This autumn salad with pears is a blend of spinach and arugula, paper thin slices of Manchego cheese, pears and freshly roasted pepitas. Dressed with a simple oil and vinegar salad dressing. The contrast of the salty pepitas, peppery arugula, sweet pears and tangy Manchego cover all levels of deliciousness.
I was first introduced to this pear salad 10+ years ago while visiting one of my oldest friends at her home in Portland. It might have been the first time I had tried Manchego cheese and I haven’t looked back!
- Other Recipes with Manchego:
- Kale Salad with Marcona Almond and Manchego
- Naan Pizza with Broccoli Pesto and Manchego
What I really like about this salad is that the spinach and arugula are light and delicate. The simple dressing lightly coats the greens so it’s not overpowering and the arugula adds that pepper-y touch.
When you take a bite with a slice of pear, cheese and salty pepitas, it’s got flavors balanced to perfection.
Pepitas vs Pumpkin Seeds
What are pepitas? Let’s start out with what they are NOT.
They are in fact a squash seed, but come from a particular variety of pumpkin. So yes, they are pumpkin seeds, but special ones. These special seeds are full of healthy fats and high in minerals.
Try not to eat the pepitas while you prep the rest of this salad – they taste like nutty popcorn, so it’s hard to resist! Pepitas are absolutely crucial to the flavor profile of this salad. Do not leave them out!
Autumn Salad with Pears
STEP 1: Roast the Pepitas
A little olive oil and salt and you have a healthy snack and yummy salad topper!
STEP 2: Prep the Salad Dressing
A quick mix and shake of common ingredients is all that’s required of this dressing.
STEP 3: Slice Pears + Manchego
Get your best knife out for super thin slices. For more consistency on the cheese you can use a cheese slicer. I prefer to just eat the pieces I “accidentally” cut to thick for the salad.
STEP 4: Put it all together + serve
This Autumn Salad with Pears is a great side dish to serve at Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: To keep your pear slices from browning, store them in a solution of 50% water / 50% lemon juice until ready to combine the salad.
This autumn salad with pears is a blend of spinach and arugula, slivers of Manchego cheese and freshly roasted pepitas. It's then tossed with a simple oil and vinegar salad dressing. The contrast of the salty pepitas, peppery arugula, sweet pears and tangy Manchego cover all levels of deliciousness.
- 1 5 oz mixed baby spinach and arugula
- 1/3 cup pepitas, lightly toasted
- 5 oz Manchego cheese, sliced paper thin
- 2 large Bartlett pears, sliced into thin strips
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp grainy mustard
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Add all ingredient to a small Cuisinart and blend until emulsified. Or add to a glass jar with lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Set aside.
In a small skillet, add 2 tsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add pepitas and toss until coated with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and continue stirring, roasting until just starting to brown. Be careful – sometimes pop they! Approx. 3 minutes.
Toss greens with a light coating of salad dressing. If not serving right away, wait to dress the greens. *NOTE: There will be extra salad dressing.
Layer with slices of pears, Manchego and top with toasted pepitas.