Fruit can add so much texture and flavour to a salad, without adding a lot of extra calories, which is why we love this Easy Pear Salad. This hearty and flavourful salad is a bed of mixed greens, topped with roasted sweet potato, slices of pear and sprinkled with pecans and feta.
This salad really does have it all, but it's easy to adapt too. Crunchy pear and roasted sweet potato on top of leafy greens and all tossed together in a homemade balsamic dressing for some extra sweetness. It makes a great winter salad. If you are new to fruit in salads, then a pear salad is a good place to start. Serve a big portion as a main meal, or divide it up as a side to chicken or fish.
Why you will love it
- A hearty and filling salad
- Fruit adds lots of flavour to salad without lots of calories
- Easy to adapt
- Can be a main meal or a side.
- Pear - The star of this salad. We have given lots of tips below on how to choose the best pears, so you get the most out of the salad.
- Sweet potato - This helps to make the salad nice and filling. You could swap it for white potato, or even butternut squash.
- Olive oil - Try to use the best quality olive oil that you can, as you really will be able to taste the difference in the dressing.
- Balsamic vinegar - As with the olive oil, try to use a really good quality one. Cheap balsamic tends to be really thin.
- Mustard - We used a good quality Dijon mustard for the dressing, however you could swap it for wholegrain.
- Honey - Honey and pears go so well together, and it adds a nice sweetness to the dressing.
- Salad leaves - The great thing about a salad, is that it is easy to adapt - especially with the salad leaves. We used a butterhead and spinach mix, however you can use your favourite mix. Rocket (arugula) will add a nice peppery flavour.
- Feta - Cheese and pear are delicious together and we think the creaminess of feta is perfect for this salad.
- Pine nuts and pecans - These add a lovely crunch to the salad. You can swap them for your favourite nuts and seeds.
Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6.
One: Put the cubes of sweet potato onto a baking tray and add the oil. Mix well and bake for 25 minutes, stirring once.
Two: Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing.
Three: Put the salad leaves in a large bowl and add the dressing. Mix well.
Four: Top with cooked sweet potato and slices of pear and then sprinkle over the feta, pecans and pine nuts.
What pears to use?
You can use any type of pear you like, or have available, to make this salad. However it is important that the pear is nice and ripe, as it will give the salad plenty of flavour, but still firm so they can be sliced. The pear should have a bit of give when squeezed, but anything softer will make a mushy salad.
If your pears aren't quite ripe yet, then you can speed up the ripening process by putting them in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana or apple at room temperature and it should ripen in a couple of days.
What else can I add?
This is a really easy salad to adapt, but at the same time you don't want to have too many flavours competing against each other. If you want to add more sweetness, then you could put some apple slices with the pears. Or, you could add some strawberries or pomegranate for sweetness too.
Feel free to mix up the greens that you use too. We used a bag of mixed salad greens, but you could use a mix of spinach, kale, rocket and butterhead.
Roasted sweet potato adds lots of sweetness and texture to this, however you could use regular white new potatoes or roast up some butternut squash. You could also swap the feta for blue cheese or shaved parmesan and the pecans for walnuts.
A salad dressing can really make or break a salad and this dressing definitely makes it. Although this is already a sweet salad, we have made it that little bit sweeter with a balsamic dressing. I would recommend using a vinaigrette, like a balsamic or lemon one, rather than a creamy dressing, as they don't tend to go as well with the pear.
What to serve it with
This is a pretty hearty and filling salad as it is, but if you wanted to add some protein to it, then some leftover Slow Cooker Whole Chicken would work, or just grill up and slice some chicken.
If chicken isn't your thing, then grilled salmon or cubes of roasted tofu would work.
The great thing about this salad is the crisp pears. If you store it to eat later, the pears can go a little soft and the greens can go soggy. So, it's best to eat it straight after making it. However you could eat any leftovers for lunch the next day.
The dressing could be made in advance though, and stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
More salad recipes
Easy Pear Salad
- 110 g (1 cups) Sweet potato - peeled and cubed
- 3 tablespoon Olive oil
- 2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Honey
- 100 g (3.5 oz) Mixed lettuce leaves
- 2 Pears - thinly sliced
- 50 g (0.33 cups) Feta - crumbled
- 2 tablespoon Pine nuts
- 10 Pecans - crumbled
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
- Put the cubes of 110 g Sweet potato on a baking tray and add 3 tablespoon Olive oil. Mix well and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring once.
- Mix together 2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon Honey and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper to make the dressing.
- Put 100 g Mixed lettuce leaves in a large bowl and add the dressing. Mix well.
- Top with cooked sweet potato and slices of 2 Pears and then sprinkle over 50 g Feta, 10 Pecans and 2 tablespoon Pine nuts.
- You can swap the feta for blue cheese and the pecans for walnuts.
- Feel free to mix up the greens used. Rocket, spinach, kale and butterhead all work well with this.
- If you want to make this a more filling salad, then leftover shredded chicken works well with it.
- Although the salad is best made fresh, you could make the dressing in advance and it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- A sprinkling of dried cherries or cranberries would be a good addition to this salad.
- Add some extra colour by using different coloured pears.
- Take this salad to the next level by adding candied pecans rather than regular pecans.
- Add some finely diced shallot to the dressing for extra flavour.
- Cut the pears and dress the salad right before serving to avoid the pears browning and the salad leaves getting soggy.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.