How to Make Pear Salad

Photo by KAFILAT IYIOLA in Unsplash

Making pear salad is so easy, you can have it for breakfast, lunch, a side dish, or a snack in minutes. It is also a perfect appetizer. You could even make it into a hearty meal for dinner if you add some meat or other protein to it. Whenever you serve it, make sure you keep it chilled until you are ready to eat.

With a mixture of fresh sweet pears, mixed greens, shaved parmesan, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and the nutty flavor of candied pecans tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, this is a pear salad recipe you will want to save. Copy our recipe card so you have it on hand the next time you want a sweet and healthy dish.

If you love pears, this is the perfect salad for those with food allergies because it is gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegetarian. You can add or remove whatever you like or do not like and use sliced pears, cut pears, or halved pears. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and can be served immediately. This is one of those great recipes you can serve during the holiday season or any time at all.

Other serving ideas

  • You can use different kinds of cheese such as gorgonzola cheese, cheddar cheese, crumbled goat cheese, or whatever you like.
  • Toss in a handful of pomegranate seeds or pumpkin seeds for extra crunch, flavor, and nutrients.
  • If you cannot find fresh pears anywhere, you can use canned pears. However, they are soft and difficult to slice. Use canned pear halves and chill them first for easier slicing.
  • Instead of balsamic dressing, you can use whatever you like.
  • Feel free to add your favorite fruits like dried cherries, raisins, mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
  • Try other nuts instead of pecans like chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, or cashews.
  • For a southern pear salad, use pear halves with toasted pecans and a maraschino cherry on top. Lay each pear half on a bed of lettuce to make it a true Southern classic.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best pear for this pear salad recipe?

Any firm, ripe pear will work for this salad. However, we have found that the best choices are Bosc, Anjou, or Bartlett Pears. It usually depends on what is in season where you live. Or, why not use several different varieties in your pear salad for a mix of flavors?

How do you choose the freshest pears?

To figure out if a pear is ripe, gently squeeze it. When you choose pears, a fresh pear should have a bit of give but be mostly firm. Try to avoid overly soft pears because they can become mushy. A ripe pear is easier to find if you look for seasonal pears at your grocers or farmers’ market. Be sure to know what kinds of pears are in season and when.

What are some good salad dressings to try with this salad?

This absolutely delicious salad really does not even need dressing. But if you want to use something different than our balsamic vinegar dressing, try blue cheese, ranch, or a cream cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil combination. Some people just use a bit of maple syrup or honey or even a dollop of cottage cheese on top.

How do I store my leftovers?

Put your leftover pear salad in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. As long as you keep it chilled and covered, it will stay fresh for several days. If you know you are going to have leftovers, do not add the dressing to your salad. Keep that in a separate container so it does not make everything soggy. Freezing salads is not recommended.

What are the nutrition facts in this salad?

If you are concerned about nutrition, calories, and fat, this is not an unhealthy dish. It only has 445 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat per serving. The carbs are about 35 grams, sugar is 27 grams, cholesterol is 25 mg, and sodium is 482 mg. The healthy parts include 199 units of vitamin A, 4 grams of fiber, 1 mg of iron, and 8 grams of protein as well as 4 mg of vitamin C, 258 mg of calcium, and 135 mg of potassium.

Tips and tricks

  • Do not forget to add salt and pepper to taste.
  • For best results, do not peel your pears. They will hold their shape better with the peeling left on.
  • Getting thinly sliced pears is much easier with a mandoline.
  • Another trick to easier pear slices is to chill your fresh pears before slicing. If you are using canned pears, chill them even longer.
  • You can serve this salad in a large salad bowl and then set out the salad dressing in a small bowl so guests can get how much they want.
  • Add a large bowl of greens like baby kale, butter lettuce, baby spinach, and even shredded lettuce for those who want to add their own greens.
  • You can change the dressing ingredients to suit your tastes and preferences.

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