A pear salad recipe featuring mixed greens, red pears, goat cheese and candied walnuts. Served with an easy, homemade apricot-balsamic vinaigrette.
Life is so busy. So full of to-do’s and growing lists, it can be difficult to find a moment to stop and smell the roses. Especially if you are a mom, squeezing in as many chores and errands as possible between Mother’s Day Out and elementary school drop-off and pick-up times. You see, those hours are solid gold, and to sacrifice just one is that — a sacrifice.
On rare occasion, the stars align, and somehow my girlfriends and I have managed to check enough boxes that week to stop and smell the roses together. Allowing ourselves to sacrifice an hour of to-do’s, and trade it in for some quality time in the form of a lunch date. We typically commemorate the occasion by treating ourselves to an elegant lunch featuring an upscale menu.
When I finally get the chance to make it into one of these establishments, I typically know what I’m going to order before I even walk through the door. I know my favorites, and I’m nothing if not loyal. However, I’ve often found myself tempted by the pear salad, as it seems one friend or another is always raving about it. Unable to bear the thought of sacrificing an established favorite for a wild card, I would remain curious about the pear salad — until now.
In the safety of my own home and a case of menu item FOMO far behind me, I went to work to create a pear salad that simply could not disappoint.
The salad is simple, consisting of few ingredients, yet boasting big flavor. For the bed of the salad, mesclun (or spring greens) was just right. This provided a lovely touch of color and also a mild enough salad base to let the pear shine through.
Many pear salads call for blue cheese, but I’ve found while blue cheese and pears are a classic pairing, goat cheese is less overpowering and doesn’t completely mask the flavor of the pear.
Honey coated walnuts (click here for recipe) add another note of sweetness to the salad, gave it the perfect added crunch and worked beautifully alongside both the pear and the goat cheese.
Lastly, the dressing — quite possibly one of my favorite parts. The dressing is savory-sweet, consisting of store-bought apricot jam, tangy balsamic vinegar, freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ginger. It is simply put, heavenly.
So I guess in the end, I can see why there was so much hype surrounding the pear salad after all. A simple and understated fruit, that easily transitions into a masterpiece when combined with the right ingredients.
The next time the stars align and the ladies and I are able to break for a moment together, I’ll likely be requesting their presence at a private luncheon, and it will be my privilege to treat them to one of their restaurant favorite’s in the comfort of my own home. Please, enjoy.
A pear salad featuring goat cheese, honey walnuts and an apricot-balsamic vinaigrette.
- 3 tablespoons apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch Kosher salt
- Pinch ground ginger
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 6 cups mesclun or mixed baby greens
- 3 small red pears, sliced (ripe, yet slightly firm)
- 1 cup honey walnuts, chopped (store-bought or see recipe link above)
- 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
In a small mixing bowl, combine jam, vinegar, honey, nutmeg, salt, and ginger, and whisk to combine.
Slowly drizzle in the canola oil, whisking all the while. Set aside until ready to use.
Combine lettuce, sliced pears, 2/3's of the walnuts and 2/3's of the goat cheese in a large serving bowl and toss to combine.
Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and goat cheese, serve and enjoy.
Recipe makes about a 1/3 cup of dressing.