There have been a lot of desserts this week, so I thought I'd finish it off with something a little more healthy, this wonderful Roasted Pear Salad from the terrific (and cleverly named) cookbook, Raising the Salad Bar: Beyond Leafy Greens by Catherine Walthers, who's entirely deserving of the Famous Friday treatment! I love this book, because 1) There are amazing color photographs of most of the salads, 2) I love salad and could eat it every day and 3) I usually do eat it every day but I rarely deviate from my tried and true combinations and things get a little boring around here, but with over 135 inventive salad recipes here, salad never has to be ho-hum again!!
And, while It may still be about 95 degrees outside, Fall is definitely coming! And with it, comes a whole new slew of fresh ingredients to play with, like pears, the indisputable star of this salad. Strangely, I've somehow never roasted pears before, but it's easy to do. You simply brush them with a bit of olive oil and roast them for about 25 minutes until they've begun to have spots on them that are caramelizing and become fork tender.
The rest of the salad is a breeze to put together. Mixed greens, red onion, toasted walnuts and feta cheese.
The whole thing then gets tossed with a slightly sweet pear vinaigrette that incorporates some of the freshly roasted pear into it and only takes moments to process in the blender.
The combination of tastes and textures is really yummy--you've got the crunch of the red onions, lettuce and walnuts, the mellowness of the feta and the soft sweetness of the roasted pear, all lightly coated with that wonderful pear vinaigrette. My whole family loved this and it will definitely be making a reappearance several times this autumnal season!
So if you want to get more creative with your greens, take a look at Raising the Salad Bar and try out some of the creative concoctions--I know I will, we're going to need some good healthy fare to counteract the treats we'll be consuming this holiday weekend! Whatever you do, have a fantastic Labor Day with friends, family and of course, yummy food!
Raising the Salad Bar's Roasted Pear Salad-Famous Fridays
Prep Time: 25 minutes to roast the pears, plus extra time to cut up veggies, toast the walnuts and make the pear vinaigrette
For the Pears and salad
- 3 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored (you don't want the pears to be mushy but you don't want them to rock hard either--you should be able to make a small indentation in them when you push with your finger)
- Olive Oil
- 1 head of red leaf lettuce, washed and dried
- 1 bag baby arugula
- 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
For the Pear Vinaigrette
- 1/2 roasted pear
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pear juice (you can sub in apple if you can't find it)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. To make the salad: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Brush pears with a bit of olive oil and place face down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until pears are lightly browned and fork tender. Allow to cool to room temperature. You can make these early in the day for later that night and just leave them out. Set aside 1/2 of one pear to use for the vinaigrette.
2. Combine both lettuces and the onion in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. To make the vinaigrette: Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. If mixture is too thick to pour easily add a bit more oil or pear juice. Pour enough dressing over the mixed greens in the bowl to coat them nicely. Divide the salad among four plates. Top each plate with a roasted pear half (or two) and sprinkle the feta cheese evenly among the plates. Scatter the toasted walnuts evenly among the four plates. Add more dressing if you like and serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers. I subbed feta for the goat cheese and increased the amount of lettuce and nuts.