A delicious spinach pear salad topped with Gouda cheese, toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds, all tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
This recipe was originally published in 2014. It has been updated with fresh photos, tips and a video in 2019! Same delicious recipe.
When it comes to salads, I’m unapologetically opinionated. It must have something sweet, something savory, something crunchy and something creamy.
This spinach pear salad has all of the above and gets bonus points for the pretty factor. The red + green means it would be perfect to grace your holiday table!
With the toasted hazelnuts and gouda, it feels special, but it can be our secret that it’s incredibly easy to prepare 😉
Reasons you’ll ♡ this spinach pear salad
- it’s simple to prepare but is perfect for a special occasion
- it tastes amazing!!
- it looks beautiful and would be great for a holiday meal
Don’t forget to pin this post to save it for later!
Which ingredients do we need?
- spinach– or any leafy green. Arugula would be a great alternative!
- pomegranate seeds– which you can de-seed in advance. See my method in this How to Eat a Pomegranate post!
- gouda– I went for a regular gouda, but you could be adventurous and try different flavors! If you can’t find gouda, goat cheese or feta cheese would be a delicious alternative.
- pear– a used a Bartlett pear for this recipe but really any pear will be great in this pear salad including Bosc or Anjou.
- hazelnuts– be sure to take the extra time to toast them…this makes ALL the difference in this salad! If you are short on hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts would be a great alternative.
- white wine vinaigrette– we are using my favorite white wine vinaigrette in this recipe. It is tangy but neutral and lets all the other flavors shine.
How to make this pear salad recipe
The best thing about this pear salad recipe (other than the amazing flavors, of course) is the fact that you can prep components ahead.
- toast hazelnuts– I highly recommend doing this as it brings out so much more flavor. This can be done a week or more ahead of time!
- de-seed pomegranate– do this up to 3 days ahead and store in the fridge.
- shake up vinaigrette– can be done up to a week ahead.
- things to do right before serving– cube gouda, chop pear, toss salad in vinaigrette.
This salad is absolutely delicious, but it does not keep well. I recommend not doing step 4 until right before you are ready to eat. After dressing, the salad is good for about an hour.
Does this pear salad recipe work for meal prep? Unfortunately this salad is not great for meal prep thanks to the pears. If you left off the pears, it *might* work layered in a mason jar keeping leafy greens away from the dressing, but I have not tested.
Can I swap an ingredient in this recipe? Yes, this is an extremely flexible recipe! Check the ‘ingredients’ section above for swap suggestions.
What to serve with spinach pear salad? This is a great holiday meal and goes well with a number of sides and entrees. Here are some suggestions:
- Salmon– two of my faves are this Balsamic Salmon Marinade or this Herb Crusted Broiled Salmon
- Chicken– these Perfect Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs are perfect for a fancier dinner.
- Potatoes– try these fun Herb & Garlic Potato Stacks, or this potato alternative: Fluffy Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
- Roasted Veggies– these Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts and this Maple Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash would both be great.
Tips & equipment for perfect pear salad:
- shake up your salad dressing in 1/2 pint mason jars or this salad dressing shaker
- see my favorite method for de-seeding a pomegranate in this How to Eat a Pomegranate post!
- looking for more fall salad recipes? Try this Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts, this Winter Balsamic Kale Salad with Havarti Crisps or this Fennel and Pomegranate Quinoa Salad
Spinach Pear Salad with Gouda & Hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)
- 5 oz baby spinach (140g)
- 1 pear (cubed)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup Gouda cheese (cubed)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a pan, toast hazelnuts over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown. This will take around 10 minutes.
- Shake together all vinaigrette ingredients.
- Combine all salad ingredients and toss in dressing. Serve immediately.