This Pear Salad recipe is the perfect showstopping salad for potlucks, Thanksgiving and Christmas, or just plain delicious for everyday!
This Pear Salad will have everyone coming back for seconds with its tango of bright, tangy, fresh flavors and crunchy, creamy, crispy textures! It’s loaded with crisp pears, sweet and crunchy caramelized walnuts, punchy red onions, salty toasted pepitas, creamy feta, goat cheese or gorgonzola and sweet tart pomegranate seeds over a bed of fresh spring lettuce mix all drizzled with CREAMY Pomegranate Dressing! Of course, feel free to mix and match your favorite ingredients (loads of variations included). This Pear Salad recipe is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast and every potluck and company dinner in between!
Company worthy salads are one of my favorite recipes to bring to potlucks. Some of our favorites include: Apple Salad, Fall Salad, Beet Salad, Mandarin Orange Salad and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.
Same fabulous recipe, photos updated 10-19-22
How to Make Pear Salad Recipe Video
WHY YOU’LL LOVE This Pear Salad Recipe
This Pear Salad recipe was originally posted in 2014, my first year of blogging. It is SO fabulous, however, I decided it deserved a little photo makeover, in the hopes more readers will be enticed and rewarded with its deliciousness. Here’s why it’s still a favorite so many years later:
Special occasion worthy. Every Thanksgiving, holiday and special occasion deserves a stunning salad, a salad that can hold its own against the MVPs of the table. Enter this Pear Salad recipe! It’s a tango of tangy, sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy perfection from the pears, pepitas, pomegranate seeds, cheese, caramelized nuts and CREAMY dressing!
The Creamy Pomegranate Poppy seed Dressing. The crowning pièce de resistance is the guzzle-worthy dressing. It’s sweet and tangy and wonderfully creamy yet light at the same time. Its ingredients sound very odd, but I promise it’s swoon worthy, so please don’t skip!
Prep ahead friendly. Special occasions are all about recipes that can be prepped ahead of time, eliminating the last-minute stress. The dressing for this recipe can be made up to 5 days ahead of time, and the other ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and layered in the salad bowl (instructions included).
Extremely flexible. This Pear Salad would be delicious with any of your favorite greens, fruits, nuts or cheeses – just don’t skip the pears and sensational dressing 😉. I’ve included many recipe variations a few sections below.
INGREDIENTS FOR Pear Salad
All the very best salads include fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and cheese. This Pear Salad recipe includes every category and marries them all together with its bright, tangy, creamy dressing. Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe (full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
For the Salad
For the DRESSING
I know the ingredients for this Pear Salad Dressing seem odd, but please trust me! They create creamy, sweet and tangy seamless magic!
Pear Salad FAQS
You can use pretty much any type of pear for pear salad, as long as it is ripe but still firm. Avoid soft pears because they can get mushy or fall apart when tossed with the dressing. Some favorite pear varieties include Anjou, Bosc and Bartlett. Here is how they compare:
Anjou pears: are firm and mild-flavored with a thicker skin
Bartlett pears: are flavorful and juicy
Bosc pears: are crisp and sweet
For pear salad, use a pear that is ripe for maximum sweetness but not overly ripe to the point it is soft and will get mushy. Ripe pears should yield slightly when pressed – much like an avocado or mango. If your pears are ripening more quickly than you’d like, place them in the refrigerator to delay the process.
If you find yourself ready to make this pear salad in a couple days but your pears are still rock hard, speed up the ripening process by placing the pears in a paper bag with a banana, apple or kiwi, and fold the top of the bag over so it’s sealed. These fruits release a lot of ethylene which will trigger the ripening in the pears.
You can also speed up the process by placing the pears in a warm, sunny place. To speed up the ripening process further, place the brown bag with the pears and other fruit in a warm place.
How do you slice a pear for a salad?
Have you been slicing/chopping pears the easy or hard way? The most efficient way is to slice around the core, then cut the sections into slices. This creates uniform slices and a beautiful fan of pears. Here’s how:
1. Make 4 slices around the core to remove it.
2. Lay your 4 remaining pear segments, cut side down, on a cutting board.
3. Thinly slice, but not too thinly or the pears will fall apart when tossed.
HOW TO MAKE Pear Salad Recipe
This Pear Salad recipe is easy to make in 3 steps. The first two steps can be completed days in advance so the salad can come together quickly when ready to serve:
STEP 1: MAke the Dressing
Whisk all the Pomegranate Dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Make the dressing first so it has time to chill and for the flavors to meld.
STEP 2: Caramelize the Nuts
Add walnuts, sugar and butter to a nonstick skillet and stir constantly. The sugar will begin to clump around the nuts then will melt to envelop the nuts in a smooth buttery sugar coating. Immediately transfer caramelized nuts to parchment paper so they don’t continue to cook and burn. The caramelized nuts will harden as they cool. That’s all the effort required for the delightful sweet crunch that you will crave in every bite!
STEP 3: Combine
Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. If serving the entire salad immediately, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. If there might be leftovers, dress individual servings.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR making Pear SAlad
Pear Salad is very simple to make, but there are a few details to pay attention to:
possible recipe variations
As discussed, the Pear Salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions. You can add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits as long as you maintain a balance of sweet, tangy, and crunchy. Here are a few ideas:
This Pear Salad is a welcome addition to any table and goes with practically EVERYTHING! It makes a particularly delectable addition to any holiday or company mains such as Herb Butter Turkey, Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Honey Baked Ham, Garlic Herb Butter Pork Tenderloin, Pot Roast, Beef Tips and Gravy,and Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Roast Beef.
It also is wonderful with practically EVERYTHING else that graces your table from Garlic Butter Salmon, to Chicken Divan, to Bolognese, to Crockpot Chili to Million Dollar Mac & Cheese to Oven Fried Chicken.
CAN I MAKE PEAR SALAD AHEAD OF TIME?
This Pear Salad recipe can be made 100% ahead of time then just tossed together when ready to serve!
Pears: The pears can be sliced up to 24 hours ahead of time and soaked in a mixture of apple juice and lemon juice (detailed below).
Vegetables: The bell peppers, cucumbers and red onion can be chopped up to 24 hours ahead of time. Store veggies in separate airtight containers or in sealable bags with a paper towel so they stay fresh and crisp.
Nuts: The walnuts can be caramelized up to one week ahead of time and stored in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature. I often like to double the nuts for future use.
Dressing: The dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I actually recommend making the dressing ahead of time because it allows time for the flavors to build and meld. Dressing also tastes 1000X better chilled.
CAN I ASSEMBLE THE SALAD AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! If you need to bring the Pear Salad to a gathering, layer the ingredients in this order so it doesn’t get soggy, then toss when ready to serve:
–red bell peppers
HOW TO PREVENT PEARS FROM TURNING BROWN
The star of this Pear Salad are the juicy pear slices, so we want to keep them looking beautiful! My favorite way to keep pears and apples from oxidizing and turning brown after slicing is to put them in a bowl of apple juice with a generous splash of lemon juice. This way they don’t become bitter like soaking only in lemon juice can do; no need to rinse the pears with this method.
If you only have lemon juice on hand, mix ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon and then toss your pears in the mixture for 10 minutes, then rinse before using.
How do I serve Pear Salad without it becoming soggy?
There are three ways to serve Pear Salad recipe, depending on whether or not you expect leftovers:
1. If you don’t expect or want leftovers: Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing just when ready to serve.
2. If you expect leftovers: Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Let individuals dress their own salads.
3. Create a salad bar: Line up the salad ingredients in separate bowls and let guests assemble their own salads. This works particularly well if you have guests with allergies or want to offer additional toppings like shrimp, chicken, etc.
HOW LONG DOES THIS SALAD LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
The Pear Salad with ALL the ingredients is best served within one hour because the spring mix lettuce will become soggy. If you hold the dressing, the salad can last up to two days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I recommend layering per above instructions if making ahead of time.
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Pear Salad with Creamy Pomegranate Dressing
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- 10 ounces spring salad mix
- 2 pears, sliced or chopped (Anjou, Bosc or Bartlett are great)
- 3/4 English cucumber, chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted pepitas (may sub. sunflower seeds)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (may sub ⅓ cup dried cranberries)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat cheese or Gorgonzola
- 1 recipe caramelized nuts <<click for recipe (I use walnuts) (may sub roasted/not candied pistachios)
- 1 5.3 oz. container Pomegranate Greek Yogurt (I use Chobani)
- 3 tablespoons Asian Sweet Chili Sauce (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (depending on how tangy you like it)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Whisk all of the salad dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl. Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the salad. (Dressing can be made and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance.) Once chilled, adjust to taste, if desired, by adding honey for sweeter or vinegar for tangier.
- Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. If serving entire salad immediately, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. If there might be leftovers, dress individual servings.
- Customize the salad. The salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions. See the post for LOTS of variations. You can add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits as long as you maintain a balance of sweet, tangy, and crunchy; if you swap out an ingredient, replace it with something with a similar flavor profile and texture.
- Cherry yogurt: Cherry Pomegranate by Fage is also great. If you can’t locate either, substitute with cherry, strawberry or raspberry yogurt, adjusting the vinegar and/or adding honey as needed.
- Asian Sweet Chili Sauce:The addition of Asian Sweet Chili Sauce to your salad dressings is a game changer! This ingredient is sweet and tangy with a kick but will NOT make the salad spicy or taste remotely like an Asian dressing. You can find it the Asian section of your grocery store; I use Mae Ploy brand.
Prep AheadThis Pear Salad recipe can be made 100% ahead of time then just tossed together when ready to serve.
- Pears: The pears can be sliced up to 24 hours ahead of time and soaked in a mixture of apple juice and a splash of lemon juice; no need to rinse. Another option is to toss them for 10 minutes in a mixture of ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon, rinse then dry.
- Vegetables: The bell peppers, cucumbers and red onion can be chopped up to 24 hours ahead of time. Store veggies in separate airtight containers or in sealable bags with a paper towel so they stay fresh and crisp.
- Nuts: The walnuts can be caramelized up to one week ahead of time and stored in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature. I often like to double the nuts for future use.
- Dressing: The dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I actually recommend making the dressing ahead of time because it allows time for the flavors to build and meld. Dressing also tastes 1000X better chilled.
- Assemble ahead: If you need to bring the Pear Salad to a gathering, layer the ingredients in this order so it doesn’t get soggy, then toss when ready to serve:
- pomegranate arils
- red bell peppers
- red onion
- salad mix
- caramelized nuts
- crumbled cheese
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