This simple Arugula, Pear and Pecan Salad combines slightly bitter arugula, sweet pears, and crunchy pecan flavors for the perfect weekday light meal!
We all love a quick salad. This Arugula, Pear and Pecan salad is made from fresh ingredients and simple techniques. It combines fresh peppery and slightly bitter greens (rocket/arugula) with sweet and juicy pears, and some pecan nuts for added crunch. Topped with crumbled goat's cheese and a simple sweet honey vinaigrette, this salad is bursting with refreshing flavors!
This no-fuss vegetarian salad is perfect for a light weekday lunch or dinner or as a starter or side for your guests. The best part is that it comes together in just under 15 minutes and is loaded with fresh, nutritious ingredients!
What is Arugula?
Arugula, also known as rocket, rucola, Italian cress, or roquette, is a type of green edible herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It's commonly used in salads, baugettes, and pasta dishes. Arugula resembles lettuce, but is actually a member of the mustard family. In fact, the taste of arugula is most often described as slightly bitter, spicy, and peppery.
This type of herb is very low in calories and a good source of Vitamins A and C. Arugula is also rich in potassium and Vitamin K.
Ingredients and Variations
As with most salads, the ingredients for this Arugula, Pear and Pecan Salad are very flexible and can be substituted with other similar ingredients which may be available or in season.
Arugula - Also known as rocket or rucola, there are many types and varieties available for this leafy green herb. Feel free to choose any variety that is available to you as long as the leaves are fresh and dark green (avoid yellowing leaves).
If rucola is not available to you, you can also substitute with spinach, kale, watercress, or chard.
Pear - Pears come in endless varieties and sizes. As with arugula, you can choose whatever is available and to your liking. Try to choose firm pears and avoid over-ripe pears for this recipe. The amount required depends on the size of pears you chose and your personal tastes.
For this recipe, I opted for Coscia pears which are small in size, sweet, and juicy. You can leave the skin on or remove it, as you please. You will need to cut the pears in half and core them, then thinly slice them.
Pecan Nuts - Adding nuts to salad give an extra crunch and a nutritious boost. If pecan nuts are not available, you can substitute these with walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts.
Cheese - I'm a big fan of cheese in salads and goat's and feta cheese are my favourite go-to's. For a low calorie option, choose low-fat cheese. For a vegan option, use vegan cheese or eliminate it completely.
Other vegetables - For this salad, I also added sliced purple onion and radish. I love the flavor combination and vibrant colors that these two add to the salad. Feel free to toss in other vegetables such as other leafy greens, corn, or cucumber.
Honey Vinaigrette - For the honey vinaigrette dressing, you will need good quality extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and honey.
For a vegan option, use vegan-friendly mustard instead of Dijon mustard and maple syrup instead of honey.
How to Make Arugula, Pear and Pecan Salad
This salad requires less than 15 minutes of hands-on time and no special cooking techniques.
Simply slice the onion and radish (or cut any other vegetables accordingly) and toss them in salad bowl with arugula and pecan nuts.
Top the salad with crumbled goat's or feta cheese and drizzle with honey vinaigrette.
To make the honey vinaigrette, mix honey, balsamic vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Then, add olive oil and stir very well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over your salad.
CAN I MAKE THIS SALAD AHEAD?
Yes. This arugula salad with pears keeps well when stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for 2-3 days.
If not serving immediately, store in a refrigerator until serving. If the salad looks dry, mix in a tablespoon of olive oil before serving.
Note: Pears will start to brown when exposed to air, although this won't affect their taste/quality. To prevent browning, squeeze some lemon juice over pear slices before adding to the salad, especially if making ahead.
CAN I USE OTHER VEGETABLES AND TOPPINGS IN THIS SALAD?
Yes! Feel free to use whatever salad vegetables are in season, available, and to your liking.
If you love ham, you can add a few slices of parma ham or prosciutto which pair beautifully with both pears and arugula (as in this Prosciutto, Brie, and Arugula Bruschetta).
CAN I MAKE THIS VEGAN?
Yes, this recipe can be easily adjusted to be vegan-friendly. For the salad itself, substitute goat's cheese with vegan cheese, or eliminate it completely.
For the vinaigrette, use agave or maple syrup instead of honey and use vegan-friendly mustard (since Dijon mustard is typically not vegan).
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Arugula, Pear and Pecan Salad
Arugula, Pear and Pecan Salad
- 150 g fresh arugula leaves rocket/rucola leaves (approx. 6 cups, or 5 oz)
- 2-3 fresh pears or 4 small (Coscia) pears, thinly sliced in wedges
- 75 g goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup) see notes for vegan
- 3-4 tbsp. pecan nuts coarsely crushed
- 1 small purple onion thingly sliced in rings
- 4 radish thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. honey see notes for vegan
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vingear
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard see notes for vegan
- 60 mL extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Thinly slice purple onion (into rings) and radish. Core and slice pears into thin wedges.
- Place rocket, onion, and radish and toss to combine. Top with sliced pears, crushed pecans, and crumbled goat/feta cheese. Drizzle with honey vinaigrette and serve.
- Honey Vinaigrette: Mix honey, balsamic vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Add olive oil and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad.