Ripe, juicy pears and peppery rocket (arugula) pair perfectly in this lightly dressed, fall-themed pear and rocket salad. So easy to make, beautiful, and perfect for the holiday table.
I often find myself craving something light and fresh in the fall. I guess there's only so many heavy casseroles and soups my body can take before it starts screaming for lettuce.
And this pear and rocket salad is exactly what my body was craving last weekend. We ate it as a meal with a baguette on the side and it was perfection.
So let's talk about this salad.
Depending on where you are in the world, you might call these greens "arugula" rather than rocket. Regardless, these are some of the most flavorful salad greens you can get. Rocket has a nutty, peppery flavor that pairs perfectly with sweet ripe fruit like these pears.
You can definitely substitute other greens like spinach, spring mix, or baby kale if you prefer milder greens. Or go with a combination of your favorite tender greens for a custom mix.
I used Bartlett pears this time, simply because they were the best-looking ones at the grocery store this time. Any pear will work, so use your favorite! Bosc or Anjou work great.
I let these ripen for a couple of days on the counter since they were a bit hard when I got them. For a little extra crunch, use them when they're still on the firmer side.
Salty shaved Parmesan, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries round out the ingredients in this salad.
I like to use a swivel peeler to get those thin Parmesan shavings, but a sharp knife works too. Other nuts and dried fruits can be substituted.
How to Make a Pear and Rocket Salad
- Start by mixing up a simple white wine vinaigrette. If you prefer to tame the tang and like a sweeter dressing, add an extra teaspoon of honey, or try the maple vinaigrette that goes in this fall apple salad (one of my absolute favorite dressings).
Whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt and pepper. White balsamic, champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic can be used in place of the white wine vinegar.
- In a small dry skillet, toast the pecans over medium-low heat, tossing frequently, for 5 minutes or so, until lightly browned.
- Thinly slice a small red onion and put the slices in a small bowl of cold water. This is optional but helps tame the harsh flavor of the onion.
- Thinly slice a couple of pears. I like to do this as close to eating time as possible because they pears oxidize (brown) quickly once cut.
- Drain the onions and combine them with the rocket. Toss with dressing to taste.
6. Distribute the salad between bowls. Arrange the sliced pears, toasted pecans, and cranberries on top, and shave some Parmesan over everything.
Pear and Rocket (Arugula) Salad
- 7 ounces rocket AKA arugula
- 2 pears thinly sliced*
- ¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion soaked for 5 minutes in cold water (optional)*
- ⅓ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup pecan halves
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- fresh ground pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- Toast the pecan halves in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly browned.
- In a large bowl, combine the arugula and red onion. Toss with dressing to taste.
- Divide salad between plates and top with pear, toasted pecans, and cranberries. Shave some Parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.
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