Need a salad that’s a little different from the usual bowl of greens? - Try this arugula pear salad. With a delicious mix of sweet pears, crunchy walnuts, creamy Manchego cheese and a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette, it’s perfect for both weeknights and holiday meals!
Need a simple salad that’s more than just a bowl of greens? How about one that’s easy enough for a weeknight meal but also elegant enough to serve for special occasions? Then this arugula pear salad is what you need.
Ideal for the fall and winter months when pears are at their peak, this arugula and pear salad is filled with peppery arugula, sweet pears, crunchy walnuts and creamy Manchego cheese. (If you enjoy pairing cheese with fruit and nuts then you’ll love this salad!) Tossed with a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette it makes a wonderful addition to any fall or winter meal. It would also be a nice accompaniment to your Thanksgiving or holiday meal but with how easy it is to make, there’s no reason to save it just for the holidays.
What kinds of pears are best for salad?
The best kind of pears for salads are those that are ripe but still a bit crisp. Over-ripe pears risk being mealy and turning to mush in a salad so it’s better to opt for a slightly under-ripe pear. Any variety will do but I tend to prefer Bosc pears for this pear and arugula salad because they hold their shape well when tossed with the greens and have a firmer texture than a Bartlett.
(Here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. As always find the full list of ingredients and directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Pears – I like Bosc pears best for this salad but any variety will do, just make sure they are crisp (see above – What kinds of pears are best for salads).
- Arugula – The naturally peppery flavor of arugula contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the pears but you could also use mix of arugula and spinach or arugula and mixed baby greens if you’d like.
- Manchego Cheese – Large shavings of Manchego cheese add a creamy/salty element to the salad. If you’ve never had it, Manchego is a semi-firm cheese made in Spain from sheep’s milk. Look for a Manchego that’s been aged 6 months for a creamy texture with a nutty finish.
- Walnuts – Lightly toasted walnuts bring a toasty, nuttiness to the mix along with the right amount of crunch.
- Dried Cherries – Chopped dried cherries add sweet/chewy pops of flavor.
- Honey Mustard Vinaigrette – You’ll need white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and a shallot to make this simple homemade vinaigrette.
- Lemon Juice – A squeeze of fresh lemon juice helps prevent the pears from turning brown.
How to Make an Arugula Pear Salad:
(Here are the basic steps and some helpful tips on how to make the recipe. Find the full directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- You’ll start by toasting your walnuts at 350 degree F until golden (about 3-5 minutes).
- Then you’ll whisk together the vinaigrette and let that sit while you slice your pears. Once your pears are sliced toss them with a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning while you make the rest of the salad.
- Chop your cherries, shave your cheese using a vegetable peeler and you are ready to combine everything.
- Add the arugula and pear to the vinaigrette and toss gently to combine before plating the salad and adding the rest of the ingredients before serving.
Easy to make and filled with contrasting tastes and textures this pear arugula salad will quickly become a new favorite!
- Use a variety of pears for different tastes and textures.
- Swap out half the arugula for spinach or mixed baby greens.
- Use toasted pecans, almonds or pine nuts instead of walnuts.
- Use cranberries, dates or raisins instead of cherries.
- Use Pecorino instead of Manchego.
With a delicious mix of sweet pears, crunchy walnuts, creamy Manchego cheese, and a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette, this arugula pear salad is perfect for both weeknights and holiday meals!
- ¼ cup/30g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon/15ml white wine vinegar
- ½ a shallot, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon/5ml Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon/5ml honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pears (preferably Bosc), sliced into wedges
- 1 teaspoon/5ml fresh lemon juice
- 6 ounces/170g arugula
- 2 ounces/56g Manchego cheese, thinly shaved
- ⅓ cup/40g dried cherries, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place walnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast for 3-5 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
- Toss pears with the lemon juice then combine the arugula and pears with dressing until well coated.
- Divide salad onto 4 plates with an even number of pear slices per plate and top each with Manchego cheese, dried cherries and toasted walnuts before serving.
Use different varieties of pears.
Use half arugula and half spinach or half arugula and half mixed baby greens.
Use toasted pecans, almonds or pine nuts instead of walnuts.
Use cranberries, dates or raisins instead of cherries.
Use Pecorino instead of Manchego.
Salad is best served immediatly. Dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in fridge until needed.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 5g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.