This salad is everything a fall salad should be! A blend of arugula, sweet pears, nutty parmesan cheese, smoky bacon and buttery walnuts will make this a favorite salad recipe for the whole family!
What better way to get in fruits and vegetables than this delicious pear salad? The combination of juicy pear and arugula create the perfect balance of sweet and peppery while the smoky bacon adds a level of richness that is irresistible. Tossed in a simple, fresh vinaigrette and garnished with parmesan cheese, this easy salad is one of the best ways to enjoy pear season! While this salad is a great appetizer or side dish, it’s also an awesome main dish topped with Grilled Chicken Thighs or Poached Salmon.
Do you love pear desserts as much as you love pear salads? Baked Pears With Honey Butter are the best way to finish a meal!
Pear Salad Ingredients
- Arugula – arugula is a tender and slightly bitter leafy green that balances the sweetness of the pear wonderfully. If you don’t want to use arugula, you can use your favorite lettuce, like mixed greens, romaine, green leaf, or spinach.
- Bacon – when has adding bacon ever been a bad thing? The bacon adds smoky flavor and meatiness to the salad while also adding depth to the dressing with bacon drippings.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano – grated Parmigiano-Reggiano is a rich and flavorful cheese with a salty and slightly nutty taste. You can also use regular parmesan if preferred.
- Finely chopped walnuts – finely chopped walnuts come pre-chopped, in the grocery store, usually in the baking section. If you don’t like walnuts, you can use Marcona almonds or pecans.
- Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil is the base of our dressing.
- Pear – my favorite pear in pear salad is Bartlett, but you could also use Anjou if preferred.
- White balsamic vinegar – white balsamic vinegar is mild and provides a subtle sweetness. If you cannot find white balsamic vinegar, I recommend white wine vinegar.
- Honey – honey adds a touch of sweetness that complements the pear nicely.
How to Make Pear Salad
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
Cook the bacon for about 10-15 minutes, until crispy. Remove and then set aside to let cool.
Drain the bacon, leaving just the drippings. Then pour the drippings into a bowl to make the dressing.
Add white balsamic, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper to the bowl with the bacon drippings. Whisk it all together.
Toss together the arugula, cooled bacon, walnuts, parmesan and the whisked dressing.
Serve the salad, topped with pear slices and black pepper.
Pear Salad Recipe Notes and Tips
- Save time and purchase finely chopped walnuts from your local grocery store. Can’t find them? Chop the walnuts with a knife.
- Cut and plate pears right before serving, to ensure they don’t get brown.
- Make sure the pear has ripened fully! This is important for flavor and juiciness. No one likes a super crunchy pear!
- Use white wine vinegar if you are unable to find white balsamic vinegar.
Pear Salad Serving Suggestions
This pear salad is versatile, making it a wonderful appetizer, side dish or even main dish. Here are a few of my favorite serving options:
- Add chicken: add more protein like Juicy Baked Chicken Breast and serve as a main course!
- Candied pecans: swap the chopped walnuts for Candied Pecans for a buttery, sweet twist.
- Bread: warm, artisan bread or Wheat Beer Bread can be a great addition
- Baked fish: serve as a side to baked fish like Blackened Salmon or Baked Halibut.
- Baked pears: continue with the pear theme and serve Baked Pears with Honey Butter, the most delicious dessert in a pinch.
More Salad Recipes You’ll Love!
- Southwest Salad with Chili Lime Dressing
- Best Ever Green Goddess Salad (Healthy Dressing!)
- Italian Fennel Orange Salad
- Best Simple Arugula Salad with Mushrooms & Balsamic
- 5 ounces arugula
- ½ pound bacon diced
- ¾ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano finely grated
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 just-ripe Bartlett pear quartered and cut into slices
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in a dry pot over medium-high heat until crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from pot and set aside to let cool.
- Drain excess fat (juices), leaving just the bacon drippings in the bottom of the pot. Scrap bacon drippings into the bowl that you will make the dressing.
- In the bowl with the bacon drippings, add white balsamic, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together.
- In a large salad bowl, add arugula, cooled bacon, walnuts, parmesan, and whisked dressing. Toss to combine.
- Plate salad, topping with pear slices and black pepper.
- You can usually buy finely chopped walnuts in the baking section of your grocery store! If you can’t find them, you can chop them with a knife or a pastry cutter!
- Grana Padano cheese is a great, less expensive substitute for Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- If you can’t find white balsamic vinegar, I recommend white wine vinegar.