This pear and pomegranate salad has a beautiful mix of color and flavor. You’ll love the simple dressing that ties it all together! (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Whew! We’re knee-deep (okay, fine! neck deep!) in holiday sweets and treats over here, but today I wanted to pop in with a quick little salad you can tuck into your holiday menu.
A pretty little side salad can be just the ticket on a holiday table (or a weeknight table, let’s be honest!), and this Pear Pomegranate Salad is so lovely. There’s a gorgeous mix of colors and flavors that makes it feel really special, without a lot of extra fuss.
There’s creamy avocado, crunch from the nuts, fresh greens, sweet pear, and little jewel-like pomegranate seeds to top the whole thing off. And don’t forget about the dynamite dressing!
Here’s what you’ll need to get started on this simple salad…
HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO OUR PEAR & POMEGRANATE SALAD:
- MIXED GREENS. You can use all kinds of greens for pear pomegranate salad, but my favorite is spring mix or 50/50 spring mix and spinach. I love the darker color (it makes the other colors pop!) and the flavor goes really beautifully with the other salad mix-ins.
- A PEAR. Next up is a diced or sliced pear. Long slices can look extra elegant, while dices can be easier to eat. I like to choose a ripe (but still firm) pear so it holds its shape. Any ripe pear will do–Bartlett, D’Anjou, red, Bosc, etc. I used Bartlett for these photos.
- AN APPLE. An apple is lovely paired with the pear (say that 10x fast!). I like to choose something bright with some fresh crunch, like a Honeycrisp apple. A Fuji or Opal apple can be lovely, too!
- POMEGRANATE ARILS. Now comes the prettiest part of the salad–the pomegranate seeds! Pomegranate seeds (called arils) look like little gems on a salad like this, and their sweet-tart flavor is in beautiful balance with the pears. (PS – Check out the FAQ below for tips on seeding a pomegranate!)
- AVOCADO. I couldn’t help it! I love adding a bit of avocado to a salad like this. The creaminess makes this pear pomegranate salad feel a bit luxurious and the neutral flavor plays nicely with the others!
- CANDIED OR TOASTED NUTS. For some crunch, I love adding nuts. I’ve made this with ALL kinds of nuts over the years–almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios… all of them are delicious. My favorites are these naturally-sweetened candied pecans, some toasted almonds, or salty pistachios.
- A SIMPLE, SWEET DRESSING. To tie everything together, I top my pear and pomegranate salad with a simple sweet dressing. It’s got some tang from the vinegar, plus a little sweetness to play off the other flavors in the salad. It’s so lovely!
MIX-IT UP! TRY ONE OF THESE TASTY VARIATIONS ON OUR PEAR POMEGRANATE SALAD.
- ADD A LITTLE ONION. For some depth and a little bite, you can totally add in some sliced or minced red onion to this salad. Looking for something milder? Go with snipped chives! You get that onion flavor without any of the intense bite of raw onions.
- TRY IT WITH CHICKEN! Take this pear pomegranate salad from side dish to main dish by filling it out with a little diced, shredded, or grilled chicken. It’s lovely and simple!
- OR, ADD BACON. My mother-in-law often adds a little crumbled bacon to her pomegranate salads around the holidays, and it’s delicious! I love the smoky, salty notes with the fresh, sweet flavors of the salad.
- SWAP OUT THE NUTS. One easy way to play with the flavors in this pear pomegranate salad is to mix up the nuts. Try candied walnuts, some salty pistachios, maple candied pecans (SO GOOD), toasted almonds, etc. Whatever sounds good!
- SPRINKLE ON A LITTLE CHEESE. If you tolerate dairy, a little salty feta, Cotija, or even blue cheese can add a lovely savory note to some of the sweet flavors going on. Feel free to add some to taste!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST PEAR POMEGRANATE SALAD:
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS. Like most green salads, this pear pomegranate salad is best when made right before serving. If you want to do some of the prep ahead of time, the dressing will easily keep for a week in the refrigerator. You can also wash + prep your greens, toast or candy your nuts, and seed your pomegranate. Store all the components separately until just before serving, then add the freshly sliced pear and avocado on top!
OUR FAVORITE GREENS FOR PEAR POMEGRANATE SALAD. You can use many different kinds of greens for pear pomegranate salad (spinach, arugula, green leaf, etc.), but my favorite is spring mix or a 50/50 mix of spring mix and spinach. The dark greens and purples really make the colors pop and they go beautifully with the dressing and mix-ins!
HOW TO SEED A POMEGRANATE. If you’re staring at the pomegranate you brought home from the store and don’t exactly know how to open it to get the seeds out, I’ve got a step-by-step tutorial for you here. It’s a lot less intimidating once you’ve seen it!
CRAVING MORE? YOU MIGHT ALSO LOVE:
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (Vegan + Dairy-Free + Whole30-Friendly)
- Glazed Roasted Carrots (Vegan + Paleo)
- Sparkling Citrus Pomegranate Mocktail (Non-alcoholic + kid-friendly!)
- Paleo or Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cinnamon Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- The BEST Vegan Chocolate Pie
- Winter Fruit Salad