Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
30 mins
Incredibly flavorful, 30-minute pear balsamic salad with dried cherries and easy candied walnuts! A sweet and savory plant-based side or entrée.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Entrée or Side
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 heaping cup (130 g) raw walnuts
  • 2 tsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp (12 g) coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • optional: Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Pinch each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 6-ounce (170 g) bag mixed greens, organic when possible
  • 1 ripe Bosc or Bartlett Pear, thinly sliced lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) dried cherries (or cranberries, though cherries are best!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and add raw walnuts to a bare or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Once oven is preheated, toast walnuts for 7 minutes. Then remove from oven and add remaining ingredients directly to the walnuts (oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, sea salt, cinnamon and cayenne – optional). Use a spatula to thoroughly toss/combine.
  3. Place back in oven and roast for another 4-6 minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  4. In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a jar (or mixing bowl) and shaking vigorously (or whisking) to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more balsamic for acidity, salt or pepper for flavor balance, or olive oil for creaminess. Set aside.
  5. To serve, add greens, half of the sliced pear, dried cherries, and half of the roasted walnuts to a large mixing/serving bowl. Drizzle with a bit of the dressing and toss to combine.
  6. Plate and garnish with remaining pears and walnuts, and serve with remaining dressing. Best when fresh, though leftovers store separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Store walnuts well sealed at room temperature.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 3 servings with dressing.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/3 of salad with dressing Calories: 525 Fat: 45.8 g Saturated fat: 4.3 g Carbohydrates: 24.4 gSugar: 12 g Sodium: 128 mg Fiber: 5.7 g Protein: 12.3 g
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