Easy Pear and Walnut Salad Recipe with Orange Dressing
HurryTheFoodUp is reader-powered. If you click through using links on our site we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
Sweet pears, crunchy walnuts and dried fruits lightly coated in a tangy mustard orange dressing make this pear and walnut salad a refreshing and colourful dish and the perfect combat to the January Blues it is!
It’s a bittersweet time of year. The Christmas buzz is fading away, happy memories mingling with dark, cold days and the next holiday’s still probably a long way off.
So I thought I’d take an easy salad to mirror the mood.
This pear and walnut salad is the perfect balance of two distinct types of flavour – we mix the naturally tangy, bitter taste of the rocket or lamb’s lettuce with the sweetness of pear and dried dates, cranberries or raisins, topped off with a hint of orange.
Oh, and let’s not forget the added texture and flavour those crushed walnuts bring to the bowl.
It also has a light and wintery taste to it to – perfect for brightening up chilly days or gloomy evenings!
Salad Dressing ingredients
If you’re feeling you’ve slightly overindulged during the holiday period (like most of us, I imagine), this vegetarian salad is a great way to get back to a better eating regime.
Boring salads suck and are a major turn-off, opt for something inviting instead. A dressing can make or break a salad – so how about one made of added balsamic cream, fresh orange juice, extra virgin olive oil and a little dijon mustard mixed together? Sounds (and tastes!) good to me.
You can also use stone ground mustard instead of the dijon if you wouldn’t mind a milder vinaigrette with tiny seed chunks, another citrus like lemon juice to give your pear walnut salad a sweet tang and any flavourful oil of your choice would be a good substitute for the olive oil
Don’t forget some salt and pepper to taste!
Fruits, nuts and greens
The more depth in flavour the ingredients of a salad have, the more exciting and tastier it becomes. That’s why I chose the bitter rocket to perk up the salad, rich-tasting crunchy walnuts to give it more texture, a nice ripe pear to add some sweetness and dried cranberries to give the salad that tart touch.
Make your salad with spinach, watercress or kale if you don’t fancy rocket and raisins or even sundried goji berries instead of those cranberries would still work wonders here. If you want to get creative, swap the sweet juicy pears for some crisp apples instead.
Either way, you should end up with a tasty, refreshing and easy bowl of salad filled with different textures and various flavours!
How many calories are in this pear and walnut salad?
This pear and walnut salad contains right about 201 calories and 3g of protein in each serving.
Here’s a full breakdown of the main nutrients in a portion of this salad:
- kcal 201kcal
- Carbs 31g
- Fat 9g
- Protein 3g
Vegan, healthy and refreshing? Seems like one heck of a deal for a ten-minute meal if you ask me!
If your body is feeling in need of a quick pick me up, then look no further than rocket (often known as rucola or arugula). It’s packed with a wide range of vitamins such as A, K and C, as well as all-important minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron.
Fresh pears are also a bit of a fiber beast – just one small pear contains nearly one-fifth of your fiber needs for the day and most people get nowhere near their recommended amount! Needless to say, having some pears is an easy way to add more fibre to your diet. It also helps against so many things, including heart disease, diabetes and even weight loss.
Yep, I know, it’s awesome.
Just as awesome as walnuts it seems, with a study showing that regular consumption of these flavour-rich and nutrient-dense bad boys leads to a decrease in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. And, that’s just one out of the many many health benefits walnuts provide.
With that tangy orange dressing, the arugula, pears and nuts – it’s safe to say this pear salad recipe checks all the boxes for what it takes to make a tasty, refreshing and colourful dish (it’s a pretty lovely summer salad recipe for those long warm evenings).
How to make the best pear and walnut salad
- For the dressing: Stir your oil, mustard, orange juice and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl with a dash or two of salt and black pepper.
- For the salad: Start off by giving your arugula a good wash and setting it aside before chopping your walnuts and cranberries into smaller bits. Next, dice the pears into teeny tiny bite-sized cubes before throwing all the chopped ingredients into a large bowl.
- Assemble: Pour your tangy balsamic vinaigrette into a salad bowl containing the pear slices, walnuts, cranberries and arugula. Give it a nice toss with a wooden spoon and… and that’s about it!
FAQs for pear and walnut salad
What nut goes best with pears?
Chopped pecans, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts are the nuts that go best with pears. Chop them into tiny bits and use them as a topping for freshly baked pears, as the garnish for some pear pie or tossed into a pear salad.
How do you cut pears for salad?
Pears can be diced into chunks or sliced into flat wedges for salads. I cut the pears into dice in this recipe, but you use sliced pears if you prefer them much thinner.
How can I make them ahead?
You can make this salad ahead by buying your pears ahead of time (so they can ripen a bit) and mixing the ingredients of your dressing and refrigerating the mixture in an airtight container. That should keep well for a day or two but I’d recommend prepping the fresh ingredients right before you have it as salads are best served fresh.
What goes with pear and walnut salad?
Serve this pear and walnut salad as a side dish to some pasta, casserole or lasagna to make your meal more wholesome, an appetizer to an entree or you could skip the main and have it on its own as a light lunch.
More pear recipes
Cinnamon Baked Pears – another pear and walnut favourite!
Breakfast Pear Crisp
Couscous Pear Salad with Goat’s Cheese
Cottage Cheese Salad
This pear and walnut salad is a beast of a fruit, leafy greens and nut mix and a certified banger for the holidays still to come. Try it out and don’t be scared to add your own unique spin to it. Tell us how it went in the comment section below and have a look at our other salad recipes and our low calorie salad dressings for more!
- 2 tbsp walnuts (crumbled)
- 1 pear
- 2 tbsp cranberries, dried
- 1 handful arugula/rocket
- ⅛ cup orange juice (½ orange)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the walnuts into smaller pieces.
- Dice the pear into small cubes. Think roughly the size of a quartered date.
- Chop the cranberries roughly.
- Throw all chopped ingredients and the washed arugula to the bowl too. Do make sure you wash the salad first, arugula often comes with a load of grit!
- Mix the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard and olive oil together. Chuck in a dash or two of salt and pepper.
- Stir into the salad. Serve. Done!
Some of my favorites in here: arugula, pears and walnuts…Love them! I would gobble this up for sure!
haha, it always makes me laugh that arugala is called rocket over there. Anyway, this salad looks delish! What does balsamic cream mean? This is different than balsamic vinegar?
I never knew it was called anything but rocket! 😀
Balsamic cream is a thick, sweet version of balsamic vinegar. It’s really nice. Is it not common your side of the pond?
No…never heard of it
I’m not sure if you’re in the US, but if you are then something like this is perfect 🙂 https://amzn.to/2x1YySc
It’s Balsamic Glaze
Aha! Good to know, thanks!
Haha! I’m feeling the same way and just posted a winter salad with arugula too. Great minds think alike! 🙂 This looks so perfect for a winter salad. I love the pears and walnuts and that dressing sounds amazing.
A friend of mine can’t get enough of Rocket, and me, I think you got it right when you said Must Taste dressing. Looks amazing!
what a delicious dressing. I love this mix.
walnuts and mustards – two of my go to salad ingredients lately! this sounds wonderful.
What a beautiful and healthy salad with all my favorite ingredients. Love the photos. Thanks for sharing!
It’s a gloomy & cold day here, but this salad sure would brighten it up! I love all the added citrus, especially paired with the bitter greens. Can’t wait to try this.
This salad looks delicious. I love rocket and I love the name too. Since moving to Canada I just can’t get used to calling it arugula, It will always be rocket to me!
I always forget about salads in the winter, but pear, walnuts and rocket sound like a January winner!
Such a gorgeous salad!! Love the walnuts and that orange mustard dressing sounds to die for! The colors are so vibrant and beautiful. I’d be really happy eating this! I absolutely love arugula too. Pretty shots too!
This salad sounds so delicious and fresh! _Love_ the sound of that orange mustard dressing. 🙂
It’s an awesome combo! 🙂
What a wonderful salad recipe! I could eat this all day!
Thanks Vanessa! We have been 😉
Ooh I love the sound of this salad, so light and fresh, but total winter flavours – yum!
Yep, exactly! It seems perfect for this time of year 🙂
What a great winter salad! I love the dressing! 🙂
What a great salad combo! Love it…I also have a box of home-grown oranges sitting in my kitchen!
Going to try this for thanksgiving. Does the recipe call for dried or prepared mustard?
You won’t be disappointed, I promise 🙂
Prepared mustard it would be. I never came across dried mustard to be honest.
How long can it be refrigerated?
Hi there Suki! Good to hear from you 🙂
Right, your main fridge problem here is the rocket/arugula. As soon as it has the juices/oils on it, it’s going to go soggy. So i tried and eat it within a few hours (for best taste). If you keep the argula out and only add it when ready to eat, the rest of the salad would keep for a good 48 hours or so. The pear would be kept ‘presevered’ by the vinegar and juice. It might be a little soft, but still very tasty :). I hope that helps!
Made this for Christmas Day dinner 2018 … really nice. Thank you.
You’re welcome Mary, glad you enjoyed. Merry Christmas!
I’d followed this recipe verbatim before, and it was a wonderful success. So it’s Covid-19 time, and substitution is the new black 🙂
I used goji berries instead of cranberries, and a fig glaze instead of balsamic – the balsamic is getting dangerously low.
Anyway… the sign of a good recipe is that it survives fiddling. Yum.
The subs sounds awesome, Margaret! Awesome that you put your own spin on it. Agreed, it’s a good sign!
This one looks so good.
I love your recipes – they are easy and delicious.
Aw thank you, Carla! Much appreciated :). Enjoy the salad!
It was an excellent salad and went well with lasagna. The recipe talks about balsamic vinegar and then balsamic cream. I just use balsamic vinegar and it was fantastic. I used Romaine instead of arugula, very good!
Hi Dawn, really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback, I’ve just changed the balsamic notes. Yes, absolutely, romaine would make a good swap for arugula. You could use spinach in a pinch, too. I’m happy more people are trying this dressing . Thanks for writing!