This Fall Salad with Pear, Pomegranate & Orange Vinaigrette is light and pretty enough to serve as a Christmas salad. Subtle sweetness from the pears and pomegranate, a citrus burst from the dressing and the tiniest bits of crunch from quinoa and toasted hazelnuts.
My friend Ileana and I had a lunch date last week and we both ordered the salad special which included avocado, pomegranate and citrus dressing. It was a wonderful salad and it made me realize that I had forgotten how satisfying a well-constructed salad can be!
How to make this Pear and Pomegranate Salad
This holiday salad recipe is full of fresh fruity flavors. Pomegranate arils are the colorful star in this salad. Those little gems are a pain to remove from the pomegranate, but they make such a pretty salad.
This salad is layered with textures + flavors:
- fresh sliced pears are subtly sweet
- pomegranate seeds lend juicy little fruit explosions
- hazelnuts provide a nice crunch and intense nutty flavor
- quinoa plays a side role as a seed garnish
- mixed greens keep things light
- creamy French feta cheese crumbles yield just the right saltiness
- and most important – the Orange Vinaigrette – the citrus punch
I recommend slicing the pears just before serving to keep them from browning.
Making Orange Vinaigrette
The idea of a light citrus dressing is really appealing to me in the winter. It must be all the oranges that hit the market. I can’t wait for the Cara Cara oranges to come back and then I make this amazing orange creamsicle smoothie!
You’ll need just 5 ingredients for this orange vinaigrette:
- fresh orange juice
- apple cider vinegar
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
It’s the perfect small salad to start your holiday dinner with a simple, elegant burst of fresh flavor.
Pomegranate adorns this fall themed salad with pears and a sweet orange vinaigrette
- 3 Tb orange juice preferably fresh squeezed
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 2 Tb apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tb honey
- dash of salt
- dash of pepper
- 1 Anjou pear thinly sliced
- 1 pomegranate seeds removed
- 1/2 cup hazelnut pieces toasted
- 1/4 lb crumbled french feta
- 5 oz organic mixed greens
- 1/2 cup dry red quinoa cooked until just tender
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients in a small Cuisanart, slowly pouring in olive oil until emulsified. Or whisk vigorously by hand in a small bowl. Set aside.
Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa under cold water for 1 minute. Add 1 Tb olive oil to a pan, heat and add quinoa to the pan, toasting the quinoa for about 1 minute. The water will start to evaporate off the rinsed quinoa.
Add 1 cup water and a few dashes of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down heat to medium-low. Cook until quinoa is just tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Toast the hazelnuts, about 5 min at 350F. Set aside.
To plate the salad, divide greens and pear slices amongst 4 salad plates. Lightly sprinkle with quinoa, hazelnuts, feta, pomegranate seeds. (about 2 tsp of each is all you need) Add a drizzle of dressing, salt and pepper to taste.
Voila! A nice light and fancy salad for your meal!
Need more Thanksgiving recipes – check these out too!