Pear pecan arugula salad is one of my favorites for the holidays. It can be made with any greens and topped with any dressing, but I prefer arugula or romaine lettuce when I make it. You can also make it with a mix of arugula and romaine, rather than choosing one or the other.
I enjoy the sweetness of the pecans or walnuts in this salad, which are “candied” or covered in a brown sugar glaze. The tanginess and sweetness of an occasional bite of dried cranberry and the mix of textures make this a delightful salad! It has soft pears, chewy greens and cranberries, and crisp pecans or walnuts. It’s also very pretty on the table, whether you serve it on one large platter or on individual salad plates.
If you haven’t roasted nuts before, it’s a very easy thing to do before starting your salad, and takes only 8 minutes or so. Once you have roasted your pecans or walnuts, you can also candy them, or coat them in melted brown sugar. The instructions for candying the nuts are in the recipe, but if you want a lower sugar salad, just use the roasted nuts plain and skip the candying step.
I always prepare a bowl of lemon water for putting sliced pears in while I wait to add them to a recipe. This keeps them from starting to turn brown or getting dark spots on them before they are served. The lemon in the water keeps them looking good until you are ready to eat them.
I’ve included optional toppings in the recipe. Experiment and see what you and your guests like best!
You might also enjoy these salad recipes:
Cucumber Asparagus Salad with Vinaigrette
Grape Avocado Arugula Salad & Vinaigrette
Warm Asparagus Walnut Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing
Pear Pecan Arugula Salad
A beautiful salad with a tasty combination of flavors and textures, that can be made easily and quickly. Perfect for the holidays!
8 minutes to roast the nuts
To coat the nuts in brown sugar:
In a small skillet, add 1/4 cup brown sugar, a splash of water, and a pinch of salt (optional). Heat until the sugar has dissolved completely and is bubbling.
Add in the pecan or walnut halves. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat immediately. Spoon the coated nuts onto parchment paper and spread out to cool.
Once the nuts have cooled, break most of the nut halves into smaller pieces, leaving some of the halves intact to top the salad. Set aside.
To prepare the pears:
After washing the pears and removing any bad spots from the peeling, cut each pear in half. Use a spoon to remove the center core and a knife to remove the threads from the core to the stem.
In a small to medium bowl, prepare 2 cups or more of water by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Stir to blend.
Using a sharp knife, cut the pears into thin slices, dropping them into the lemon water as you go. Once both pears are sliced, set the bowl aside.
To assemble the salad:
On a serving platter or on individual salad plates, arrange a layer of the arugula.
Using the broken nut halves, sprinkle them all over the salad. Sprinkle with dried cranberries, too.
Layer the pear slices evenly over the salad top, then sprinkle all over with cracked black pepper.
Drizzle the salad with olive oil and squeeze lemon juice all over, or serve with your favorite dressing on the side.
Top each individual salad or platter of salad with cranberries and the unbroken pecan halves in the center of each salad. For extra sweetness, sprinkle a tiny amount of brown sugar over the entire salad. Vegan parmesan is also a nice addition!