Pear Pomegranate Salad

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This seasonal Pear Pomegranate Salad starts with mixed greens tossed with candied pecans, fresh Bartlett pears, pomegranate arils, sweetened dried cranberries, and feta cheese. Drizzle the delicious raspberry poppy seed dressing (made with real raspberries) over this salad and enjoy!

 

BEST HOLIDAY SALAD! An easy to make and delicious side salad -- candied pecans, pears, pomegranates, dried cranberries, and feta cheese with a simple incredible raspberry poppyseed dressing. via chelseasmessyapron.com

Overhead image of Pear Salad with dressing drizzled over it.

Pear Pomegranate Salad

Over the past few years, this salad has been a holiday favorite at our home — we wouldn’t imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without it!

And while it’s certainly not only reserved for special occasions, it is a show-stopping salad that makes the perfect complement to a big holiday ham or turkey.

I’ve never served this salad without someone asking where on earth these pecans came from and what is in that dressing! The dressing is made with real raspberries and definitely steals the show on this Pear Pomegranate Salad.

Process shots-- images of the pecans being candied.

Candied Pecans

For Pear Pomegranate Salad, I recommend making the candied pecans a day or two in advance. By preparing them in advance they’ll have plenty of time to cool, harden up a bit, and the salad will come together easier and quicker the day you plan to serve it. This is especially helpful if you’re preparing a holiday meal.

The recipe I share below for candied pecans makes a mid-sized batch and yields more than you need for Pear Pomegranate Salad. Sugaring the pecans works best with this volume, but don’t worry– leftovers store very nicely! Freeze leftover candied pecans for up to 2 months or in the pantry for 2-3 weeks. Use leftover pecans as a snack, or as a topping for Yogurt BowlsAcai Bowls, or another salad recipe.

For a larger batch of candied pecans and more details on storage, I have a full post dedicated to candied pecans

Overhead image of the salad compartmentalized with each ingredient in its own spot.

Pear Pomegranate Salad Shortcuts

  • Candied pecans. As mentioned above, the candied pecans can be prepared ahead of time, which definitely seems like a shortcut when it’s time to assemble everything. That said, you can buy already candied pecans at the grocery store.
  • Pomegranate. Buy pre-seeded pomegranate arils (See “quick tip” below)
  • Pears. If you don’t have access to fresh, ripe pears, use some canned (in 100% juice) pears and thinly slice those for the salad.
  • Dressing. Prepare the dressing 1-2 days in advance to save time at assembly. Once it has been blended up, transfer the dressing to a Mason jar and keep in the fridge. Stir it well before drizzling over the Pear Pomegranate Salad. If you don’t have time to make the dressing from scratch, a good alternative is mixing together (in equal parts) good-quality store-bought poppyseed dressing with a store-bought raspberry vinaigrette. 

QUICK TIP

Already seeded pomegranate arils are typically sold in small plastic cups in the produce section of the grocery store. They can sometimes be tricky to find and are usually only sold in the US from October to February.

Up-close overhead shot of the dressing being poured over the pomegranate part of the salad.

Let’s talk pears

Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree; once they’re picked, they ripen and sweeten as their sugars develop. Some pears change color when they’re ripe (a Bartlett pear is like a banana — it goes from green to yellow when it’s ready to eat!).

To check the ripeness of a pear, gently press the area around the stem of the pear with a gentle squeeze. If it gives a little, it’s ready to go!

For optimal texture in Pear Pomegranate Salad, wait until the pear is ripe — crunchy unripe pears aren’t ideal.

Overhead image of Pear Salad showing the pears and dried cherries with dressing over them.

Pear Pomegranate Salad Variations

  • Use dried tart cherries in place of the dried cranberries.
  • Swap feta cheese for goat cheese, or simply leave out the cheese altogether.
  • Swap candied pecans for honeyroasted almonds.
  • Use Fuji or Honeycrisp apples in place of the pears.
  • Swap the raspberry dressing for a lemonpoppy seed dressing (recipe in this Quinoa Apple Salad)
  • Add some protein by tossing in some cooked and cooled quinoa or some leftover shredded chicken.

Overhead image of Pear Salad about to be tossed and served.

Pear Pomegranate Salad Storage

This salad doesn’t sit or store well once it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten soon after; otherwise, the raspberry dressing wilts the greens, the pears will brown, and the pecans will soften.

If making this Pear Salad in advance, store all the components of the salad separately and slice the pear and assemble right before eating.

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Pear Pomegranate Salad

5 from 9 votes
This seasonal Pear Salad starts with mixed greens tossed with candied pecans, fresh Bartlett pears, pomegranate arils, sweetened dried cranberries, and feta cheese. Drizzle the delicious raspberry poppy seed dressing (made with real raspberries) over this salad and enjoy!
Print Recipe

Pear Pomegranate Salad

5 from 9 votes
This seasonal Pear Salad starts with mixed greens tossed with candied pecans, fresh Bartlett pears, pomegranate arils, sweetened dried cranberries, and feta cheese. Drizzle the delicious raspberry poppy seed dressing (made with real raspberries) over this salad and enjoy!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, thanksgiving
Keyword Pear Pomegranate Salad
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side salad
Calories 571kcal
Cost $8.12

Ingredients

Candied Pecans -- See Note 1

  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups (1 pound) pecan halves

Salad

  • 1 bag (6-8 ounces or about 8 cups; 180g) fresh spring mix (baby lettuce & baby greens)
  • 1 cup (177g) pomegranate arils
  • 3/4 cup (99g) dried sweetened cranberries or dried tart cherries
  • 2 large Bartlett pears thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (49g) feta cheese optional

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons (43g) red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (do not use regular mustard)
  • 1/2 cup (70g) frozen raspberries completely thawed
  • 1/2 cup (104g) vegetable oil (canola or olive oil will work)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Instructions

For the candied pecans

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, water, and vanilla until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Add pecans to egg whites and stir to coat the nuts evenly. With a slotted spoon, remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar and cinnamon mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring and tossing every 15 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Coarsely chop about 1/2 cup for the salad.

For the salad:

  • Very thinly slice the pears. In a large bowl, add the spring mix, pomegranate arils, dried cranberries, pears, and feta cheese.

For the dressing:

  • Combine all of the ingredients except for the oil and poppy seeds in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined. Slowly add in the oil in a steady stream. Blend until emulsified and smooth.
  • Stir in the poppyseeds. This dressing is supposed to be pretty thick -- when you toss it with the salad it does thin out a little with the juices from the salad ingredients.
  • Toss the dressing and candied pecans with the salad. Only dress and add pecans to what you will eat because leftovers don't save well. You can store the salad, pecans, and dressing separately for delicious leftovers!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This recipe for candied pecans will yield more than you need for Pear Salad. Sugaring the pecans works best with this volume; leftovers store nicely! Store leftover candied pecans in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months or in the pantry for 2-3 weeks. 
Note 2: Nutritional profile does not include the candied pecans, as that can vary based on how much you add.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 654mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 78g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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23 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    You are doing great work. I love reading your blogs and articles, I am a die-hard follower of your work. Thanks for giving so much knowledge to the readers through your inspiring words.

  2. 5 stars
    The salad was a hit at my work Turkey Day lunch! Everyone went “nuts” over the candied pecans and the salad bowl is empty. I will be making it for a Sunday lunch and for next Thursday. Hope to post a pic before they devour those salad.
    Thanks for a great recipe! Best, Patricia

    1. Fresh is fine too! 🙂 Usually in the winter I’ll use frozen because they are (typically; at least where I’m at) sweeter than fresh.

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