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When I think of the end of the year and the holiday season, I tend to think of the colors red and green, and the appearance of spiced foods and drinks everywhere. Today we’ll be coming both of those into a simple pear and pomegranate winter salad with candied pecans.
What is a Pear and Pomegranate Salad?
A pear and pomegranate salad combine the mellow flavors of pears with the tanginess of pomegranates to create a vibrant side dish (both in how it looks and tastes).
The Challenge with Pomegranates
The main challenge with this pear and pomegranate salad recipe is getting the seeds out of the pomegranates. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to fill a mixing bowl about a third of the way up with water. You will then want to cut the pomegranate in half through the equator (not through the stem).
Then, break open each of the sections by hand in the water. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the water and the pithy white parts will all float. You can then drain off the inedible parts and strain the water so you are just left with the seeds.
If your local grocery store sells containers of just the pomegranate seeds (like mine does), I highly recommend saving yourself some time and buying the seeds this way.
Flavor Additions and Alternatives
Here are some flavorful additions you can add to this pear and pomegranate salad recipe:
- Meats: Our salad recipe below is vegetarian, and if you want to make it more of a standalone meal, some protein will help. I recommend bacon or smoked chicken or turkey
- Alternative cheeses: Goat cheese is a really light and tangy alternative, and shaved parmesan will give a fruitier and sharper flavor.
- Alternative nuts: Cashews are a really underrated sweet and buttery nut that work great in this salad. Almonds, paired with a little vanilla extract, can work nicely, especially if you pair this salad with a white wine that contains vanilla notes. If you’re adding meat to the dish, walnuts are a great option.
What Pairs with a Pomegranate and Pear Salad?
This salad goes really well with roast poultry, so if you are doing a turkey or chicken, or even pork carnitas, this is a great side. This salad also makes a great option for leftovers if you are getting tired of turkey sandwiches. Just shred or cut some pieces of meat into the salad and you can eat it as an entire meal.
- Baking sheet and foil or parchment for pecans
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Knife and cutting board for pears
- Mixing bowl for salad
- Something to mix dressing in
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon clove
- 1/4th cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4th cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 dash of Italian herb seasoning
- 4 cups spinach
- 2 pears
- 1 pomegranate
- ½ cup feta cheese
Make candied pecans
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- On a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet, mix together nuts, sugars, and spices
- Add honey and mix to coat the pecans
- Bake for 10 minutes and watch closely to ensure they do not burn
- Set aside
- Add apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and Italian herb seasoning into mixing vessel
- Mix vigorously until well combined
Make pear salad
- De-seed pomegranate
- Wash pears and spinach
- Place spinach into bowl
- Slice pears
- Add half the pears, half the pecans, half the pomegranates, and half the cheese to the bowl with the spinach
- Drizzle dressing into salad (if you prefer to have your dressing pre-mixed within the salad)
- Toss salad
- Top the salad with remaining ingredients and serve