I can’t take my eyes off this salad! The concept came to me as I was improvising a big green salad for Friendsgiving this year. Salads are often overlooked at the holidays, so I set out to make a festive red-and-green showstopper.
I knew I wanted to incorporate ruby-red pomegranate arils and fresh pear, since they’re both so delicious this time of year. I added Honeycrisp apple, goat cheese and pecans for good measure.
To make the dressing taste festive and cut through the sweetness of the fruit, I added fresh ginger to my basic apple cider vinaigrette. Believe me, this salad tastes as good as it looks.
This salad might look fancy, but it’s simple to put together. You’ll want to pay extra attention to how you prepare the ingredients, so I’ve typed up some tips below. If you’re craving some greens to get you through the holidays, or already working on your holiday menu, this salad is for you!
Salad Preparation Tips
Apple and pear: Slice straight down about 1/2″ from the core. Repeat on the remaining three sides, and discard the core. With the flat sides lying flat against the cutting board, cut them into very thin slices, keeping the pieces together as best you can. Then, fan out the slices into sections and place them around the salad as shown.
Pomegranate: There are a bunch of different ways to remove the arils from a pomegranate, but I usually do it like this.
Goat cheese: You can easily crumble cold goat cheese with a fork into a bowl. You’ll need half of a standard log of goat cheese for this recipe.
Pecans: Freshly toasted nuts offer tons of flavor, so that’s why I recommend buying raw nuts and toasting them as needed. It’s a simple step that makes a big difference, and your nuts will stay fresher longer this way.
Dressing: Simply whisk it all together! You can make the dressing a day or two in advance, if you’d like.
To serve: This salad really makes a statement when it’s spread across a big serving platter like mine (affiliate link). I usually recommend tossing your salad before serving, but this one is prettier if you simply drizzle dressing lightly all over it and let guests take their portions from there.
Please let me know how this salad turns out for you in the comments!
Pomegranate & Pear Green Salad with Ginger DressingCourse: SaladsCuisine: American
This gorgeous green salad recipe is bursting with fresh pomegranate, Bartlett pear and Honeycrisp apple! This salad will brighten up your holiday table, and liven up a regular weeknight dinner. Recipe yields 4 to 6 side salads.
½ cup raw pecans (halves or pieces)
5 ounces baby arugula
2 ounces (about ½ cup) goat cheese or feta, crumbled
1 large ripe Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
1 Honeycrisp or Gala apple, thinly sliced
Arils from 1 pomegranate
- Ginger dressing
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
About 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- To toast the pecans, place them in a skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring often, until they’re fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pecans from the heat and roughly chop them (no need to chop if you started with pecan pieces). Set aside.
- Arrange the arugula across a large serving platter (or bowl, but the salad looks prettiest on a platter). Sprinkle the chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese over the arugula. Fan out your slices of pear and apple and arrange them across the salad in sections (see photos). Sprinkle all over with fresh pomegranate arils.
- To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until blended. Taste, and if it isn’t quite zippy enough, add another teaspoon of vinegar.
- Wait to dress the salad until you’re ready to serve (the dressing will wilt the greens over time). When you’re ready, drizzle the ginger dressing lightly all over the salad (you might not need all of it). Serve promptly.
- MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: Simply omit the goat cheese. Vegans, be sure to use maple syrup instead of honey.
- MAKE IT NUT FREE: Substitute pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) for the pecans.
- PREPARE IN ADVANCE: You could prepare the salad dressing, and arrange the arugula, pecans, goat cheese and pomegranate up to 1 day in advance. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Slice and arrange the apple and pear just before serving, since they turn brown over time.
- STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: This salad is best served promptly. If you know you’ll have leftovers, dress individual servings as needed and store the salad and dressing separately. Leftover dressing will keep well in the refrigerator for 1 week.