Have you ever roasted a pear? Until now, I had not. I know – so sad, right? Well, I mean, I’ve eaten roasted pears (in salads, desserts, etc at restaurants), but I had never prepared my own. It’s so easy and yet the result is so gourmet, so decadent. I’ve gotta do this more often.
It’s a shame that I didn’t have dinner guests the day I made this. All that fanciness for just Hubs and me.
I found this recipe on a blog called Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body (I WISH!) authored by a gal named Julia. Her blog isn’t focussed on vegan food, but she does have a number of great-looking vegan recipes. Check out the video on her About page. Don’t ya just wanna be her friend?! So cute.
I’m so glad that I found and tested this recipe because we LOVED it! I will definitely make it again. While it does require some lengthy roasting time, the payoff is totally worth it. Just the roasted pear on its own would be a delicious dessert!
I will say this about arugula – if you’ve never had it or if you aren’t sure if you like it, it might not be the best idea to buy a big ol’ bag of it. It has a very distinct flavor and can be somewhat bitter. To me, it tastes very earthy. If you want to be safe, just go with a mild leafy green like baby spinach or spring mix.
YIELDS 6 SIDE SALADS
(I didn’t need that many, so I cut the recipe in half when I made it.)
3 ripe Anjou pears (or any pears you can find – I used Bartlett)
juice of 2 lemons
⅓ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup apple cider (I used apple juice because that’s what I had on hand)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bag (6 oz.) arugula (or baby spinach or spring mix)
black pepper and sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the pears into slices, about 6 slices per pear, removing the cores and seeds.
Whisk the apple cider, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a bowl. Gently toss the pear slices with the mixture.
Arrange the coated pear slices, core side up, in a baking dish. Bake the pears, basting every 8-10 minutes with the basting mixture, until tender, about 40-50 minutes. Remove and let cool to warm or room temp.
Whisk together the remaining olive oil and ½ cup of the basting mixture. Toss the arugula with the dressing, pecans and cranberries and divide among six salad plates. Top each salad with 3 pear slices, season with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, if you prefer equal distribution, toss only the arugula with the dressing, then sprinkle the pecans and cranberries on top before adding the pear slices.)
If you think it LOOKS good, just wait til you TASTE it! If you can manage it, serve the salads with warm pear slices on top. They’re still good when they cool, but they’re even better when they’re still warm.
Careful. This fancy-schmancy little salad (which happens to be both vegan and gluten-free) just might have your dinner guests begging you for cooking lessons ;)