Delicious pear salad with pecans

This beautiful Pear Salad is the salad of your dreams. It’s an exercise in contrasts, pitting sweet pomegranate against salty shallot and pungent gorgonzola against tangy pears. Toss it with a tart poppy seed dressing and top it with toasted pecans, and it becomes utterly delicious. While cramming our faces, I kept saying something about how delicious it was. Rarely does the salad steal the show at the dinner table. If you cook this, it will end up on your table, too.

Ingredients for this refreshing pear salad

This pear salad is a riot of color from all the fresh fruit and vegetables. You can prepare it whenever you have deliciously ripe fruit, but it’s best in the fall and winter when pears are in season. In addition, it works wonderfully during the holiday season. The ingredients for this dish are as follows:

  • Pears
  • Shallot
  • Pecans
  • Salad mix
  • For information on how to cut a pomegranate and extract its seeds, read the related article.
  • Gorgonzola cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese, or no cheese at all if you’re a vegan.
  • Poppy seed condiment

A Guide to Pear Ripening

The most challenging aspect of working with pears is the lengthy ripening time required. It’s a little odd, given that they appear to be perfectly edible at first glance and have a similar appearance to apples. In terms of ripening, they are more like bananas. How to ripen pears? Here are some suggestions:

  • Ripening pears in a paper bag is the quickest method. They will be ready in about two to four days if you leave them out at room temperature.
  • Pears take four to seven days to ripen when left in a basin on the kitchen counter. You can tell if the meat is ready by giving it a gentle push.
  • Keep pears out of the fridge until they are fully ripe before storing them there. Because of the refrigerator, ripening is delayed. They will become rock solid in the refrigerator. If you want to delay eating them, wait until they are fully ripe before putting them in the fridge.

Preparing a poppy seed dressing from scratch

We think the poppy seed dressing is what really makes this pear salad stand out. The sharp acidity and sudden burst of sweetness in this dressing make it a vinaigrette. White vinegar and sugar are the finishing touch this salad needs to really shine. Here’s the deets on this sauce:

  • Grapeseed oil is neutral, therefore you can use that. The result is the most delicious and emulsified mixture. Half olive oil and half neutral oil is a good compromise if you’re an olive oil fan.
  • Try some vinegar. White vinegar, not white wine vinegar, is the greatest choice here because of its clean, sour taste.

A salad of pears and gorgonzola (or feta or goat cheese).

The salty sharpness of gorgonzola and the sweet earthiness of pears make for a classic flavor combination. Many people find blue cheese to be too pungent for their tastes. Fortunately, this pear salad complements every kind of cheese. We recommend it with gorgonzola, but if you’re not a fan, try it with these other cheeses instead:

  • Skewered feta
  • Sheep cheese
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Romano cheese, or Pecorino
  • A wedge of Asiago
  • Specifically, Manchego cheese

Pear salad for a large gathering

This pear salad can be presented in a number of ways, including on a platter or individual plates. Some tips on how to present it to a large group:

  • For a large group, you should use twice as many fresh ingredients. Doubling the fresh ingredients should give you enough dressing for two recipes.
  • Put on a dish and pass around. A big tray of the pear salad looks really festive and colorful.
  • As an alternative, you may plate the food. Prepare separate servings and sprinkle each with roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing.

Quick Glances


For the pear salad

  • Half a cup of chopped pecans 1 ripe pear
  • 8.4 ounces of baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup of cranberry seeds
  • 1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese (omit if vegan).

For the dressing (makes ¾ cup; use approximately 6 tablespoons for 4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup of sugar (or honey, if you like)
  • vinegar, white, 1/4 cup
  • 1 tsp. of ground mustard
  • A pinch of dried onion flakes
  • salt, kosher, 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or other neutral oil, such as organic vegetable or canola)
  • Poppy seeds, one tablespoon


  • Prepare the condiment: All you need to do is combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, dry mustard, onion flakes, and kosher salt in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the grapeseed oil a tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until a smooth emulsion develops. Toss in some poppy seeds and stir. If not serving right away, store in an airtight container or jar (bring to room temperature before serving) until needed.
  • Get the new stuff ready: Make paper-thin discs out of the pear. Slice the shallot very thinly. For guidance on slicing a pomegranate and extracting its seeds, check out the corresponding HowTo article.
  • Toasted pecans, if possible: Put the nuts in a skillet without any oil and cook them over medium heat. For about 4 to 5 minutes, while shaking the pan and turning often with a wooden spoon, heat the nuts until they are fragrant and somewhat deeper in color. Don’t leave the stove, or the nuts will burn quickly. Take it off the stove or oven right away and place it on a dish to stop the cooking process.
  • To serve, arrange the greens on a serving dish. Sprinkle crumbled gorgonzola cheese, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pecans over sliced pears and a shallot. Serve with a drizzle of dressing (about 6 tablespoons for 4 servings; save leftover dressing in the fridge).

download this article + recipe in pdf format