This Harvest Pear Salad has all the flavors of fall & is on the lighter side. With pumpkin spiced pecans, cranberries, and pears, it is a favorite fall dish!
There are so many yummy recipes to make in the fall and winter months, and this Harvest Pear Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing is definitely one of them. The pears, dried cranberries, and pecans really complement each other. I highly recommend trying the pumpkin spiced pecans. It takes a few extra minutes, but the flavor and extra crunch it gives to the salad is worth it. I load the salad with them!
This salad is a nice break from all of the creamy soups and casseroles that are loaded with fat. Don’t get me wrong – I love all of the comfort foods of fall, but sometimes something on the lighter side tastes really good. This salad has lots of fall flavor and is also healthy! It makes for a colorful side dish at holiday dinners. I have also made this salad as a main dish by adding grilled chicken or chopped leftover turkey. The turkey pairs especially well with the delicious cranberry dressing.
The Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing in this recipe is on the thicker, creamier side. I think it is best tossed in with the salad before serving. The dressing has a strong cranberry, citrus flavor – which is absolutely delicious in my opinion. However, if you prefer a lighter, thinner dressing, add water in small amounts when mixing the ingredients in the blender until it reaches your preferred consistency. The cranberries in the dressing make it such a beautiful color of red that I also like to have it on the table just because it looks so pretty, and then my family or guests have the option of adding more to their salad.
How to Make Harvest Pear Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing
For the salad:
- Layer all ingredients and toss with Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing starting with a small amount and then adding more to taste.
For the pumpkin spiced pecans:
- Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl until blended well.
- Add sugar mixture and pecans to a small skillet and heat on medium until sugar is melted - stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the sugar.
- As soon as sugar is melted onto the pecans, pour pecans onto aluminum foil to cool.
For the dressing:
- Combine cranberries, orange juice, and sugar in a medium sized sauce pan.
- Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly, until all the cranberries pop. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Pour cranberry mixture into a blender and add olive oil, vinegar, and salt.
- Blend until smooth.
- The dressing will be thick and creamy. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add small amounts of water (1 Tbsp at a time) until desired consistency is reached.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
More Side Salad Recipes
If you are going to the trouble of making a salad, make it a memorable one! It doesn’t take a lot to give a side salad a little extra flavor and color. These side salads recipes are unique, healthy, and easy to make.
- Nuts About Berries Salad – This salad is loaded with (you guessed it!) nuts and berries. It is fruity and refreshing.
- Mandarin Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans – My favorite part of this salad is the pomegranate seeds mixed in with the fruit and pecans. It is so flavorful!
- Kona Grill’s Red Pepper Coleslaw – Gorgonzola cheese and roasted red peppers give this traditional coleslaw a delicious twist.
- Asian Cucumber Salad – This low calorie salad is loaded with healthy vegetables and is lightly tossed in a rice vinegar based dressing.
- Fresh Mango Avocado Coleslaw – If you are lucky enough to find ripe mangoes and ripe avocados at the same time, you have to try this coleslaw! It is so colorful. The textures and flavors go so well together.
- Greek Side Salad with Greek Dressing – This flavor packed salad will not disappoint. Colorful vegetables, olives, and beans are dressed in an olive oil and vinegar dressing.