Just because it’s 20 below outside doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a nice salad. Besides, who said salads have to be cold and only eaten during the warmer months? It is possible for them to be slightly comforting and still be good for you. While you usually find baked pears or apples gracing your plate for dessert, for this one it’s proudly displayed on a bed of peppery arugula. Add some baked goat cheese, a sprinkle of pomegranate arils and drizzle of tangy pomegranate mustard salad dressing and this winter salad is the perfect way to start a meal.
Sometimes you just have to step up your game, you know? We eat a lot of salads around here…a LOT. But they’re usually the main course salad type – steak on a salad, chicken on a salad, stuff like that. It’s pretty unusual for me to make a multi-course dinner just for us. Sure, it’s nice but the reality is our eating schedule (usually around 8 or 9) doesn’t afford us the time to eat multiple courses. So dinner salads make things easy…plus they’re pretty healthy (which is especially good considering how late we sit down to eat).
This winter salad is different. I suppose you could make it bigger (like adding some crumbled bacon) and turn it into a meal, but the baked pear and warm goat cheese really make this a bit of a luxury. So it would be totally worth it to have a
multi two course dinner when this salad is on the menu. It’s just the kind of thing you need to remind yourself to slow down and enjoy things a little more.
You’re going to love how quickly this salad comes together too. When those pears go into the oven, not only are you making baked pears, you’re also baking the cheese because it gets spooned on top of the pears just before they go into the oven. While the pears, and cheese, are baking you can whip up the salad dressing (yes, I just said make your own salad dressing). No fancy equipment needed for that – a bowl and a fork is all you need to make the dressing ingredients come together.
So let’s mix things up a bit by making a winter salad, using baked pears for a part of the meal other than dessert and start making your own salad dressing. Hey, you might even be making a New Year’s resolution you’ll keep.
- For Winter Salad
- 2 Large Bartlett Pears
- 4 Tablespoons Goat Cheese
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 5 Ounce Package Baby Arugula
- Pomegranate Arils
- For Salad Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons Brown (Dijon) Mustard
- 1½ Tablespoons Pomegranate Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil (or Olive Oil)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
- Cover baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- Wash and slice pears in half lengthwise then remove the core.
- Carefully slice pears lengthwise, without cutting through the top of the pear, into even strips. Then gently press on pear to slightly fan it out.
- Spoon goat cheese into center of each pear half and gently press it into an even layer.
- Lay the pear halves onto the lined baking sheet and top the cheese with a few grinds of pepper.
- Bake pears for 15-20 minutes. You want the pears to get a bit golden on the edges and to soften up a bit, but not get mushy. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While pears are baking, divide arugula between 4 plates.
- For Salad Dressing
- Add the mustard, vinegar and oil to a small bowl and mix well with a fork. The mustard will help to keep the salad dressing from separating.
- For Salad Assembly
- Carefully remove the baked pears from the baking sheet and nestle each of them on to one of the arugula filled plates.
- Sprinkle pomegranate arils over each of the plates then drizzle with salad dressing.
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