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A fantastic salad combining Mixed Greens with Pears, Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans – all tossed in a simple homemade vinaigrette.
Today we’re sharing a truly amazing salad recipe – Mixed Greens with Pears, Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans.
This is a quick, and super delicious salad that makes our guests go crazy (in a good way) anytime we serve it!
Mixed greens are topped with sweet, juicy Bartlett pear slices and sweet-tart dried cranberries. Then, some thinly-sliced red onions are added to balance the sweetness of the two fruits with a fresh and zesty bite.
The whole salad is lightly tossed with our go-to Favorite Vinaigrette – a versatile dressing made with Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar – that complements just about any salad you can make! Finally, creamy goat cheese is sprinkled on top, along with our terrific spiced pecans that are salty, sweet and spicy all at the same time!
This salad is a wonderful combination of textures and flavors, and we’ve been asked for this recipe every time we serve it!
This salad can also be varied a bit with different cheeses or different salad dressings. Served with some warm crusty bread, this salad is a very filling lunch, or it would be a great start to a special dinner party!
Chef’s Tip – Consider making a double batch of these fried nuts so you always have some on hand.
- The combination of flavors and textures in every delicious bite will make your taste buds very happy!
- It’s a pretty salad – and perfect for any special meal.
- This salad comes together quickly, especially if you have the pecans and dressing already made.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Mixed Salad Greens – You can buy the pre-packed Spring mix at the supermarket, or make your own with a combination of fresh baby greens, baby spinach, arugula, radiccio, or any other salad greens you enjoy.
- Bartlett Pears – These sweet, firm but tender, and juicy pears are ideal for salad. (See the Chef’s Tip below on how to stop the pears from oxidizing and turning brown.) Anjou pears are another option – although they have a firmer texture than the Bartlett.
- Goat Cheese – Also known as chèvre, this creamy, tangy cheese is a perfect complement to the other flavors and textures in the salad. If you aren’t a fan, other cheese options include blue cheese, gorgonzola, or feta cheese. Just note that some of these alternatives will introduce other flavors to your salad – but it will still be delicious!
- Red Onion – Don’t skip the red onion – the fresh, oniony bite helps balance the other rich and sweet flavors in this salad.
- Dried Cranberries – This dried fruit adds a sweet-tart flavor to the salad. You can swap in dried cherries if you prefer.
- Spiced Pecans – Click here to read all about how to make these sweet and spicy nuts!
- Our Favorite Vinaigrette – Click here for the recipe. This is a simple Dijon mustard vinaigrette that is our go-to homemade dressing for mixed green salads. It mixes up in just minutes, but if you prefer, you can swap in a bottled Dijon vinaigrette.
Chef’s Tip – After peeling and slicing your pears, place them in a bowl of cold water and lemon juice. The citrus from the lemon helps stop the pears from turning brown after you’ve cut them up for the salad.
How to make this Mixed Greens Salad
- Place salad greens in a serving bowl.
- Top with peeled and sliced fresh pears.
- Add the dried cranberries and thinly sliced red onion to the salad as well.
- Toss gently with a light drizzle of vinaigrette – just enough to coat the greens.
- Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese and spiced pecans over the top.
- Serve immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this salad ahead of time? You should prepare the Spiced Pecans ahead of time, and you can make the vinaigrette too. But assemble the salad just before serving. Mixed greens will wilt if they are dressed too far in advance.
What do I serve with Mixed Greens with Pears, Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans? You can serve this salad as a starter course to a roast chicken dinner or with pan-seared scallops. This salad is also a delicious option for a light lunch with some dinner rolls or slices of buttered crusty bread on the side. Since originally posting this salad back in April of 2013, we’ve also noticed that lots of our readers serve this salad around the Christmas holiday – so it’s a great menu option alongside a prime rib roast or holiday ham.
You might like these other salad recipes:
- Mixed Greens with Prosciutto and Cantaloupe
- Fall Harvest Salad
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- Taco Salad
- Macaroni Salad
1 5–ounce bag mixed baby greens
2 ripe Bartlett pears
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup very thinly sliced red onion
Our Favorite Vinaigrette (see recipe) or other salad dressing of your choice such as a balsamic vinaigrette
3/4 cup Spiced Pecans (see recipe)
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (blue cheese may also be substituted)
- Place the mixed baby greens in a large bowl.
- Peel the pears and cut into thin slices, removing the core and any seeds.
- Add the pear slices, cranberries and sliced red onion to the bowl with the greens. Toss with enough Favorite Vinaigrette to lightly coat everything in the bowl.
- Sprinkle the Spiced Pecans and the goat cheese over the top of the tossed salad.
- Serve immediately.
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