Pear Salad – Plant-Based on a Budget


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This easy vegan pear salad tosses sliced pears, nuts, cranberries, and mixed greens in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette—a classic appetizer or side dish you can pair with everyday family dinners or extravagant holiday meals!

pear salad in a large bowl.

Crisp and Refreshing 6-Ingredient Pear Salad

Sliced pears are the star of the show in this easy pear salad recipe. Tossed with tart dried cranberries, crunchy nuts, and mixed greens, then dressed in a store-bought or homemade balsamic dressing, it’s delightfully refreshing and so easy to put together!

Whether you need an elegant appetizer or a quick yet healthy side dish for weeknight dinners, this salad has you covered. Plus, you can customize it based on the season! Make it comforting and hearty during fall and winter with roasted squash or sweet potatoes, or add asparagus or juicy tomatoes during spring and summer for an extra refreshing twist.

Just toss the 6 simple ingredients together in 15 minutes and enjoy. You can pair pear salad with all of your favorite vegan dishes, like lasagna, lentil and sweet potato soup, tempeh sandwiches, and beyond.

Looking for more salads featuring fresh fruit? Try apple pecan salad, Mexican fruit salad, and strawberry kale salad.

Ingredients and Substitutes

ingredients for pear salad with labels.
  • Mixed greens: You can use any mixed greens you like! Keep things simple with a store-bought spring mix, add a peppery bite with arugula, or make the salad extra refreshing with spinach, romaine, or Boston lettuce. 
  • Pears: We like this salad with Bartlett and Anjou pears best because of their firm texture and sweet-tart flavors. When shopping, look for pears that feel firm but have a slight give when you press on the skin.
  • Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice prevents the pears from browning. 
  • Cranberries: Dried cranberries add a pop of color and a tart sweetness to the salad. If you don’t have cranberries on hand, you can use raisins, currants, or dried cherries instead.  
  • Nuts: Use any kind of nut you like! Walnuts, pecans, or almonds are all delicious choices that will add a nice crunch factor as well as healthy fats. For a sweeter flavor, feel free to use candied walnuts or pecans instead!
  • Balsamic vinaigrette: You can use store-bought or make your own balsamic dressing. 

What Else Could I Add?

There are loads of add-ins you can throw into this salad. Here are a few options:

  • Pickled red onions: Their sweet and tangy flavor would complement the sweetness of the pears very well. 
  • Grains: For a heartier meal, toss the salad with cooked and cooled couscous, quinoa, or wild rice.
  • More veggies: Sliced carrots, fennel, celery, cherry tomatoes, or diced cucumber would all add flavor and texture here. During fall and winter, feel free to add roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin.
  • Vegan cheese: Top the salad with vegan parmesan or vegan feta right before serving.
  • More fruit: Replace half of the pears with sliced apples for an apple pear salad. Or, for a summery pear salad, add sliced strawberries, raspberries, or mandarin orange segments. 
  • Seeds: For even more crunch, top the salad with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or sunflower seeds. 

How to Make Pear Salad

  • Core and slice the pears.
  • Toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice.

Slice the pears with a sharp chef’s knife or a mandolin for even slices. They should be thin, but not too thin, or else they’ll snap.

a pile of pear slices.
  • Combine the salad greens, cranberries, and nuts in a large salad bowl.
  • Before serving, pour some of the dressing over the greens and toss to coat.
a salad tossed in balsamic dressing in a large bowl.
  • Add half of the pears to the bowl with the greens and toss to coat in the dressing.
  • Add the remaining pears on top of the greens, top with a sprinkle of salt, and pour 2 tablespoons of the remaining dressing over top.

FAQs

Do I have to peel the pears before slicing them?

It’s up to you! We like leaving the peels on because they add a nice color contrast. However, if you prefer to eat pears without the peel, feel free to peel them ahead of time.

Can I make this salad nut-free?

Absolutely. Simply omit the nuts or replace them with seeds to make this pear salad nut-free.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Seek out ripe pears: We recommend buying the pears for this salad 2 to 3 days in advance. This way, if they’re too firm or not quite ripe, they have time to ripen and soften. If you need the pears to ripen quickly, place them on the kitchen counter or in a paper bag with an apple or a banana for 1 to 2 days.
  • Do not slice the pears too thin: Slice the pears to an even ¼ inch thickness. Any thinner and they’ll likely break when you’re tossing the salad. 
  • Dress just before serving: For the best results, wait to dress the salad until right before serving. Letting the greens sit in the dressing for too long will cause them to wilt.
close up on pear salad in a large bowl.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this refreshing salad as an appetizer or side dish alongside:

Storage Instructions

It’s best to store this pear and walnut salad separately from the dressing to prevent the greens from becoming soggy. Keep the salad and dressing in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

pear salad in a large storage container.

More Refreshing Vegan Salads

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

  • To a large bowl, add the salad greens, cranberries or raisins, and nuts of choice. Mix well and set aside.

  • Core and slice the pears to a bit more than a ¼ inch of thickness. Do not slice too thin or the pear slices will break. Add the pear slices into a bowl and squeeze the lemon. Toss to coat well. This will help slow down the browning of the pears.

  • When ready to serve, add ¼ cup of dressing to the bowl and mix well. Place half of the pears in the bowl and gently toss.

  • Add the remeing pears on top of the salt and garnish, drizzle two tablespoons of dressing over the salad and serve.

  • Seek out ripe pears: We recommend buying the pears for this salad 2 to 3 days in advance. This way, if they’re too firm or not quite ripe, they have time to ripen and soften. If you need the pears to ripen quickly, place them on the kitchen counter or in a paper bag with an apple or a banana for 1 to 2 days.
  • Do not slice the pears too thin: Slice the pears to an even ¼ inch thickness. Any thinner and they’ll likely break when you’re tossing the salad. 
  • Dress just before serving: For the best results, wait to dress the salad until right before serving. Letting the greens sit in the dressing for too long will cause them to wilt.

Calories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 3gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 553mgPotassium: 331mgFiber: 7gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 3570IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 119mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Method: No cook

Diet: Vegan


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