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The Savory Side of Chocolate, Part One: Spinach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette

There is no debating chocolate’s popularity. That heavenly mixture of cocoa, butter and sugar is adored worldwide. Glossy, dark confections perfectly lined up in a handsome box; a warm, flaky croissant with a sweet dark center; Grandma’s gooey, fudgey, kick-ass triple layer cake — all delectable, decadent goodies made with chocolate.
Research tells us that chocolate is good for us — at least the cocoa part — so why not incorporate that mighty bean into something besides a sweet treat? Celebrate the savory side of chocolate and make Spinach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette. Olive oil, rice vinegar and a good quality chocolate make for an interesting flavor statement when paired with spinach, dried tart cherries and sautéed pears.
Expand your chocolate horizons and incorporate that illustrious cocoa bean into something besides dessert.

Spinach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette Recipe

chocolate-salad-ingredients

Coarsely chop 2 ounces of good quality semi-sweet chocolate. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until softened. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

chopped chocolate

Whisk together ¼ cup rice vinegar and ½ cup olive oil. Stir in 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk in the melted chocolate; add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Core and slice 2 red pears. Sauté pear slices in 2 teaspoons butter until soft but not mushy. Set aside.

sauteed-pears

Wash and stem 6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves. Toss with ½ cup dried tart cherries and ½ thinly sliced red onion. Divide onto four plates and arrange sliced sautéed pears on each salad.

chocolate-salad

Drizzle with chocolate dressing.
Check back tomorrow for another savory take on chocolate! —Karen

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