This is a salad that even the salad haters will love. The vegetables are roasted and served warm, the pecans are toasted and mixed with fresh sliced pears, and the dressing is a apple-honey vinaigrette that binds it all together in perfect harmony. Blend all of that with tangy arugula and top it off with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and you’ve got the perfect fall salad.
The pears, in my opinion, are the stars of this show. They add the sweet, coolness to the salad.
I picked these pears up the other day just because they were beautiful. I spent a whole afternoon taking pictures of pears. I had tons of other things to do, like laundry, dishes, sweeping the sidewalks, but sometimes you just have to let that boring junk go and do what you love. I love a lot of things, but on this day, I loved taking pictures of pears. These pears were my inspiration to post our family’s favorite fall salad.
I like to slice them in different shapes: circles, rectangles, squares. It really doesn’t matter how you slice them, but I always add an artsy look to my salads with several different sizes and shapes.
You’ll need a handful of pearl onions and a fresh beet. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning or your favorite seasoning or salt and pepper will work.
I like to put the onions and beets on a separate pan because the beets will discolor the other vegetables and who cares about the onions. They look great speared with beet juice. Again, this has nothing to do with taste, it’s just for beauty and art.
While the vegetables are roasting, mix up this simple dressing using apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, white pepper and salt. Simple but sensational.
I toast my pecans in the skillet for two reasons: 1.) The oven is busy roasting the vegetables and I want to hurry and 2.) I always burn them in the oven because I forget they are in there. Of course, when I’m not in a hurry and my attention is all on my pecans, I wait until I take my vegetables out of the oven to do the toasting. While my vegetables are cooling a bit, I put my pecans in the oven for just a few minutes. It doesn’t take long to burn them so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Important: You need to cool the vegetables a little because if they’re too hot, the arugula will wilt. When the vegetables are slightly cool, toss them in a bowl with the arugula, sliced pears, and pecans. Pour on the salad dressing, place it all on plates, and top with fresh grated cheese. Okay, I’m going to quit talking and let the pictures talk you into adding this recipe to your list of fall salads.
- 4 cups arugula
- 4 carrots
- 2 parsnips
- 5 radishes
- 1 beet
- 12 pearl onions (any onion will work)
- 2 pears (any type)
- 1 cup pecans
- Pecorino Cheese, grated (just a few ounces to sprinkle on top)
- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ⅓ cup quality olive oil
- Clean and cut the vegetables in thin slices of different shapes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasoning.
- Put the beets and onions on a separate pan to prevent discoloration.
- Roast until tender. About 20 minutes or less. Monitor closely.
- Make the dressing while the vegetables roast: whisk together the honey, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Set aside, but whisk again before pouring onto the salad.
- Toast the pecans in the oven after the vegetables are removed and cooling. Another option is to toast the pecans in a skillet while the vegetables are roasting.
- Slice the pears in fat toothpick-like slices.
- In a bowl, toss the arugula, the slightly cooled vegetables, beats, onions, pecans, pears, and dressing.
- Place on 4-6 plates and top with freshly grated cheese. I like Pecorino, but any Italian cheese would suffice.