This show-stopping PearSalad starts with mixed greens lettuce and is loaded with juicy, ripe pears, sweet dried cranberries, candied walnuts, tart red onion, and gorgonzola cheese. A robustly-flavored apple cider vinaigrette tops this salad.
Keyword pear salad
Prep Time 25minutes
Candied Walnut Time 2hours
Total Time 2hours25minutes
Servings 6-8 as a side
Author Chelsea Lords
8cups (5.5 oz.; 163g)mixed greens (baby lettuce and baby greens)
2large pearsSee Note 1
1/3cup (50g)thinly sliced red onionSee Note 2
2/3cup (87g)dried sweetened cranberries
1/3cup (40g)crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2tablespoons (30g)apple cider vinegar
1/4cup (46g)extra virgin olive oil
1tablespoonpure maple syrup
1/4teaspoonFine sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon cracked pepper
Candied Walnuts (or buy store-bought) See Note 3
1pound walnut halves & pieces
1/2cuplight brown sugar,lightly packed
1/2teaspoonfine sea salt
1large egg whites (discard egg yolk or reserve for another recipe)
1/2tablespoon EACHvanilla extract and water
CANDIEDWALNUTS: Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line an extra large sheet pan (or 2 sheet pans) with parchment paper (or a silpat liner) and set aside. In a very large bowl, whisk the egg whites, vanilla, and water together until frothy. Toss walnuts in the egg white mixture until well coated. Right on top of everything add the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir gently to coat all the walnuts until well coated. Spread coated walnuts onto a baking sheet. Walnuts shouldn't be overlapping. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, flipping and stirring the walnuts every 15 minutes. Allow walnuts to stand for 30 minutes to an hour to fully cool and solidify. Coarsely chop about 1 cup to add to this salad.
DRESSING: Add all ingredients to a Mason jar, cover with the lid, and vigorously shake to combine. Taste and adjust for personal preference on seasonings (salt and pepper). Refrigerate until ready to eat and shake once more before dressing the salad.
SALADASSEMBLY: Add mixed greens, thinly sliced pears, thinly sliced red onion, candied walnuts, and dried cranberries to a large salad bowl.
DRESS THE SALAD: Drizzle the dressing only on what will be enjoyed the same day. (Once dressed, this salad doesn't sit well.) Toss salad to coat in dressing. Add the gorgonzola cheese (add more to personal preference). Toss once more and serve salad immediately.
MAKE AHEAD/STORAGE: If you want to prepare this salad in advance or store leftovers, I recommend measuring out and then storing ingredients separately in plastic bags or small containers and tossing them together right before serving. The one ingredient I don't recommend preparing more than an hour ahead of time is the pears (they will brown). The dressing can be made (and stored) in a Mason jar 2-3 days in advance. Shake up to re-combine before topping the salad. (If the dressing hardens or clumps, this is totally normal -- it's just the olive oil solidifying at cold temperatures. Let the dressing stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes and then shake it up and it's ready to go!)
Note 1: 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!Note 2: You can dice the onion or thinly slice. To take away the "bite" of the red onion (make it milder): submerge the sliced or chopped onions in a bowl of cold or ice water. Let them sit for at least ten minutes, stirring 2-3 times, and then drain and use in this salad.Note3: This recipe for candied walnuts will yield more than you need. Sugaring the walnuts works best with this volume; leftovers store nicely! Store leftover candied walnuts in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months or in the pantry for 2-3 weeks.