This roasted pear salad recipe is jam packed with flavor. It only has 5 main ingredients and is made with fresh spinach, sweet roasted pears, shredded Parmesan cheese and a balsamic reduction.
I have never been a big fan of pears but this salad may have turned that around for me. It turns out that some fruits are better roasted / cooked and some are better raw. Now you can put a roasted pear on pretty much anything and I am guaranteed to eat it.
This is a great fall fruit recipe. Pears are in season starting around August and various types of pears are in season all the way through May. This means that you have a nice window of time to create this yummy recipe.
- 4 c. raw spinach
- 4 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 ripe green pears
- 5 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 1 c. balsamic vinegar
- Create balsamic reduction – Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to stir occasionally. Keep cooking until liquid reduces to about ⅓ of original volume. Set aside once done.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare the pears – Wash and dry your pears. Cut the pears into ½” wedges. Discard the core.
- Place a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Lay the pear slices on the baking sheet making sure to leave space between each piece. Brush the pears with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
- Bake the pears in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a spatula to flip the pears. Return the pears to the oven and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes until the pears are brown and soft.
- Prepare spinach – Thoroughly wash and dry spinach. Add spinach to a large serving bowl.
- Remove the roasted pears from the oven and allow them to cool slightly.
- Prepare the salad – Add the roasted pears to the bowl with spinach. Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top. Pour over 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drizzle the balsamic reduction on top. Finish with cracked pepper on top, as desired.
How to tell when pears are ripe
To figure out if a pear is ripe and sweetened take it in your hand. Give it a gentle squeeze close to the stem. If it gives a little but isn’t squishy, it is ripe. Pears don’t ripen on the tree. They need some time after they are picked to ripen and turn sweeter.
How to ripen a pear faster
If you have an unripe pear, you can leave it on the counter for a few days. If you want to speed up the ripening of a pear place it in a bowl with bananas and other ripening fruit.
How to store a ripe pear
Once a pear is ripe you can store it in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Keeping a pear in the fridge will slow the ripening process. So if you don’t plan to use the pear for several days, this is a great option to keep your pears fresh.
Which type of pear is best?
There are 10 common varieties of pears. A chose bartlett pears for this recipe but any green pear would serve you well. Bartlett pears are considered to be one of the juiciest pears and I feel like they roast the best in the oven.
Can I use a different cheese?
Heck yeah! If you don’t want to use parmesan cheese on this recipe blue cheese or feta cheese would be other great options. I don’t believe that a cheddar cheese would work well with this salad. The best tip is to stay with a light colored cheese.
Salad Dressing Options
Making a balsamic reduction takes a decent bit of time. If you are in a big hurry to eat, you can drizzle this salad with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A balsamic reduction does create a richer flavor, which is why I have started making it in bulk.
Tips on roasting pears in the oven
- Arrange the pears cut side down on the pan.
- Dry the cut pears with a paper towel before placing them on the baking sheet.
- Finish the pears by broiling them in the oven for 60 seconds. This will just add that extra bit of crisp. (Watch them closely and don’t overcook them.)