Whether cooking for my family and friends or creating a menu for my catering business, I try my best to put forth hyper-seasonal dishes that use the freshest, prettiest and tastiest fruits and veggies that are available. Although you can get most things year round, like apples and pears, they are at their prime during their peak growing and harvesting season — which means they’ll taste even better! Salads are a great way to showcase your seasonal finds; assembling an in-season salad elevates an ordinary bowl of greens and gives it a boost of flavor and an explosion of color and texture, too.
This salad is so lovely to serve all fall and winter, and would be a stunning addition to your holiday table! The pomegranate seeds add such a pretty layer of sophistication, too. They look like little red jewels!
Feel free to play around with what looks good at your grocery store or farmers market that particular week. This recipe is really just a guideline. Add more of this, or less of that based on your taste. I don’t really give exact measurements or amounts for salads since they are easy to scale up or down depending on how many people you are serving. Keep in mind these few things when putting together a salad:
- Strive for a combination of textures, adding crunch to offset more tender elements (i.e., roasted pears are soft, raw chopped apples are crunchy OR chewy dried cranberries and nutty hazelnuts)
- Offset salty/briny elements with sweeter elements (sweet dried cranberries offset with slightly bitter greens)
- Dressings should be a delicate balance of acid and fat, nuanced with a bit of sweetness and a little something robust (robust elements can be a spoonful of mustard or chopped aromatics like shallots or garlic)
Additional cook’s notes:
- To toast the hazelnuts, add them whole to a preheated, dry skillet. Toast for a few minutes or until fragrant. Alternatively, you can do them in the oven on a sheet pan.
- If you don’t like hazelnuts, feel free to sub walnuts or pecans.
- If you are not serving the salad right away, wait to chop the apples until right before you are ready to dress the salad. Once cut, apples turn brown very quickly, and nobody wants to serve a salad with browned apples (unless they’re sautéed!).
- Assemble the salad up to a day before, cover with cling wrap and keep in the fridge. Dressing can be made ahead too. Add the roasted pears and apples just before serving.
To make the Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette, add the following to a mason jar and shake well to emulsify. Note, this recipe is based on approximately 2 ounces of vinegar and 6 ounces of olive oil:
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 3 parts extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
- 2 tsp. light colored honey
- 1-2Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of crushed red pepper, to taste if a bit of heat is desired
- Step 1 Combine all ingredients in a glass mason jar and tighten the lid.
- Step 2 Shake well until oil and vinegar emulsify. Taste for acid, salt, pepper and adjust accordingly.
- Step 3 Store unused dressing in the refrigerator for up to one week. Allow to soften art room temperature before using. Shake well before using on salads.
To assemble the salad elements:
Autumn Roasted Pear, Apple & Pomegranate Salad
- 1 5-ounce container of organic baby greens (spinach and spring mix is a nice combination)
- 3 organic Bartlett or Bosc pears, ripe but firm
- Pomegranate seeds
- 1 organic honey crisp or Granny Smith apple, diced
- 1/4 cup unsalted hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
- Handful of dried cranberries
- Step 1 To roast the pears, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve and core the pears, leaving the skin intact. Cut into wedges.
- Step 2 In a bowl, toss the cut pears with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
- Step 3 Place cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Step 4 Roast for about 20 minutes or until fork tender and fragrant. Allow to cool completely.
- Step 5 To assemble the salad, add the greens to the base of your bowl (I prefer a wide, shallow bowl for salads like this).
- Step 6 Begin layering in the chopped apples, pomegranate seeds, cranberries and hazelnuts. I prefer to nestle the pears on top of the salad after I’ve dressed and tossed it since they are not only delicate, but so pretty!