah, I also buy a roasted chicken (cooked) and top it off with that to make it a full meal. I'm so happy I ran across your blog months ago, so many exvellent recipes!!

  22. Victoria

    This would be amazing with blue cheese crumbles!

  23. alisha

    I live overseas with no access to Morton's nature have an idea of what I could sub? :) thanks!!

  24. Christina

    How many does this feed for salad?

  25. Debi

    Please include the recipe for the salad. It looks delicious.

    1. Chef in Training

      So sorry about that! It now is there and printable :)

  26. Kathy

    This is my go to salad recipe and I pinned it at least 2 years ago. I make the dressing at least once a month and use it most nights on my regular green salad. For some reason Pinterest is blocking your site so I Googled "Candied Pecan, Craisin, Feta Salad" to get the recipe and am going to print it. I've always made it from my computer in the past.

    Don't let the "Blocked" message scare you off. This salad is wonderful!

    1. Chef in Training

      Thanks Kathy! Good news, Pinterest had a glitch but its all fixed now :) Thanks for your sweet comment!

  27. BB

    All around delicious and easy. I recommend buying a Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (a muddy brown colored Balsamic Vinaigrette) the first time. If you like/love it (and you will), then buy all the ingredients. Otherwise, it's a very expensive salad for one-time-only. The dressing recipe here is great! I bought the pre-washed 50/50 organic jumbo pack of Spinach and Mixed Greens. I used a recipe for oven-baked, sugared candied pecans from Pinterest (since they don't burn at 300 degrees F.) and are yummy - - use just a few or a few more!

    I found myself making a salad every day once I had all the ingredients on hand. That's a miracle for me!!!

    Any chance there could be a "Print" function added to the recipe portion of this page? I'll be coming back. THX!!

    1. Chef in Training

      Yes, so sorry about that! Print feature is now included on the recipe card :)

  28. Carmen Daly


    This salad is wonderful! How many calories would you estimate this salad is?

  29. Lynds

    Wow, preparing this for guests this week-end

  30. Lynda


    This is my FAVORITE salad - making it tonight!