smoked gouda and asparagus salad

I used to hate smoked gouda. It’s tough for that real smoky flavor to win me over in a lot of foods, and gouda was no exception.

Then one day I went to a work meeting where lunch was provided. Anyone who works in an office can tell you how hard it is to turn down free food. Scratch that — anyone who is breathing can tell you how hard it is to turn down free food.

Amongst the usual turkey sandwiches and chips was a salad, and not just your usual boring iceberg lettuce with some shredded carrots and cabbage on top. Fresh cut asparagus. Crunchy candied pecans. A sweet-but-not-cloying cinnamon dressing. And, yes, smoked gouda. My world will never be the same.

Smoked Gouda Salad

Smoked Gouda and Asparagus Salad

1 bag spring mix
1 cup blanched asparagus, chopped
1/3 cup roasted red peppers in water, drained and chopped
1/2 cup candied pecans
Smoked gouda cheese, chopped, to taste

Mix cooked asparagus, red peppers, pecans and gouda cheese with spring mix. Top with honey-cinnamon vinaigrette (see below).

Honey-Cinnamon Vinaigrette
Adapted from Southern Living

1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil

Whisk first five ingredients in a bowl (vinegar through salt). Continue to whisk and add oil slowly.

Oliver approves of this salad.