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spinach salad on a brown wooden tray topped with pears, pomegranate, gorgonzola and pecans

Easy Spinach Salad with Pears

Amanda
This easy spinach salad with pears is both sweet and savory. Fresh baby spinach is mixed with red anjou pears, pomegranate seeds, caramelized pecans and gorgonzola cheese, then finished off with a homemade pomegranate vinaigrette dressing.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 7 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 396 kcal

Ingredients
  

Caramelized Pecans

  • 2 ounces chopped pecans pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon unsalted butter

Spinach Salad

  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium red anjou pear cored and sliced thinly
  • 2 ounces gorgonzola cheese crumbled
  • 4 ounces pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

Caramelized Pecans

  • Combine the chopped pecans, butter and sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Cook while stirring continuously until the sugar is caramelized and the pecans are slightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.

Spinach Salad

  • On a large platter or in a bowl, layer half of the spinach, with half of the sliced pear, gorgonzola cheese, pomegranate seeds and candied pecans. Repeat with remaining layer of spinach and then toppings.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing

  • In a mason jar or small container with a lid, combine vinegar, oil, juice, salt & pepper. Place the lid on tightly and shake vigorously until well combined. Serve dressing on top of the salad or on the side.

Notes

  • Use baby spinach instead of regular spinach for a more sweet and tender flavor.
  • Either prepackaged pomegranate seeds (or arils) can be used or they can be removed from a whole pomegranate.
  • When caramelizing the pecans, make sure to keep them on medium heat or lower so they don't burn. Stir the pecans frequently during cooking to help with even cooking.
  • When layering the salad, start with half of the spinach and then layer on half of the ingredients. Top with the remaining spinach and toppings to make sure the ingredients are layered throughout.
  • The salad can be dressed right away or the dressing can be served on the side. If the salad will be out for a while or if you expect leftovers, it's best to serve the dressing on the side so it doesn't get soggy.
 

Substitutions and Variations

  • Nuts - Sliced almonds or chopped walnuts can be caramelized instead of the pecans. For less sugar, use regular chopped pecan pieces. The nuts can also be eliminated for a nut free salad.
  • Fruit - Sliced apples can be used instead of pears or fresh berries could also be added.
  • Cheese - Crumbled blue cheese, goat cheese or feta cheese can be used as a substitute. For a dairy free version, simply eliminate the cheese.
  • Big Salad - To bulk this salad up, add grilled chicken strips, shrimp or salmon.
 

Storage Instructions

The salad will keep for a day or two when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, if it is not dressed. If the salad is dressed, it can be stored in the airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cupsCalories: 396kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 7gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 540mgPotassium: 613mgFiber: 5gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 5488IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 155mgIron: 2mg
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