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
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 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 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.)