Spinach Salad with Spiced Pecans, Apples, Sweet Potatoes, and Goat Cheese

The Fall and Winter is a great time to receive leafy greens in New England, but it's also a time when you crave warm, comforting food...so sometimes salads aren't the first thing you think about making for dinner.  This salad, however, was a great way to use our leafy greens--in this case spinach--but still satisfy our comfort food craving.

Spinach Salad with Spiced Pecans, Apples, Sweet Potatoes, and Goat Cheese.

The only recipe I used for this meal was for the spiced pecans, which I'll post below.  This was a really simple salad to throw together, and delicious!  We thinly sliced a sweet potato and tossed it in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roasted the potatoes in the oven until tender.  We then tossed spinach with thinly sliced apples and the roasted sweet potatoes, and lastly topped it all off with goat cheese and spiced pecans--and dinner was served!

Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans
From Bon App├ętit

3 tbs. light corn syrup (could use Agave nectar as substitute)
1 1/2 tbs. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. (generous) freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c. pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 325 deg F.  Lightly cover baking sheet with vegetable oil.  Combine corn syrup and next 4 ingredients in large bowl.  Stir to blend.  Add pecans; stir gently to coat.  Transfer to baking sheet.

Place large piece of foil on work surface.  Bake pecans 5 minutes.  Using fork, stir pecans to coat with melted spice mixture.  Continue baking until pecans are golden and coating bubbles, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to foil.  Working quickly (if you use corn syrup, you really do have to work very quickly!), separate nuts with fork.  Cool.  (Can be made 3 days ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.)

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