This quick and easy pear and walnut salad, with shavings of parmesan and a simple lemon dressing, is a delicious lunch, side or dinner party starter.
Ready in under 10 minutes this pear salad recipe is an easy, throw together kind of salad. I often make it to accompany barbecued meat or fish, or as a simple lunch with some soup and bread.
Slices of juicy pears are mixed with crunchy walnuts, salty parmesan cheese, and peppery salad leaves. A simple 2 ingredient lemon olive oil dressing brings it all together.
I love using walnuts in salads, especially this beetroot salad with feta and walnuts, and quinoa salad with halloumi and fennel. Not only to they add crunch, but a degree of ‘meatiness’ and substance.
The lemon vinaigrette is just lemon juice whisked with olive oil, salt and black pepper. That’s it! It adds a lovely freshness to the salad, and you can make it a couple of days ahead and store in the fridge until needed.
FAQ and Tips:
Which Pears should I use in this salad?
Use bartlett, packham, or Corella pears (as I’ve used in the images)
How to tell when pears are ripe?
When ripe, pears should give slightly when gently pressed near the stem.
Which Salad leaves should I use in this salad?
I like to use a mixture of rocket (arugula), chicory, curly endive and radicchio, which are often available as a pack of Italian salad leaves. Feel free to use whichever leaves you prefer; you could make the salad with baby spinach, mache, or mizuna. If serving to kids, I use baby spinach and mache, or something sweet rather than bitter.
Can I make this salad ahead?
The dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving it as the oil may solidify slightly.
How do I make parmesan shavings?
Use a vegetable peeler and peel down the edge of the wedge of parmesan, as you would peel a carrot.
Tip: Cut the pears just before you serve them in the salad, as they can begin to brown if left.
Make it your pear walnut salad:
Nuts: You can use pecans or almonds instead of the walnuts.
Cheese: Use goats cheese or blue cheese instead of the parmesan
Vegetarian salad: use a supermarket Italian-style hard cheese, but make sure it states the cheese is vegetarian.
Make it a vegan salad: use a vegan parmesan cheese, or leave out altogether. If you don’t use any cheese substitute then add a pinch more salt to the dressing.
Serving to kids: As mentioned above, I tend to use sweeter lettuce varieties when serving the salad to children, as bitter leaves such as radicchio and endive tend to be left. If younger children are present, then I serve the nuts in a bowl on the table and older family members can help themselves and sprinkle the nuts over the salad before eating.
Why not try…
If you like this recipe, you might also like these other easy salad recipes:
Pear and Walnut Salad
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and black pepper
- 7oz (200g) mixed salad leaves approx 4 handfuls, a combination of rocket, chicory, lambs lettuce
- 1 pear cored and finely sliced
- ½c (50g) walnuts
- ¼c (25g) Parmesan cheese shavings
- In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice with olive oil and season with a little black pepper and pinch of salt (not too much salt as the parmesan cheese is salty)
- Gently toss the leaves with the sliced pear and walnuts.
- Place in serving bowl/plate and scatter over the shaved parmesan.
- Drizzle over the dressing.
- Serve straight away as the pear can go brown.