This Pear and Pecan Salad is full of fresh, seasonal flavors and a variety of textures. It’s exactly the fall or winter salad you’re looking for whether it’s for a holiday dinner or to accompany a weeknight meal.
Table of Contents
About this salad
With the perfect pairing of flavors and textures a salad can turn for average to marvelous with the correct ingredients and this Pear and Pecan Salad achieves just that. With nutty pecans, juicy pomegranate seeds, and sharp onion, there’s an adventure for your tastebuds in each bite.
This salad also features fresh pears that are in season in the cooler months making it the perfect salad to accompany your Thanksgiving or Christmas spread. It’s a light and elegant recipe that will pair well with any main dish.
Elegant, however, does not mean difficult. This Pear and Pecan Salad comes together in just 10 minutes. It’s also gluten free and dairy free, so it can easily be shared amongst your guests without modifications.
- 50/50 Spring Mix - A nice blend to serve as the base of our salad.
- Red Onion - For bitterness. If you want less of that strong flavor, dice the onion finely. For more of the onion flavor, cut in slices.
- Pecans - I like honey roasted pecans for extra sweetness, you can also use candied or sea salted depending on preference. If you really like pecans, double the amount.
- Medjool Dates & Dried Cranberries - Sticky and sweet elements to add to the salad.
- Pomegranate Seeds - A burst of flavor and a fun texture to add to the salad.
- Bartlett Pears - The star of the salad. You want these soft and ripe.
- Pear Vinaigrette - This is a simple dressing recipe I highly recommend you make for this salad!
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and variations
- Switch up the fruit. Instead of pears, try apples, strawberries, or blackberries.
- Use a different nut. Skip the pecans and use slivered almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts.
- Change the base. Instead of mixed greens try spinach or kale alone.
- Add cheese. This Pear and Pecan Salad is dairy free as is, but cheese would be a wonderful addition for extra flavor and texture. I suggest gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese.
- Pick your favorite dressing. If you don’t want to make the Pear Vinaigrette from scratch, you can use store bought, but I’d recommend something light. A simple red wine vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing is what I would reach for.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Prepare the ingredients prior to building the salad. Wash and thinly slice pears, removing the stems. Slice or finely dice the red onion how you prefer it. Chop dates into small, bite-sized pieces, and then if needed, remove the seeds from the pomegranate.
2. Then, in a salad bowl, add the lettuce/spring mix blend to the bottoms.
3. Then layer each of the remaining salad ingredients on top: diced red onion, pecans, dates, pomegranate seeds, and dried cranberries. Optional: also add your favorite cheese to the salad.
4. Add the sliced pears last.
5. Drizzle the Pear Vinaigrette on salad and toss together. Enjoy!
This salad is best served fresh and isn’t a great meal prep option. If you do have leftovers, store it without the dressing in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Saving for much longer and the pears will become brown and mushy and lettuce will be soggy.
The perfect pear is determined by feel and not by color since there is a wide variety of colors that pears come in. To determine ripeness, gently squeeze near the stem end of the fruit.
If there is slight give but no breaking of the skin, the pear is perfectly ripe. If the skin does break, the pear is likely over ripe and it may be best to use it in a dressing, jam, or freeze it to use for smoothies.
On the other hand, to ripen pears quickly, you can place them in a sealed brown paper bag on the counter for 1-2 days. Move them to the refrigerator once they’re soft to preserve them until you're ready to use.
If you don’t want to make the Pear Vinaigrette from scratch, you can use store bought, but I’d recommend something light. A simple red wine vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing is what I would reach for.
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Pear and Pecan Salad
- Salad bowl
- Cutting Board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 bag 50/50 spring mix/leafy lettuce blend
- ¼ cup red onion
- ¼ cup honey roasted pecans
- 6 medjool dates
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 2 barlett pears
- ¼ cup pear vinaigrette, *see linked recipe
- cheese, optional
- Prepare the ingredients prior to building the salad. Wash and thinly slice pears, removing the stems. Slice or finely dice the red onion how you prefer it. Chop dates into small, bite-sized pieces, and if needed, remove the seeds from the pomegranate.
- In a salad bowl, add the lettuce/spring mix blend to the bottoms. Then layer each of the remaining salad ingredients on top: diced red onion, pecans, dates, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, and fresh pears. Optional: add your favorite cheese to the salad.
- Drizzle Pear Vinaigrette on salad and toss together. Enjoy!
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