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This Pear Salad with Vanilla Fig Dressing, Gorgonzola Cheese and Pecans is a delicious celebration of fall and the perfect side for festive gatherings, special dinners or the holiday table! Video Included.
You are looking at one of my favorite fall salads! This Pear Salad Recipe is bursting with flavor! Juicy ripe pears, spicy nutty arugula, spiced maple-glazed seeds and pecans, pomegranate seeds, dried currants and gorgonzola cheese are all tossed in a flavorful Vanilla Fig Dressing to create the most delicious balance of flavors.
This time of year pears are such a refreshing treat. We especially love them in salads and this Pear Salad is one of our fall favorites- it’s flavorful, colorful, and elegant and the Vanilla Fig Dressing is sublime.
Wait until your pears are perfectly juicy and ripe and if you can get locally grown pears, even better!
Pear Salad Recipe | 60-Sec Video
Why this pear salad works:
- The flavors and textures of this salad are so complimentary! Sweet juicy pears paired with peppery arugula, creamy gorgonzola, maple glazed spiced nuts, bright pomegranate seeds, and Vanilla Fig Dressing. So very perfect!
- This salad can be made ahead! Assemble it ahead, refrigerate, then add the dressing and toss it right before serving.
- It’s beautiful! Perfect for fall gatherings.
Pear Salad Ingredients
- Pears– perfectly ripe, red pears offer the best color here, but any flavorful ripe pear will work.
- Arugula– we really love its peppery bite, but feel free to sub spinach or half spinach.
- Spiced Nuts- pumpkin seeds and pecans are glazed with maple and spices
- Pomegranate Seeds– add a bright tanginess and pop of color and flavor
- Red onion
- Gorgonzola Cheese
- Dried Currants – or sub dried cranberries, or cherries
- Vanilla Fig Dressing
How to make the Pear Salad
Toss nuts and seeds with maple syrup, spices and salt and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
Make the Vanilla Fig Dressing, by whisking ingredients together in a bowl.
Gather remaining ingredients for the salad, and slice the pears.
Then begin assembling the salad and toss with the Vanilla Fig dressing- just enough to lightly coat.
Feel free to top the salad with more spiced nuts, gorgonzola crumbles and pomegranate seeds.
More recipes you may like:
- Beet, Lentil and Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
- Radicchio Salad with Asian Pear & Walnuts
- Toasted Farro with Pear, Hazelnuts and Arugula
- Pear Tree Cocktail
- Fig and Arugula Salad, w/ Goat Cheese & Pecans
- Vanilla Fig Dressing
Hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall season.
Pear Gorgonzola Salad with Fig Dressing
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: salads, fall recipes
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
This Pear Salad is the perfect side for a fall gathering or the holiday table. Juicy ripe pears, arugula, spiced nuts, pomegranate seeds, dried currants and gorgonzola are all tossed in a flavorful Vanilla Fig Dressing to create the most delicious balance of flavors.
- 1 cup mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pecans (feel free to just use 1 or 2 kinds, but a mix is nice)
- 2–3 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Vanilla Fig Dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fig jam
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 ripe pears- not overly ripe, sliced
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 cup dried currants (or sub craisins or dried cherries)
Preheat oven to 350F ( A toaster oven works here too)
Make the spiced Nuts: In a small bowl, toss the nuts/seeds with the maple syrup, enough to coat well, and mix in the salt and spices. Spread out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through. You want to get them toasted and golden. Remove from heat, and immediately “fluff” with a fork. Let them cool completely. You can do this ahead- taking care not to eat them all before making the salad. You’ll need at least 1/2 cup for the salad.
Make the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl
Make the salad: In a large bowl (not your serving bowl) toss arugula, red onion, 1/2 cup spiced nuts, pomegranate seeds, currants and gorgonzola cheese lightly with the dressing until perfectly coated. Taste, season with salt and pepper if you like.
Then add the pears, carefully tossing so they don’t break.
Place the salad in the serving bowl and garnish with more spiced nuts, gorgonzola and pomegranate if you like.
If making ahead, get all the components ready beforehand, and toss right before serving.
You may only need 1/2 the nuts for the salad.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 273
- Sugar: 23.7 g
- Sodium: 326.2 mg
- Fat: 14.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 34.8 g
- Fiber: 5.6 g
- Protein: 5.7 g
- Cholesterol: 5.5 mg
Keywords: pear salad recipe, pear arugula salad, pear gorgonzola salad, fall pear salad, fig dressing
Can I sub sharp white cheddar instead of Gorgonzola? This would be great for Thanksgiving.
Hi Linda- I think that should be ok?
This has been my go to salad all winter and I finally wanted to make a comment because I love it so much! The salad is SO delicious as is but I have also adapted it multiple times based on what I have on hand as well as different guest preferences, so I thought I would share in case others are in a similar situation…
1. I have swapped raspberry jam for the fig and just omitted the vanilla (equally delicious). 2. For my guests who do not like bleu cheese, feta or goat have both worked beautifully. I have also used spinach and mixed greens instead of the arugula. Without the bite of the bleu cheese or arugula, I did omit vanilla and add a touch a dijon mustard to the dressing to balance the sweetness from the fruit. 3. I’ve added cooked and cooled farro as well as roasted sweet potato to turn this into a meal for myself
Thank you Sylvia!
Love all the ways you have adapted Hannah! Thanks for sharing!
Made it today for Christmas dinner. Delicious! I arranged it on a platter so was festive looking too. Omitted the dried currants and subbed goat cheese for the Gorgonzola because it’s what I had. Used equal parts pecans and pumpkin seeds—yummy, and thanks for the warning to set aside enough for the salad! Hee-hee
Tasted the dressing and was afraid it was too sweet, but it contrasted the arugula nicely.
Thank you, Sylvia, for another winner.
Thanks Gina- Glad you enjoyed this!
This was delicious, thank you for sharing. My husband declared this to be his new favorite salad!
Awesome Lori! Glad he liked it!
We made this yesterday for a holiday dinner get together. It was a major hit. Everybody raved about the salad and wanted the the recipe. The vanilla fig dressing is soooo… good and a perfect with the salad. Thanks Sylvia for another winning recipe that we’ve added to our keepers list.
Thanks Jim- glad you liked it and appreciate this!
This salad is my new favorite. I made it the first time for Friendsgiving and had enough leftover everything to make it another time or two in smaller proportions for just my husband and me. It’s fabulous.
Yay Julie- glad you like this one!
So delicious!! I made it for some friends last night and it was a hit. It’s relatively quick to throw together, and has some amazingly combined seasonal flavors. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about cumin, cinnamon, & cayenne with nuts, but the caramelized nuts turned out incredible (I used half pecan pieces & half pumpkin seeds for my nut mix). I used only about 1/3 of the dressing to hand toss into the salad, and offered the rest on the side for my guests, but the salad was so flavorful that nobody ended up using more. Today I used some of the leftover dressing and ingredients to make one serving of salad for myself & used baby kale in place of the arugula & omitted the craisins – it was just as good. Highly recommend, especially for late fall-early winter.
Thanks, Allie- glad you all enjoyed it!
Awesome salad. The nuts are the best part, but it’s all good.
I made this for Thanksgiving for a big family gathering. My husband questioned why I would even serve a salad when there was so many other good things to eat. Everyone loved it! After the party he told me that he was happy to eat his words. This salad was his favorite part of the feast!
Awesome Heidi! Love it!
Excellent salad!! We added grilled chicken and loved the flavor combinations. Thanks for sharing your recipes. This site is my “go to” for recipes now.
Perfect Mary! Glad you enjoyed this!
I plan on making this for Thanksgiving and it looks just wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful recipes! Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks Delia! Enjoy it!
This salad is amazing! Every single component adds flavor. I’ve already made it twice one week. Never had fig jam before, but I could just drink that dressing!
Thanks Lisa! I’ve been making it a lot too. Glad you are enjoying!
Substituted wild blueberry jam for fig jam and goat feta for gorgonzola. Someone mentioned how well the salad flavours played together. I absolutely agree.
Served with Roast Turkey Thighs for Two:
My Sweetie raved about this salad and thoroughly enjoyed it being paired with the turkey thighs.
thanks Martie! Sounds Tasty!
Thank you! amazing..to me it almost tastes like a symphonic orchestra , hints of flavour here and then there’s another flavour jumping out at you in the meantime preserving that harmony..
Love it Nora! Thanks and glad you liked it!
This is the best arugula salad ever! A new favorite.
Thanks Karen, glad you enjoyed this!
Best arugula salad ever!
How do you keep the pear slices from browning?
They don’t seem to here. Maybe the dressing helps prevent this? I just made this again last night for a gathering, and pears didn’t brown. I was actually worried about the same thing since I made the salad ahead. 😉
I made this salad for my vegetarian daughter and we both loved it. YUMMY!! I did not use three pears though, I felt it was too much.
Delicious easy recipe. will make this again for friends.
Thanks Therease, Appreciate this! Gald you enjoyed it.
Oh my gosh – this is amazingly delicious! As soon as I took the first few bites I decided that this would be the main salad for our Thanksgiving dinner, What a perfect combination of flavors and textures! My husband is gone tonight, so for my dinner I’m just going to make this as my entrée along with a slice of homemade sourdough bread. Yum! Thanks for another phenomenal recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this!
Came out wonderfully. It was a whole bunch of distinct flavors punching and playing together nicely. Each forkful was a unique bite, and the colors were lovely too.
Happy this worked for you Chris!
Perfect combination of flavors and textures! I can’t wait to eat it again tomorrow with some grilled chicken (that will also have vanilla fig dressing on it).
I’m so glad you liked this!
Awesome recipe. I haven’t made this yet, but my 5 star review is simply because I know my family will devour this and fight over who gets to kick the bowl!
PS: I am seriously considering making the maple-spiced pumpkin/pecan mix to give as holiday gifts with a recipe card attached for the arugula pear salad.
Also if I was going to eat them without the salad (which is likely going to happen very soon, I might add a 1/4 tsp cayenne to the maple mix to heat things up just a tad!)
Love it Terri! yes, I actually added cayenne, and forgot to add it it here~!
Better than 5 stars as we have garden grown brown turkey figs (just mashed instead of the jam), arugula, and seckel pears to use up. Wowsa! The hubs said I could make money with this salad. I’ll be sure to give you credit. 🙂 It will definitely appear on our table every fall (and a few more times until the figs and pears are gone.) We’re a no-sugar house so the nuts were just toasted and we didn’t use the currants either. Delish! Thank you.
How lucky are you to have fresh figs! I’m a little jealous. Thanks Janet!
All sounds good except for the pomegranate seeds. I’ve never understood why they’re in salads because they are too hard in texture and fo not contribute to the taste. Otherwise I would try this without them.
I really like them here Nanci! They add such a delicious brightness. Plus they are full of polyphenols. But up to you. 😉
I haven”t made this salad, but oh my it looks so delicous! I am not able to do much after spending 160 days in the hospital, but I so look forward to the day I am able to make this salad. I love your web site.
Thanks Tricia-sending you healing energy and prayers for a full recovery. ❤️