Blackberry Salad

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Show-stopping Blackberry Salad is brimming with sweet candied pecans, crisp pears, juicy blackberries, salty feta cheese, and a homemade creamy poppy seed dressing.

Overhead view of Blackberry Salad, drizzled with poppy seed dressing, ready to eat.

Blackberry Salad

Blackberry Salad is a stunning dish that tastes even better than it looks! It’s got all the right flavors, textures, and the perfect creamy dressing to finish it all off. 

We enjoy this salad as a side dish, but it can be made into a main course meal by adding in some protein. Grilled and chopped chicken, thinly sliced steak, or even some lentils or quinoa would add plenty of protein and make it filling enough for a full meal. In fact, one of our favorite ways to enjoy Blackberry Salad is with some shredded rotisserie chicken added in.

Overhead views of the blender jar: adding ingredients into the blender; processing until smooth; adding in the poppy seeds; and pouring the finished dressing over the salad.

Blackberry Salad tips

  • When serving Blackberry Salad for a party, event or holiday meal, I recommend making the candied pecans and dressing a day or two in advance. This makes the final assembly a breeze! It’s also a good idea so the pecans have sufficient time to harden and the dressing has a chance to thoroughly chill and for the flavors to intensify.
  • Use a good mayonnaise for the dressing; the better the mayo, the better the dressing will taste. I love Hellman’s/Best Foods® (not sponsored) since it has a rich flavor without being overly sweet or tangy.
  • If you aren’t able to find fresh or ripe pears at the store, use whole canned pears and drain them. Thinly slice and use in the salad.
  • Speaking of ripe pears, you can test a pear for ripeness by applying gentle pressure near the stem end. If there is a slight give, it is most likely ready to be sliced and added to the salad. And if you can’t smell any sweet pear-ness, it probably isn’t ready to use.
  • If you have a fresh lemon on hand, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the pear to keep it from browning too quickly. Here are a few more tips for preparing the pears.

Views of thinly sliced pears; washed and dried blackberries; the salad with feta cheese added; the final assembly of the salad.

How to use leftover candied pecans

Since it’s a bit impractical to make a tiny batch of candied pecans for this salad, I include the directions for making about one pound of them. You can certainly half the recipe or purchase pecans that have already been candied (or sugar roasted) at the store.

Below are some of our favorite ways to use up leftover pecans from this Blackberry Salad:

You can store leftover pecans in the freezer (in an airtight container) for up to 2 months. They only need 10-15 minutes at room temperature to thaw enough to eat. (At room temperature, candied pecans last for up to 2 weeks stored in a cool and dry space.)

Overhead view of Blackberry Salad with poppy seed dressing.

Blackberry Salad storage

Blackberry Salad doesn’t sit or store well once made. Once you assemble it, plan to eat it soon; otherwise the dressing wilts the lettuce, the pears begin to brown, and the pecans soften.

If you make Blackberry Salad in advance, store all the components separately. Slice the pear and assemble the salad right before eating.

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Blackberry Salad

5 from 3 votes
Show-stopping Blackberry Salad is brimming with sweet candied pecans, crisp pears, juicy blackberries, salty feta cheese, and a homemade creamy poppy seed dressing.
Print Recipe

Blackberry Salad

5 from 3 votes
Show-stopping Blackberry Salad is brimming with sweet candied pecans, crisp pears, juicy blackberries, salty feta cheese, and a homemade creamy poppy seed dressing.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword pear blackberry salad
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Calories 181kcal

Ingredients

Salad

  • 8 cups (5 oz; 145g) spring lettuce mix (8 cups is loosely measured)
  • 1 package (6 oz; 170g) fresh blackberries
  • 2 Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped candied pecans (recipe for a full batch below)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese

Poppyseed Dressing

  • 1/3 cup (72g) regular (full fat) mayo (I recommend Best Foods/Hellmans)
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: whole milk, heavy cream, white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds

Candied Pecans (Note 1)

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound pecan halves

Instructions

Poppyseed Dressing

  • Combine all of the dressing ingredients, except the poppy seeds, in a blender and process until combined. Taste and adjust any flavors to personal preference. If you'd like a sweeter dressing, add an additional 1-2 teaspoons white sugar. Stir in the poppy seeds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. (Dressing stays good for 1 week stored in an airtight container in the fridge.)

Candied Pecans

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the white sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg whites, vanilla, and water until frothy. Toss the pecans into this mixture and then remove, using a slotted spoon. Put the nuts into the sugar mixture and toss until well coated. Spread coated pecans onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until pecans are evenly browned. This takes about 45-60 minutes total. Let stand for 30-45 minutes to allow the pecans to fully cool and solidify. Coarsely chop for the salad.

For the Salad

  • In a large salad bowl, toss together the spring lettuce mix and fresh (washed and completely dried) blackberries. Thinly slice pears. Add to the salad.
  • Add the chopped candied pecans, goat or feta cheese, and the dressing. (You may not want all of the dressing on the salad, so add to personal preference.) Toss and enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Prep/cook time doesn't include the preparation of the candied pecans.
Since it's a bit impractical to make a tiny batch of candied pecans for this salad, I include the directions for making about one pound of them. You can certainly half the recipe or purchase pecans that have already been candied (or sugar roasted) at the store.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.7g | Protein: 2.2g | Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 12.1mg | Sodium: 134.8mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 12.4g

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5 Comments

  1. I’m trying to make your candied pecans, but I don’t see in the recipe how much water I’m supposed to use. It says to whisk the egg white, vanilla, and water, but it doesn’t indicate how much water.

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