A tasty salad that combines pears and greens — a match made in heaven!
Nothing says hello to summer like this delicious hearty pear salad — because summer means pear season!
It’s made with grilled chicken, arugula, soft sliced pears, feta cheese, walnuts and a simple elderberry vinaigrette. Your taste buds are going to go crazy for this combination.
This recipe is SO versatile (like most of my recipes) — if you don’t like arugula, just switch it for greens you favor. Not a fan of walnuts? Swap them for pine nuts or pecans. You’d prefer goat cheese over feta? Go ahead!
The choice is yours!
A Salad That Fills You Up
This isn’t a side salad — it’s a legit dinner salad. Meaning you don’t need anything else to go with it. The grilled chicken and nuts check the protein box, so you’ll feel full and satisfied!
The pears give that perfect balance of sweetness, and the feta cheese helps bind all the different flavors together.
Not to mention the glorious elderberry vinaigrette that we’ll toss this salad in. The flavors and textures will even convert a non-salad type of person. I’m not playing — it’s that good.
Pears, Absolute Perfection
I looove pears! They’re one of my favorite fruits. It’s something about the sweetness — perfectly balanced yet still crisp and satisfying. Absolute perfection!
Not only do pears taste amazing, but they’re also fantastic for your body. Here are a few reasons why pears are so good:
- High in fiber: Pears are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help improve digestion, reduce the risk of heart disease and help with weight management.
- Low in calories: Pears are relatively low in calories, making them a great snack option for people trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Packed with nutrients: Pears are rich in vitamins C and K, as well as minerals like copper and potassium.
- Helps lower cholesterol: Pears contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels in the body.
- Boosts immunity: Pears are a good source of antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system and protect against chronic diseases.
Overall, pears are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can provide a variety of health benefits. Don’t overlook these powerhouses!
How to Tell if a Pear Is Ripe
Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen adequately on the tree. They ripen after they’ve been harvested and rested.
You know a pear is ripe when you gently push on the skin and it’s slightly soft. Too soft means it’s overripe. Too hard means it needs to sit out a little longer.
If you’re waiting for a pear to soften, don’t put it in the fridge! This stops the ripening process. On that note, if your pear is perfectly soft, but you’re not ready to eat it, you’ll want to put it in the fridge so it doesn’t go bad.
Elderberry Vinaigrette: A Tasty Way to Support Your Health
This is my favorite salad dressing EVER! It’s ridiculously easy to make at home with only five ingredients — and the twist of elderberry will keep you coming back for more!
I’m so picky about my salad dressing. It has to have the right balance of sweet and tangy, especially when it comes to a good vinaigrette.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands. Because when you want an easy and fresh dressing… you head to the kitchen and whip it up yourself! Right? If you’re shaking your head no, don’t worry — it’s effortless to make.
Here’s why you should make your own salad dressing:
- It’s fresh! Skip the preservatives and know without a doubt it’s fresh.
- It’s made with natural ingredients. This dressing is made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, organic elderberry syrup, garlic, salt and pepper. That’s it!
- Avoid any additives or thickeners. It’s crazy what’s being added to our foods nowadays. No, thank you!
- It’s cheaper! Inflation anyone? Whew! When buying the ingredients and making it yourself, you’re saving significant moolah in the long run.
- It’s super easy. No joke. In under five minutes and with just a handful of ingredients, you can whip up this delicious dressing. It will be the star of any salad you decide to drizzle it over.
After a few rounds of trial and error, I finally perfected this recipe and am so excited to share it with you. So let’s dive in, shall we?
Ingredients for the Best Pear Salad
As I was figuring out the combinations of ingredients for the perfect pear salad, I realized it needs to be both savory and sweet. But most importantly, it needs to be made with wholesome ingredients!
This recipe and these ingredients make one salad. So if you’re making a big bowl of this for the entire family, be sure to triple or quadruple the recipe — whatever you need to do to make enough for everyone.
Here’s what you’ll need for the main salad:
- One Pear: I love Red Anjou, but honestly… any ripe pear will work great.
- Arugula: Again, if you’re not a fan of arugula, switch it out with a spring mix or spinach.
- Walnuts: Pecans and pine nuts would be delicious too.
- Feta Cheese: The creaminess is downright dreamy. You can’t go wrong with a good goat's cheese, either.
- Grilled Chicken: We can’t forget what makes this salad turn into a meal! A simple grilled chicken with salt & pepper is all you need.
Now here’s what you’ll need for the Elderberry Vinaigrette:
- Olive Oil: It’s important to use high-quality olive oil (extra virgin & expeller pressed).
- Balsamic Vinegar: Look for aged balsamic vinegar.
- Dijon Mustard: Adds depth and flavor while acting as an emulsifier.
- Garlic Powder: Gives a nice light garlic flavor.
- Elderberry Syrup: Sweetens the dressing while also adding immune-boosting properties.
- Salt & Pepper: Always finish your dressing with these basic seasonings.
You’ll need one mason jar for the dressing and one bowl for your salad. Pretty simple, right?
How to Make This Pear Salad
You’ll want to start by grilling your chicken breast. You can season it with a little salt and pepper. I like to throw slices of lemon on my grill too, it adds a hint of lemon freshness to the chicken.
Once it’s done, set the chicken breast on a cutting board to rest.
Next, you’ll prepare the dressing by whisking together all ingredients into a small bowl or jar. If you use a jar, just put the lid on after adding all ingredients and give it a good shake.
Now it’s time to prep the salad.
Grab a good-sized plate and add your base of greens. Add sliced pears, feta cheese and walnuts over the top. Then slice your chicken (either cooled or still warm, your preference) and add it as well. Lastly, drizzle your salad with your elderberry vinaigrette and enjoy!
I find myself craving this fresh and fruity pear salad almost weekly. It’s that good. Pear-fection on a plate! Try it for yourself and see.
Here’s to happy cooking and joyful eating!
May your kitchen be filled with delicious aromas and your taste buds be forever satisfied. 💜
☀️ Looking for more summer recipes? Check these out!
- Elderberry Cherry Smoothie
- Healthy Elderberry Popsicles
- Elderberry Shortbread Bars
- Immune-Boosting Overnight Oats
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Elderberry BBQ Sauce