Salads can be as simple or complex as you want them to be. And sometimes, just a few simple ingredients that pair well together (no pun intended!), make for a beautiful and flavorful salad. Since pears are the stars of the season for this salad, I decided to make them stand out even more by simply shaving them whole.
Crisp, paper thin slices of sweet pear mingle with shards of salty parmesan, buttery pine nuts and spicy arugula and get drizzled with a tart and tangy lemon pepper vinaigrette.
For this salad, your favorite pear will do! I bought some red D’Anjou and Bosc pears and decided to go with the longer Bosc. I chose arugula for a light and airy green. I didn’t want the pears to get lost in a mass of lettuce. I think watercress or mache would work well here, too. And for the dressing, I used Meyer lemons. Regular lemons, oranges or a combination of citrus would be fantastic!
I can’t stress enough how delicious pears and parmesan are together. Your pears don’t need to get soft for this pretty fall salad. Shaving them nice and thin on a mandolin keeps them light and crispy. Just the perfect texture!
But if you want to use softer pears, you can certainly slice them for this salad. Feel free to shave your own parmesan, but honestly, I love the pre-shaved parm that you can usually find at the markets these days. Not a fan of pine nuts? Walnuts would be great!
This salad is pretty light. So it’s perfect for a starter on your holiday menu. But easy enough to whip up as a side to your weeknight dinners. For me, this was a perfect lunch all on it’s own!
- 2 pears (I used bosc) sliced vertically on a mandolin
- 4 cups of baby arugula
- 1 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
- ½ cup of toasted pine nuts.
- ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Place the pine nuts in a small non stick frying pan over high heat and toast, stirring until the pine nuts start to brown.
- Pour the pine nuts into a bowl to cool.
- Carefully shave the pear, whole, lengthwise on a mandolin. (The seeds will fall right off of the thin slices.)
- Place the lemon juice, zest, mustard, honey, pepper & oil in a small jar.
- Whisk or shake till completely combined.
- Dress the arugula with 1-2 Tablespoons of dressing.
- Add the pine nuts and parmesan shards and toss.
- Top with pears and more pine nuts and parmesan for garnish.
- Serve with extra dressing on the side.
All of my salads and dressings are just a starting place for your imagination. So feel free to add or swap ingredients and do what works for you!