The beginnings of this recipe started off like most of my recipes, with a surplus of produce. We like to try and buy it in bulk when we can because it’s a great way to save money when you’re trying to eat more fruits and veggies. So in this case, I had 10 pounds of pears, and just 2 people to eat them.
My go-to recipe is always my Ginger Pear Green Smoothie. I stumbled across that combination a couple years back, and I’ve never gotten tired of it since. But even a green smoothie a day isn’t going to compete with 10 pounds of pears. So I decided to roast them, and start creating a salad from there.
And I have no idea why I almost never cook pears, but really it’s something you can get addicted to in a hurry. Ever since creating this salad, I’ve been roasting and sautéing pears like crazy because they’re so good over spinach salads.
I’ve even been making a version of this salad as part of my weekly meal prepping. Of course you’ll need to keep the hazelnuts separate to maintain the crunchiness, and cube up the avocado the day you want to eat the salad. But with just a little added grilled chicken for protein, this salad makes a dynamite lunch. Since it’s colorful and gorgeous, it also a great salad for entertaining, but it couldn’t be simpler to make.
While I know we’re talking all about this spinach salad today, I can’t help but mention these roasted pears are fantastic over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for dessert too.
While the pears are roasting, you have plenty of time to prep the rest of the ingredients. For the hazelnuts, I like to toast a whole sheet pan of them at a time. That way once they’re roasted and roughly chopped, I have them on hand in the freezer to quickly add to salads.
And one more note about this recipe, if you don’t have pomegranate arils, you can easily make this without them. They add a nice pop of flavor and color, but there’s plenty going on without them if they’re too hard to find.
- 3 ripe pears, 1½ pounds
- 2-3 Teaspoons olive oil
- 4 cups washed baby spinach, 4 ounces
- ½ cup roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup pomegranate arils
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- 2 Tablespoon while balsamic vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ Teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the pears into quarters and core them, then slice them into ½" slices. Place them on the lined baking sheet and lightly brush them with olive oil. Roast them for about 20 minutes, or until golden, then turn them over and roast again for an additional 10 minutes. When the pears are golden brown and caramelized, but still holding their shape, remove them from the oven and let them cool until they're warm, or room temperature.
- While the pears are roasting, assemble the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, Dijon mustard, and sea salt until combined. Then whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream. Whisk until all the oil had been added, and the dressing is emulsified.
- When the pears are done and have cooled, either arrange all the ingredients over the top of the spinach, or toss them all together. Add as much dressing as you'd like, or serve it on the side.
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