Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette

 Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.

You’re going to laugh when you read this (true) story, but I’m thinking some of you might be able to identify. There may be even a few who can top this. It’s been a bit crazy here at The Café lately with Christmas preparations and activities. Just like at your house I’m sure, there’s been decorating, shopping, cooking, baking and all the usual pre-holiday hustle and bustle. On top of that we’ve had fun birthdays to celebrate and dear family arriving all the way from England.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself having to operate at a little higher gear than usual: sometimes lately it seems like I’ve had to crank it into overdrive. Do you know what I mean?

No?  Let me give you a little scenario that will explain precisely what I’m talking about.  You see, it’s exactly what happened as I created and prepared this delicious Roasted Pear Salad w/ Dried Cranberries, Gorgonzola, Sweet ‘n Smoky Pistachios & Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette.

My husband was working from home one day earlier this week. I wanted to prepare something yummy  for lunch since we’d been having so many quick and not-always-so-healthy meals on-the-go recently and lots of rich holiday food to boot. I started working on a salad that would be a light and special lunch that day, while at the same time, I could use it as a festive addition to one of our family Christmas meals.

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.

I had some pretty pears, a bag of shelled pistachios and a wedge of creamy gorgonzola – it didn’t take long for a fresh and fun salad to start evolving in my mind. A peek in the pantry revealed a bottle of champagne vinegar just crying to be used and that seemed to seal the deal.

 Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.

I decided to roast and caramelize the pears for my lunch/holiday creation. So this is where the funny part comes in. In order to roast pears without them softening them too much and turning the lovely fruit to mush before they begin to caramelize, it’s important to start with a very high oven temperature. As in 500˚F. high! Of course, it’s crucial at this elevated temperature that you watch the pears like a hawk. They will go from beautifully golden and caramelized to horribly black and burned in no-time flat.

I’d gotten going in the kitchen early that morning; the pistachios were cooling on the counter, all golden and glistening, the dressing ingredients were sweetly melding in a pretty carafe and I was getting the pears ready to roast. Suddenly I realized I hadn’t had my shower yet, oh my goodness. I popped the pears into the hot oven, set the timer for five minutes and flew (ran) upstairs. I warmed the shower water, stepped (jumped) in, washed and conditioned my hair (the conditioner was down to the dregs so I had to add water and shake it to get the last drops), washed the important parts, stepped (jumped) out, dried off, threw on my robe, combed my hair, rubbed cream on my face, ran down the steps and GUESS WHAT? I had 23 seconds left on the timer!  “YES!”, I said to myself, pumping my fist into the air.  So, can you top that one?  Do you understand now what I mean by “a higher gear”?

 Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.

Anyway, I flipped the pears and within 15 minutes and a few more flips, the were emerging from the oven golden and beautifully caramelized. I was clean as a whistle and had only to dry my hair to be ready for the rest of the day.

We LOVED the salad and are looking forward to enjoying it again over the long holiday weekend. If you’re looking for a light, delicious addition to one of your holiday meals, you’ve come to the right place! You can also make this a meal on it’s own by adding lean chicken, shrimp, pork, leftover steak or other protein. This one has all the makings of a Café Little Black Dress Recipe!

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.

Be sure to set a timer as you roast the pears! Oh, and don’t be surprised at what you accomplish between the beeps!

Print

Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.
  • Author:
  • Category: Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup Champagne vinegar (I love the Trader Joe’s Champagne vinegar)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well.
Print

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Honey Vinaigrette Dressing - a delicious, combination of flavors with the delightful flavor of roasted pears.

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette

  • Author:
  • Category: Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 medium firm Anjou or Bartlett pears, halved and cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups arugula*
  • 4 cups butter lettuce*, or use your favorite greens or whatever looks freshest at the market
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ cup Sweet & Smokey Pistachios (if you’re in a hurry, just use shelled, salted, roasted pistachios from the market)
  • Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette, recipe above

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 500˚F. Line a sheet pan with heavy-duty foil and spray generously with cooking spray.
  2. Place pears on prepared sheet pan. Toss with the melted butter, oil and sugar. Spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 minutes then flip slices to other side. Continue to roast until tender and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes more. (Watch carefully, because at this temperature pears can easily burn!) Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. For the salad, combine lettuces and arrange on 6 salad plates. Divide dried cranberries and gorgonzola evenly over the greens. Drizzle lightly with vinaigrette then scatter pistachios evenly over the salads. Pass extra dressing at the table.

Notes

You can use any combination of lettuces, but I think arugula and butter lettuce are especially nice. The deep green arugula is spicy and has a touch of delightful bitterness, the butter lettuce compliments it perfectly being pale green, sweet and mild.



37 thoughts on “Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne-Honey Vinaigrette”

  • I made this salad last night and it was amazing! The sweet & smoky pistachios were wonderful. I didn’t have the applewood smoked salt, or smoked paprika, so I just omitted it & used sea salt. The recipe makes about twice as many pistachios as you need for the salad, but I’m so happy to have the leftovers…delicious! Thanks for another amazing salad!

  • Way to put a lovely salad together! Looks quite tastay and substantial / filling!

    I know how ironic it is sometimes when we are preparing our holiday meals, we end up eating take-away or junk foods because we want to savethe best for the party – hehe. I found myself in this situation a few times this past week – hehe!

  • What a lovely salad! I stopped by to wish you and those you love a Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Hugs and Christmas blessings…Mary

  • What a beautiful salad, Chris. January will have lots of salads on the menu to make up for this month and I’m going to start with this recipe. Merry Christmas best wishes to you and your family.

  • I call that a high school gym class shower. You know the one you take before you have to be at your next class.

    This salad looks so good. I think this one would be good after the holidays when we all have had too much of everything.

  • LOL, mine certainly would have burned, the fire department called b/c the smoke detector went off, and my hair would be wild all day due to no time to blow dry! This is the salad I’ve been waiting for…I’m bringing salad and dessert to a NYD pitch in…and this will be perfect! Merry Christmas, Chris!!! xo

  • Thanks Lora, hope you have a blessed Christmas! I’m not sure what happened with the printable recipe but I’ve fixed it so it should work. Let me know if there’s a problem, Chris

  • Impressive time-management skills! 😀
    This salad looks delightful…just the sort of lite fare needed after all the heavy eating I’ve done (and will continue to do!).

  • Beautiful salad;-)
    This is a busy time of year-I like your quick shower story-willl have to remember that next time I turn on my kitchen timer;-)
    Have a very Merry Christmas Chris;-)

  • What energy! I know I would have had a few crispy pears! The salad looks lovely and sounds delicious…anything with gorgonzola has to be spectacular! 🙂

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Enjoy the holidays…

  • What a hoot! This time of year forces us into challenges we probably should never try to repeat. Showers in less than 5 minutes are not too relaxing.

    Did anyone else have the champagne vinaigrette not appear on the printable recipe version, or is my computer auto-editing again?

  • That is a super speedy shower Chris! I do that with the timer too actually. See how much I can get done…even with the kettle boiling. It’s high-gear here too at the moment. I wish I could come up with such a healthy delicious lunch in amongst the madness.

  • You are to funny! You took a shower and put cream on your face in less then 5 minutes? I bow down to you!! I can take a 5 minute shower no problem, but there is no way I can put cream on and have time to throw a robe on and run down the stairs! My pears would have burned! You are good!! Your salad looks and sounds amazing! I have pears and all the ingredients for the salad, thik I’m going to try this for my luncnh tomorrow!! Happy Holidays!!

  • Hi Chris, love your high gear humour. 🙂

    Your salad sure look appetizing and beautiful combination. Love the color. Excellent click!

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.

  • Oh my, that looks delicious. After eating sweets nonstop since Thanksgiving, my body is screaming for healthier fare. I think I’ll try this salad after picking up a few things at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday.

  • What a beautiful salad and fun story to go with it. It is soooo obvious that you are so much younger than I am…ha ha. I would have never been able to accomplish that. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  • Another awesome-sounding salad recipe from the Cafe! I look forward to trying this.

    I cannot imagine taking that quick of a shower. In these cold, winter months, when the hot water feels SO heavenly, the ONLY thing that can get me out of the shower in less than 12 minutes is if the waters goes cold!!

    Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas.

    Love,
    Patti

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