Enjoy the many textures and flavors of fall in this elegant Spinach Pear Salad. Creamy goat cheese, juicy pears, roasted sweet potatoes, and earthy greens are tossed in a maple balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect for dinner parties and holidays alike!
Making This Elegant Spinach and Pear Salad
If you’re looking for a leafy green salad that celebrates the diverse flavors of fall, you have to make this arugula and spinach salad tossed with pears, sweet potatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and more!
The various textures in this salad keep me going back for bite after bite. And the maple balsamic vinaigrette complements the salad ingredients without overpowering them.
This simple recipe for spinach pear salad can do double duty as a side dish or main course, depending on your hunger levels.
As written, it’s a hearty vegetarian fall green salad, but you’re welcome to add sliced hard-boiled eggs, meal prepped chicken, or another protein of choice if enjoying the salad on its own.
Prepare this salad for an upcoming dinner party, or add it to your Thanksgiving or Christmas menus. I’ve provided make-ahead instructions for this recipe in the post below should you want to prepare elements of the salad in advance before your guests arrive!
Tools You’ll Need for This Recipe
Like all good salad recipes, you need very little equipment to prepare this goat cheese, spinach, and pear number.
- Cutting board and sharp knife – to cut the sweet potatoes before roasting
- Baking sheet or cast iron pan – for roasting the sweet potatoes
- Salad spinner – to dry the spinach and arugula after washing
- Measuring cups and spoons – to measure the ingredients
- Glass measuring cup and whisk – to make the sweet and tangy balsamic dressing
- Serving platter or salad bowl – to serve the salad
Spinach Pear Salad Recipe Ingredients
This spinach and arugula pear salad has three main components: the maple balsamic dressing, the roasted sweet potatoes (which must be prepared in advance), and the rest of the salad fixings.
Here’s an overview of the ingredients needed to make this recipe:
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Dijon Mustard
- Maple Syrup
- Salt and Pepper
For the Sweet Potatoes:
- Olive Oil (or clarified butter)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder)
- Fresh Sage and Thyme
For the Salad:
- Baby Arugula
- Baby Spinach
- Fresh Pears
- Pomegranate Arils
- Red Onion
- Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
- Crumbled Goat Cheese
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make this fresh spinach salad with juicy, sweet pears, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
How to Make a Spinach Pear Salad
This is a straightforward recipe that’s easy to follow, but be sure to give yourself enough time to roast the sweet potatoes before serving the salad. While the sweet potatoes roast, I recommend preparing the other ingredients for the salad.
Step 1: Prepare the Balsamic Dressing
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or small bowl. Shake or whisk to combine.
Step 2: Roast the Sweet Potatoes
- Toss the sweet potatoes together with the olive oil and spices.
- Transfer to a cast iron or baking sheet pan and roast until evenly browned.
- Once done, remove from the oven and stir in the fresh herbs.
Step 3: Assemble the Salad
- In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and arugula. Then, arrange on a large platter (or toss in a salad bowl and simply leave in the bowl).
- Top with the roasted sweet potatoes, pears, pomegranate arils, red onion, and pumpkin seeds.
- Drizzle the salad with the maple balsamic vinaigrette, then top with crumbled goat cheese.
The above is simply a quick summary of this pear spinach salad recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Spinach Pear Salad Make-Ahead Instructions
I do NOT recommend assembling the entire salad in advance as the spinach and arugula would soften and the dish would become soggy. However, you can prepare elements of this spinach and pear salad ahead of time!
- Prepare the balsamic vinaigrette in advance – the dressing for this spinach and pear salad can be whisked together and stored up to 1 week in the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving; the oil solidifies in the refrigerator and needs time to become pourable once more.
- Roast the sweet potatoes in advance – the sweet potatoes can be roasted and refrigerated up to three days before being used. Bring them to room temperature before serving the salad. I recommend reheating them gently in a pan before serving; however, you can also add them to the spinach pear salad cold.
- Wash the salad greens ahead of time – you can wash, rinse, and dry the greens a few days in advance of serving this fall pear salad. Make sure you dry them well, then store in a zip top bag or container with a piece of paper towel inside to absorb excess moisture.
Tips for Making a Salad with Pears
- Use two different kinds of pears — This provides slightly different flavors and textures than using just one type of pear. However, use whatever you have on hand!
- Use ripe pears — To test a pear’s ripeness, apply gentle pressure near the stem of the pear; if it gives slightly, it’s ripe. You want to use ripe pears so they’re juicy and provide maximum flavor.
- Use a blend of greens — I love making this pear salad with both spinach and arugula for lots of texture and flavor. We love the earthly spinach paired with the peppery arugula, but use what you have. Any leafy salad greens may be used!
- Buy pre-packaged pomegranate arils — I prefer buying a whole pomegranate and seeding it myself to reduce my family’s plastic waste, but when I’m short on time I like to purchase pre-packaged pomegranate arils at the grocery store. That way, all I have to to is open the package and measure out the arils before adding them to the spinach pear salad.
- Feel free to mix and match the ingredients — This is a flexible recipe, so use what you have on hand and feel free to mix and match!
Spinach Pear Salad Recipe FAQs
Got questions about how to make this recipe for spinach pear salad? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.
What Are the Best Pears for a Salad?
Whichever kind you have in your produce drawer!
But seriously though, you can use any type of snacking pear you like in this fall or winter pear salad. I recommend using two different varieties of pears for a more nuanced flavor profile overall — but use any variety you like.
I typically use one red pear and one D’Anjou or Bartlett Pear because those are the kinds my family likes. Red pears are mild in flavor, sweet, and very smooth in texture; D’Anjou and Bartlett pears are also sweet and juicy, but are slightly firmer in texture.
I can’t find red pears, what should I use isntead?
If you can’t find red pears, you can either use additional D’Anjou or Bartlett Pears in place. Or, if you still want a pop of color I recommend using honey crisp apples in place of the red pear.
What Can I Substitute for Pepitas?
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add a lovely crunch and subtle flavor to the salad. If you don’t have any pepitas, swap them out with toasted sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, or pecans.
Candied walnuts would be an extra delicious substitution as well!
What Can I Substitute for Goat Cheese?
If you’re out of goat cheese or aren’t a fan of it, you may replace it with blue cheese (my top choice), feta, Parmesan, or sharp white cheddar.
Can I Add a Protein to This Salad?
Yes! For an even heartier spinach and arugula pear salad, add cubed or shredded chicken, sliced hard-boiled eggs, or another protein of choice. It is especially delicious with leftover roasted chicken.
For a vegetarian option, you could also try adding cannellini beans.
What to Serve with the Spinach Pear Salad
This is the perfect leafy green fall salad to serve alongside your favorite mains. Pair the salad with one of the following:
- Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker Ham Soup
- Orange Almond Chicken and Rice
- Baked Honey Mustard Chicken
- Apple Cider Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Chuck Roast
- Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Try This Pear Salad Recipe at Home!
Next time you’re looking for savory pear recipes, give this spinach pear salad a try!
Did you think it was easy to make? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of it!
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this hearty fall salad!
More Easy Fall Salad Ideas:
In this Massaged Kale Salad recipe, kale is lightly massaged with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, it’s tossed with roasted delicata squash, roasted red onions, herbed goat cheese, and pepitas.
This Roasted Butternut Squash Salad is so full of color! The sweet and salty bites of butternut squash pair well with the juicy pomegranate arils, fresh greens, bold Roquefort cheese, and candied walnuts. This butternut squash salad is the perfect addition to any fall or winter meal!
This Italian Mixed Greens Salad features a mix of arugula, radicchio, and baby kale tossed with a simple lemon Dijon vinaigrette and topped with crispy prosciutto and fresh shaved parmesan.
Do you love Olive Garden’s famous house salad? Learn how simple it is to make at home with this Olive Garden salad recipe so you can enjoy your favorite flavors without the cost of eating out!
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What is your favorite healthy side dish for fall?
Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Ghee/Clarified Butter
- 3 cups Sweet Potatoes (peels on), cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 2 teaspoons Fresh Sage, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 2 cups Baby Arugula
- 4 cups Baby Spinach
- Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes, see above
- 1 Red Pear, halved and sliced thin
- 1 D’Anjou or Bartlett Pear, halved and sliced thin
- ½ cup Pomegranate Arils
- ⅓ of a small Red Onion, cut in half and sliced thin
- ¼ cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
- 4 ½ ounces crumbled Goat Cheese
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preparing the Dressing
- Add all of the ingredients to a mason jar. Secure the lid and shake until combined.
- Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together in a glass measuring cup using a whisk.
Roasting the Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the sweet potatoes together with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then, transfer to a cast iron pan and roast for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring periodically so all sides are evenly browned.
- When the sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, remove from the oven and stir the fresh herbs in. Set aside.
Assembling the Salad
- Gently toss the spinach and arugula together. Then, arrange on a large platter. Top with the sweet potatoes, pears, pomegranate arils, red onion, and pumpkin seeds.
- Drizzle the salad with the maple balsamic vinaigrette, then top with crumbled goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Meal Prep Tips
Salad dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, or until the oil is no longer solidified and the dressing is pourable. Whisk to combine any separated ingredients before dressing the salad.
Roasted sweet potatoes can be prepared 1 - 2 days in advance. Reheat gently in a cast iron pan on the stove to warm and re-crisp them before assembling the rest of the salad.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 624mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 8gSugar: 19gProtein: 8g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.