Winter Pear Salad

8 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Winter Pear Salad with a tangy and sweet balsamic dressing is the perfect addition to your holiday meal with sliced pears, cheese, cranberries, and walnuts.

There are always lots of sweets and heavier main dishes during the holiday season. So, it can be nice to add a lighter Side Dish like this simple but delicious salad to balance things out. Winter Pear Salad is easy to make, festive, and great for a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party. For another amazing salad with in-season fruit try our Fruit Salad with Poppyseed Dressing.

top-down view of Winter Pear Salad


Perfectly ripe pears are a true delight. Their naturally sweet flavor and rich velvety, yet crisp texture make them absolutely irresistible. This seasonal salad is the best way to enjoy them while the fruit is perfectly in season. Although you can find pears at the grocery store year-round, you’ll get the best sweet and tart flavored winter pears during the fall and winter.

Winter pears are slightly different than most fruit because they don’t fully ripen until after they’re harvested. Once the pears are taken from the tree they need 3-4 weeks refrigerated to reach their peak ripeness. At that point, the pears will be perfect in this stunning winter salad. To check if the pears you’re buying are ripe, gently push on the fruit’s neck. If it gives a little, the pears are ripe. If it’s firm, you’ll want to refrigerate them at home until fully ripened.

close-up of Winter Pear Salad

We’ve added a variety of flavors and textures to the wonderful salad to compliment the pears. There are sweet candied walnuts, cranberries, creamy goat cheese, and it’s all laid out over a simple leafy green base. Then the salad with pears is topped off with a tangy vinaigrette to finish it off with amazing zest.

If you’re serving this salad for a holiday get-together or party put it out with your other favorite party appetizers. It would go great with a winter cheese plate, Roasted Shrimp, or a fruit tray with Homemade Dip.



  • Pears: You want to start this recipe by prepping the pears. First, make sure your pears are ripe. Then slice each one in half, and cut out the core before slicing them into thin pieces. Put the pear slices in a bowl and coat them in fresh lemon juice. This is an easy trick to keep them from browning as they sit out.
  • Salad: Next, take out your salad bowl. Add the layer of winter salad greens to the base. Then top that off with the pears, cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Dressing: The best thing about this recipe is the fresh ingredients, so making your own fresh salad dressing to go with it only makes sense. It’s quick and turns out so much more flavorful than a store-bought vinaigrette. Just, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper to a separate bowl. Then whisk together the bowl of dressing until combined. Drizzle the vinaigrette over salad right before serving.

top-down view of Winter Pear Salad


  • Dressing: The great thing about this recipe is that you can make many versatile salads with the same base recipe. An easy way to change up the beautiful salad is by experimenting with the dressing ingredients. For a lemon and poppy seed dressing with a nice tart flavor whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons poppy seeds. If you want a more tart cider dressing, you can replace the balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar. For a slightly more sweet salad, add extra honey according to taste or mix in some dark brown sugar for a deeper sweet flavor.
  • Cheese: You can try out a variety of different cheeses over your crisp winter salad instead of goat cheese. Blue cheese, feta cheese, Swiss cheese, or mozzarella would all taste great.
  • Add-ins: There are plenty of different tasty mix-ins to experiment with in this salad. You could swap walnuts for a different variety of nuts, or just add the extra nuts alongside the candied walnuts. Almonds, pecans, or pistachios would taste great. You can also toss in some extra fruit like raisins, pomegranate arils, orange slices, or kiwi.



  • Serve: After tossing together this delicious salad recipe, you don’t want to leave it out for more than a couple of hours or it will start to wilt.
  • Store: To store Winter Pear Salad, cover it in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container to store in the fridge. It should stay good for 3-5 days. Unfortunately, the salad won’t freeze well, so after 5 days it’s best to throw a fresh batch together.

top-down view of Winter Pear Salad

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Winter Pear Salad

Winter Pear Salad with a tangy and sweet balsamic dressing is the perfect addition to your holiday meal with sliced pears, cheese, cranberries, and walnuts.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder



  • 3 pears
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 ounces salad greens
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese , crumbled

Balsamic Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic , finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • Cut the pears in half, core, and thinly slice.
  • Add to a bowl and coat with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • In a serving bowl layer lettuce, pears, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese.
  • Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper until well blended and set immediately dress the salad.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 568IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Winter Pear Salad collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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    1. So glad the Winter Pear Salad turned out for your Thanksgiving and thank you Amber, for your 5 star rating.