This cranberry pear salad is made with crisp romaine, juicy pears, tart cranberries and salty feta — all tossed in a homemade pear salad dressing!

Close up of cranberry pear salad in a white bowl

Do you have a special salad that you turn to time and time again for entertaining, holidays, etc. that everyone loves? 

This pear salad has been that recipe for my family for a good 15 solid years.  This salad was actually the first recipe I posted here because I couldn’t think of a better way to start things off.

This cranberry pear salad has a history. I first tasted one similar to this at my old roommate’s birthday party, and it blew me (and everyone else) away.

It was when the fruit, nut and cheese salad thing was taking off big time, and I asked the woman who made it what on earth was in it that made it so special.  I found out, and I created my own recipe inspired by those ingredients. 

Creating my own pear salad recipe that did the original recipe justice was a big deal to me.  This salad shows up on the Thanksgiving table, as well as Christmas and sometimes Easter. Birthdays, family dinners, whatever…this salad is tradition!

Bowl full of cranberry pear feta salad with fork alongside

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • The pear vinaigrette can be prepared in advance, which makes assembling the salad day-of quick and easy.
  • You can easily scale this recipe up to feed a larger crowd.
  • The combination of fresh pear, dried cranberries, and toasted almonds adds lots of flavor and texture to this salad.

Recipe ingredients

What makes this pear salad recipe really stand out is the fresh pear salad dressing. This recipe uses simple, seasonal ingredients that you likely keep on hand.

Ingredient notes

  • Pears. You’ll need two pears for this recipe, one for the vinaigrette and one for the salad itself.
  • White balsamic vinegar. White balsamic is easy to find in the salad dressing isle. You could also use white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
  • Dijon mustard. Imparts a richer flavor than classic yellow mustard would.
  • Almonds. You can use chopped or slivered almonds. I prefer toasting the almonds first.
Close up of cranberry pear salad in a bowl with feta

How to make this recipe

If there’s one salad that you want to serve for Thanksgiving, this pear feta salad is it! And then make it any other time that you want a special salad.  

  1. Make the pear salad dressing. Place the pear chunks, vinegar, dijon, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed chute until emulsified. Add the salt and pepper, to taste and mix once more.
  3. Assemble the salad. Place the romaine, sliced pear, dried cranberries, feta and toasted almonds on a serving platter.
  4. Add the desired amount of dressing and toss gently to coat.

FAQs

What are the best pears for salad?

I prefer using Bartlett pears to make the salad and pear vinaigrette. Make sure the pears are ripe, but not overly so.

Can the dressing be prepared in advance?

Yes! The pear dressing can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. Note that it will discolor over time.

Homemade Fresh Pear Salad Dressing in a small glass jar

What to serve with this recipe

This pear feta salad pairs perfectly with your favorite holiday entrees. Some of our favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes include:

Recipe notes

  • The original salad was made with Paul Newman’s Caesar dressing, and you can certainly use that if you want to keep it simple. I worked hard to make a homemade pear vinaigrette that did this salad justice, however, and it’s how I made this salad my own.
  • To toast the almonds, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.
  • You can save time by purchasing pre-toasted slivered almonds at Trader Joe’s!

More easy salad recipes:

Did you try this recipe?

If so, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below, and don’t forget to tag @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Cranberry pear salad in a white bowl

Cranberry Pear Salad with Fresh Pear Vinaigrette

Cranberry pear salad with fresh pear vinaigrette is made with crisp romaine, juicy pears, tart cranberries and salty feta — all tossed in a homemade pear dressing!
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Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup peeled and cored fresh pear diced (about 1 large pear)
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 6 ounces Romaine lettuce (or two hearts of Romaine cleaned and chopped)
  • 1 large ripe Bartlett pear cored and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped or slivered almonds toasted*

Instructions 

Prepare the dressing:

  • Place the pear chunks, vinegar, dijon, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  • With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed chute until emulsified. Add the salt and pepper, to taste and mix once more.

Prepare the salad:

  • Place the romaine, sliced pear, dried cranberries, feta and toasted almonds on a serving platter.
  • Add the desired amount of dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  • Total time above does not reflect the time to toast the almonds. To toast them, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. You can save time by purchasing pre-toasted slivered almonds at Trader Joe’s!
  • Dressing can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 1 week.  Note that it will discolor over time.
  • Nutrition information includes all of the dressing, though you will not need it all.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 220kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 164mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 2533IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

**This post was originally published in September 2012, and contains updated photos, text and recipe. 

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