Are you looking for a simple, healthy salad that is bursting with flavor? This Red Pear and Maple Walnut Salad is the one for you. It is so easy to make and perfect for clean eating.
If you are looking for salad dressing ideas, let me recommend a few I love. Balsamic Poppyseed is a delicious dressing that would pair perfectly with this salad. Or what about a creamy apple cider dressing? Also a really great choice! Last, about a red wine vinaigrette?
What makes this recipe so good?
It is a simple salad using fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. I always try and make sure I am using what is in season in my dishes and with this salad you can do this. These are all late summer/fall produce. They are also really easy to find.
Sometimes salads can get boring. Adding in the maple-sweetened walnuts is a great way to mix it up. They add the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch that really set this salad off.
This salad is simple to put together. There is nothing complicated about it. In fact, you can make the walnuts in advance, then when you are ready, simply throw it all together and enjoy.
If you are working on healthy eating and looking for whole foods, this salad can answer all those. It has a spinach base (or whatever greens you like). It is topped with yummy fruits and heart-healthy nuts as well.
- Greens- I really like spinach in this salad. It is a personal favorite with pears, but you can use any greens you like. Kale would work well, as would mixed baby greens. Or you can use iceberg or butter if you prefer a milder flavor.
- Red Pears- Of course, you can use any pear you like, but red pears are so pretty in this salad as they contrast the greens.
- Blackberries- Honestly, any berry will do. Again, I personally like the pear-blackberry combo.
- Walnuts- Or another nut of choice. Walnuts or pecans both work well in this salad.
- Butter- it doesn't take much but makes a difference.
- Vanilla- this is optional, but I like the flavor it adds to the walnuts.
- Pure maple syrup- DO NOT use maple-flavored syrups, this needs to be pure maple syrup or it won't work.
- Dressing of choice- I listed a few recipes above, but really this salad can be eaten without it too!
How to make
Start with the maple walnuts. They are the most time-consuming, so they need to be made first.
- Combine all ingredients in the saucepan.
- Bring to a boil for a minute or 2 over medium heat.
- Pour over the walnuts and mix well.
- Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake.
- Remove and let the walnuts cool.
- Once the nuts have cooled, assemble your salad.
Tips and recommendations
- It is really easy to make the walnuts in advance. If you do, store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- I added my walnuts whole to the salad, but you can also chop them into smaller pieces. It just depends on what you like.
- The quality of your salad will depend on the quality of your ingredients. Take your time and check for bruising, wilted lettuce, and mold in the produce.
- If you want to use this for meal prep, I would recommend keeping everything separate until you are ready to eat it. The pears will brown and the lettuce will get wilted if you put it all together too early.
- This salad is delicious with or without salad dressing. The fruits and nuts add so much flavor, it can certainly hold their own.
Maple Sweetened Walnuts
- 2 cups whole or walnuts piuces I prefer whole walnuts, but you can use pieces if you prefer
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the pan aside.
- Add maple syrup, butter, and salt to a small pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to boil for 1 minute. remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
- Place walnuts in a small bowl and pour maple syrup over walnuts. Mix well.
- Pour onto a baking sheet.
- Place in oven and bake for 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- You can leave the walnuts whole, break them up or even chop them.
- They are best used right away, but they are also really good later. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days.