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Recipe for pear and brie salad with cashews and dried cranberries {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Pear and brie salad, from The Perfect Pantry.

If you want to make this pear and brie salad just the way I made it, be prepared for a lot of prep time. Twelve years of prep time. First, buy a house with a pair of untended pear trees. Spend a few seasons pruning them to a third of their original size (and don't worry about the fact that they tilt precipitously, like that tower in Pisa). Every other year or so, harvest the pears when they are rock hard, and set them on the window sill. Check them every day. They will ripen, all of a sudden, and that is the day to make this salad. Substitute freely for everything except the pears; arugula can swap in for lettuce, fontina for brie, pecans for cashews, dried cherries for cranberries. Pear season lasts into the colder weather, making this a great salad for Fall.


Pear and brie salad with cashews and dried cranberries

From the pantry, you'll need: cashews, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, agave nectar.

Serves 2; can be multiplied.


For the dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp mild agave nectar, or more to taste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil (not fruity)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper 

For the salad:
4 cups thinly shredded romaine lettuce
1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
2-3 oz ripe brie cheese, sliced
4 Tbsp roasted, unsalted cashews
4 Tbsp dried cranberries


In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Shake vigorously, until the dressing emulsifies. Set aside.

Divide the lettuce between two plates. Top each with half of the pear slices, brie slices, cashews and cranberries. Drizzle with just enough dressing to moisten, but not drown, the salad. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh black pepper, and serve.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Tangerine and feta salad
Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette
My favorite green salad, with tomato, cucumber, nectarines and olives
Asparagus, nectarine and tomato salad
Dried cranberry and pear chutney

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Broccoli bacon cranberry cashew salad, from Use Real Butter
Spiced pumpkin granola with cashews and cranberries, from Healthy Green Kitchen
Rice and mixed greens salad with dates, cashews, and chickpeas, from The Kitchn
Pantry trail mix, from $5 Dinners
Warm white bean and kale salad with dried cranberries and cashews, from Green Lite Bites

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

All the flavors of Fall in one classic salad: pear, cheese, nuts, cranberries.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Stunning salad, Lydia! Already shared on my gfe Facebook page. :-) As I said there, this is the kind of salad that I'll go crazy over in a restaurant, but forget that I can just as easily make at home. ;-) We actually have two pear trees on our mountain property. The "prep" work was done decades ago when our subdivision was actually part of a farm. Our property is right next to where the barn stood and about 4 lots from the farmhouse in which one of our friends lives. Now I'm really looking forward to going there this weekend and gathering pears (all that the deer have not yet enjoyed). :-) Thanks!


Shirley, the deer are strangely attracted to our pears, also, and in our first year here, we didn't know that. We were waiting for the pears to ripen on the trees, and went out one morning to find them all gone! Now we are quicker about harvesting the unripe pears, and every one we get that the deer don't is a small victory.

LOL! So funny about the pear tree - My parents have a pear tree on their land and ironically I am releasing a post about pears soon. Delicious salad.

Carol, my grandparents had a pear tree in their tiny back yard in Brooklyn, and I have fond memories of my cousins climbing that tree, and my grandmother cooking those pears. When we bought the log house, it was a real treat to discover that we had pear trees. They were in terrible shape and we had to give them some tough love (extreme pruning) for the first few years.

You're a genius, Lydia--what a perfect combination! Can't wait to make this. I'll repost it (giving you credit, of course) on my blog when I've made it. Now I'll be looking for pears at the farmers market with this recipe in mind.

Donna, thanks so much. You're going to love this salad, and the dressing just brings it all together.

I love pears; need to use them more!

This looks delicious! Pears are one of my favorite high-fiber fruits and I love that you incorporated them into such a refreshing salad. Yum!

Kalyn, I often prefer pears to apples, and I like the mix the two in lots of dishes (like applesauce or pies).

Kati, I love the idea of having a "high fiber" tree in my yard!

Wow beautiful! You know I love the fruity with the savory and this salad is perfect. This is just the perfect lunch!

Jamie, I'll be so sad when we've used the last of our home-grown pears, but I can't think of a better way to enjoy them than in this salad.

I happened upon this recipe one day on Punchfork and was glad I did, gave some nice inspiration. I found it to be really nice to soak the endive in an ice bath for 15 minutes to give the leaves a great crisp texture. Really excited to see how this basic idea of pear, brie, and endive can morph into something more complicated. Thanks!

This is absolutely mouth watering, I love sweet salads. Dont think I've tried brie cheese before, so looking forward to that :)

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