Pears, pomegranates, walnuts, and arugula are the less flamboyant autumn cousins to apples and pumpkins IMHO... This Pear and Arugula Salad with Candied Walnuts includes pomegranate arils and feta cheese, and gets tossed with an easy chamoy vinaigrette. It's a gorgeous and healthy salad to grace your holiday table, and simple enough to serve on busy weeknights!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Pears and Autumn Salads
What inspired this recipe? Fresh pears to be perfectly honest. I recently started using Imperfect Foods on the regular, and the pears have been my favorite item on my order for several weeks.
When you think of autumn produce, you think apples and pumpkins, yes? My spinach and apple salad is a favorite at Andersen casa. Pears, arugula, and walnuts - 3 key ingredients in this recipe - are fall favorites as well. They deserve their due as well!
This arugula salad recipe is stunning visually and in its simplicity (especially if you can get beautiful red pears). Even with the homemade salad dressing, it takes about 20 minutes if your pomegranate is broken down.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Pear and Arugula Salad
- arugula - I used a mix of arugula and spinach on photo day as that is what was available. I love the peppery bite of the arugula with the other ingredients. You can use your preferred greens.
- pear(s) - My favorite pear is red anjou, but fall is pear season, so choose the best pears you can find. Your pears should be firm, but yield when pressed.
- candied walnuts - September/October, walnuts are at their peak. I had some really nice walnuts, and they pair very well with pairs. Pecans would work well also.
- sugar - I always use turbinado pure cane sugar. White sugar is fine too.
- feta cheese - The salty tang of feta is perfect with the peppery arugula and the sweet pears. I have made it with chèvre, and it is quite good.
- pomegranate arils - I love the flavor and crunch that pomegranate arils add to the salad. Pre-packaged arils are a great time-saver if you don't want to break down a pomegranate.
- chamoy vinaigrette - I will be posting this recipe separately, but include it here for now!
What is Chamoy Vinaigrette?
A few weeks ago, I posted a homemade chamoy recipe, and I chose to focus on fresh apricots (I did include a note for substituting preserves).
Chamoy is a Mexican condiment with savory, fruity, sweet, salty, spicy, and tart flavors. It reminds me a bit of Asian sweet and sour sauce, but it brings a little bit of heat too.
So, chamoy vinaigrette is a very simple vinaigrette that combines chamoy with lime juice and white wine vinegar, and olive oil. It's so simple, and comes together in minutes if you've got the chamoy made.
You can also use commercial chamoy. Read the label... many brands are mostly sugar and vinegar. Tajín Chamoy is somewhat close to my own recipe, and I will use it in this vinaigrette recipe if I don't have the ingredients or time to make my own.
Chamoy Vinaigrette Ingredients
- chamoy - As I mention above, you can use homemade or commercially produced chamoy. Check the ingredients. Many brands are all sugar and sodium.
- limes - The best salad dressing require the freshest ingredients. Use FRESH lime juice!
- olive oil - I use extra virgin olive oil for dressings, but nothing fancy.
- vinegar - I like a mild, non-abrasive vinegar like white wine vinegar. You can use champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar as well.
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Make the chamoy vinaigrette - Add dressing ingredients to a blender or small food processor. Process until smooth. Check for seasoning, and set aside.
- Candy the walnuts - Heat the sugar over medium-high heat in a small sauté pan. Melt the sugar completely, stirring often. Reduce heat slightly, add walnuts. Stir until completely coated. Scrape onto waxed paper or foil. Season generously with fine sea salt (I like my grinder). Chop if pieces are too big.
- Prepare the salad - Add the greens, diced pear, crumbled feta, and candied walnuts to an appropriate salad bowl. Toss with the prepared dressing. Garnish with pomegranate arils.
What other kinds of cheese can I use? I love the salty tang of feta in this salad, but chèvre is good too.
How long can I keep the chamoy vinaigrette? Homemade vinaigrettes keep 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
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🍷 Pairing Suggestions
If you made a batch of homemade chamoy, try this delicious pear and arugula salad with chamoy glazed salmon and cilantro rice or red rice. Grilled tajín chicken and salmon in quick green mole verde sauce pair well with this salad as well!
There's more to fall than pumpkins and apples. I hope you'll give this easy fall salad recipe a try. If you try it, I'd love feed back through the comments/ratings box below!