October 2, 2022

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Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing


This pear and goat cheese salad with ribboned vegetables, juicy pear, creamy goat cheese, and a maple balsamic dressing is perfect as a side salad or topped with your favorite protein.

This pear salad recipe is a fresh and delicious way to consume your daily dose of vegetables! It’s pretty simple to make and serve as a side dish or main course with salmon or chicken on top.

I admit I can be a lazy salad-making gal, so when I step up my game with a homemade dressing and a mix of creamy and crunchy ingredients, I never regret it! Mix and match proteins on top to enjoy the salad a few days in a row. (Be sure not to dress it until you’re ready to eat.) 

I chose to ribbon the carrots and cucumber in this recipe. Sometimes too many chopped veggies can weight a salad down! As ribbons, they blend well with the baby greens. 

Pear, slivered almonds, and goat cheese bring the salad to life. A little sweet, a little crunchy, and a little tangy/creamy are a delicious trio!!

Looking for more vegetable eating tips? Check out 5 Ways To Cook Vegetables and How To Make Vegetables Taste Good. 

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

The Perfect Pear

D’Anjou, Bartlett or Bosc – which pear is your favorite? I am partial to sweet pears like Bosc, but in this recipe I chose a bright green, ripe D’Anjou! Bartlett pears are very aromatic, so they would be perfect here too. They have that “pear flavor” we all know! 

The Maple Balsamic Dressing

This recipe makes a half-cup of salad dressing, so you may have extra.

You’ll want a thick and slightly sweet aged balsamic vinegar. Something a little thicker and more complex than your run-of-the-mill balsamic. I find really good ones at gourmet shops in town, but major grocery stores have them too.

The maple syrup adds a subtle sweetness. There’s a teaspoon of mayonnaise to help emulsify.

And lastly, the fresh rosemary is delicious with balsamic. Dried rosemary will work too. I use clean kitchen shears to snip it into tiny pieces – a little faster than finely chopping!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sweet baby salad greens (any similar greens will do)
  • 1 small pear (swap in an apple or sliced strawberries!) 
  • 1 large carrot (the recipe calls for ribbons, but if you prefer you can grate or dice)
  • 1/4 English cucumber, also ribboned or diced
  • 1/2 cup freshly crumbled goat cheese (from a log of soft goat cheese; feta or mozzarella work too!) 
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 tsp mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

Instructions

Make the dressing

In a small bowl with whisk, food processor, or blender, mix together all ingredients for the dressing, leaving out the rosemary to stir in at the end. I love just a hint of fresh garlic. I like to grate about 1/2 a glove on a microplane so it’s more of a pulp than little bits you have to chew. 

Slice the pears

When cutting the pears, quarter and core the pear. Turn face down on a cutting board to thinly slice. If you’ll be waiting a while to enjoy, toss the pear slices in some lemon juice to keep them from browning. 

Ribbon the veggies

Using a vegetable peeler, shave off long ribbons of carrot and cucumber. C is for Carrot!

Toast the almonds

In a 350 degree toaster oven, toast almonds until fragrant and lightly brown. DO NOT take your eyes off of them – they will go from nothing to burned in seconds! 

Crumble the goat cheese

I like to use a fork to flake the soft goat cheese into a bowl. You may need to use your clean hands to separate the chunks into smaller crumbles. While you can use store-bought crumbled goat cheese here, a fresh log is so much better!

Assemble the salad

In a large bowl, toss the salad together, mixing in the ingredients. Drizzle on the dressing and toss.

Serve

I added quiche on the side! Chicken, salmon, or shrimp would be great on top as well. Or white beans, hard boiled egg, or roasted tofu for vegetarian options. 

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

This pear and goat cheese salad with fresh vegetables, juicy pear, creamy goat cheese and a creamy maple balsamic dressing is perfect as a side salad or topped with your favorite protein.

Course Appetizer, Lunch, Salads
Keyword almonds, carrots, cucumber, goat cheese, healthy salad, pear

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sweet baby greens
  • 1 small Bartlett pear thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/4 English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup freshly crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

For the dressing (makes 1/2 cup)

  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small clove garlic grated
  • 1/2 tsp mayo
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary minced

Instructions

  • Make the dressing by combining vinegar through pepper in a mason jar, bowl and whisk, or food processor and blending until well emulsified. Stir in finely chopped rosemary.

  • Thinly slice the pear. If not serving immediately, toss lightly with lemon juice.

  • Ribbon the carrot and cucumber with a vegetable peeler.

  • Toast almonds for 3-5 minutes in a 350 toaster oven, being careful not to burn!

  • Crumble fresh goat cheese.

  • Assemble the salad in layers and toss with dressing.

  • Top with your protein of choice if desired.





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