Why are so many vegetarian cookbook authors bashful or apologetic about salads? Not me! I’m proud of my salads: I love serving them to others, and I enjoy eating them myself. Done right, salads are interesting, delicious, and nutritious. What’s to be afraid of?
This is – no apologies – one of my classic favorites: Arugula Pear Walnut Salad. I’ve been making this salad for so long it’s hard to say where the idea originally came from. I believe it just evolved over the years through experiments, dozens of dinner parties, light lunches, and the simple need for a great meal opener for any season.
Sure, some people don’t like salads. But who doesn’t like pears and walnuts? Sneak some crunchy, baby arugula under there, splash some quick lemon balsamic dressing on top… you got a keeper.
Just in case I need to tell you this: like with most raw or almost raw dishes, the taste and flavor are greatly determined by the quality of your ingredients. Go for good, organic baby arugula when possible. Find a nice, moderately ripe pear. Crack shelled walnuts for the freshest flavor. You get the idea already.
Arugula Pear Walnut Salad
serves 2 / time 20 min
2 cups / 65 g arugula greens
1/2 pear sliced thin, lengthwise
1/4 cup walnuts medium-sized pieces
pinch black pepper ground
1/2 tspn unrefined sugar
1/2 tspn olive oil
- Sort, wash, dry arugula. Arrange on serving plates, set aside.
- Heat oil in small frying pan on medium high. Add pear slices, sprinkle with pepper, salt. Sear until browned and soft, about 2-3 min each side, shifting in pan regularly.
- Remove pear slices, cool on separate plate.
- Add walnut pieces, pepper, salt to pan. Begin to roast on medium high, stirring constantly, about 1 min.
- Sprinkle with sugar, toss and mix well until sugar melts and coats walnuts, about 1 min. (Turn off heat and remove from pan immediately if it starts to burn or smoke!)
- Turn off heat, move walnuts to plate with pears to cool.
- After pears and walnuts have cooled, arrange on arugula greens.
Lemon Balsamic Dressing:
2 tspn olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tspn balsamic vinegar
1/2 tspn agave syrup or unrefined sugar
pinch black pepper ground
- Whisk all ingredients in a glass or bowl.
- Taste and adjust if necessary.
- Garnish with sprouts or a sprig of fresh parsley or basil.
- Dress salad and serve, or serve with dressing on side.
Lemon juice can be replaced with +1 tspn balsamic or rice vinegar. Instead of agave / sugar, try 1/2 tspn raspberry or strawberry jam. Granny Smith or other crisp apples work in place of pears. Sunflower seeds, pecans or other nuts can be used in place of walnuts.