Arugula Pear Salad with Toasted Pecans & Feta Cheese

This arugula pear salad with toasted pecans, feta cheese and cranberries is so simple but tastes like a gourmet restaurant salad. With a tangy sherry shallot dressing, this salad is perfect for everything from a regular weeknight side dish to a fancy holiday spread.

A large white serving dish filled with an arugula and pear salad with toasted pecans, feta cheese, dried cranberries and red onion.

Why you’ll love it

There’s just something special about a hearty salad with greens, sweet fruit, nuts, a sharp cheese and a simple dressing. It’s perfect for the cooler months when you’re done with summer flavors but still want a crunchy salad with fresh greens.

The combinations for this type of salad are endless, but this is definitely one of my favorites. The sweet pears paired with salty cheese, crunchy toasted nuts and a simple vinaigrette is just absolute perfection.

When this pear arugula salad is put together it looks gorgeous and fancy, but it’s actually an incredibly simple salad to make! It’s the perfect salad for any old day, but it’s also a great option for holiday meals.

Show up to your family’s holiday table with this colorful, tasty salad and I promise they’ll be impressed.

This delicious salad is also super nutritious! It’s full of flavor but also packed with nutrition from arugula, pecans, pears, and a homemade dressing with healthy fats from olive oil.

Arugula in particular is incredibly nutrient dense. It has calcium, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and fiber!

Arugula, pears, red onion, pecans, feta cheese, dried cranberries and sherry shallot dressing laid out on a table with ingredient labels.

Salad Ingredients

Arugula greens: Arugula is a green that has a slightly peppery, unique flavor. Peppery arugula is perfect for combining with crisp, fruity flavors like pear and cranberries. You can swap in baby kale, baby spinach, or baby romaine if you don’t have any.

Sliced pear: I love the sweetness of pears in this salad, but you could use green apples too for a nice crunch!

Red onions: Thinly sliced red onion adds the perfect amount of bite and mild onion flavor.

Pecans: You’ll need to toast up some pecans for this one (don’t worry, it’s super simple). You can also use almonds or walnuts, too.

Feta cheese: I always opt for feta (so good) because I’m personally not a fan of goat cheese, gorgonzola cheese, or blue cheese. If you like any of those cheese varieties, they’d work perfect for this salad too!

Dried cranberries: Dried cranberries add the perfect amount of chewy, tart flavor. You can use any other dried fruit that you enjoy too, like dried cherries or blueberries.

Sherry shallot dressing: For this salad you’ll make a light and flavorful homemade sherry shallot dressing. Again, it sounds kind of fancy but it’s really super simple and totally elevates the salad!

How to make it

  1. First, make your dressing in a small bowl or blender using this recipe. You’ll combine sherry vinegar with garlic, shallot, honey, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
A close up shot of pear arugula salad with a small jar of dressing.
  1. Toast your pecans. Don’t skip this step! Toasting your pecans brings out a much deeper, sweeter, and nuttier flavor. You can do this in the oven, on the stove, or in the air fryer:
    • Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 and put the pecans on a lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes until brown and fragrant. Be sure to check on them to avoid burning.
    • Stove: In a medium-sized skillet, heat pecans for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned and fragrant.
    • Air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 350 and air fry the pecans in a single layer for 3-4 minutes until browned and fragrant.
A small clear jar of dressing being poured onto arugula and pear salad.
  1. Next, in a large serving dish or large bowl, layer arugula, pear slices, red onion, pecans, feta cheese, and dried cranberries.
  2. Drizzle salad dressing and toss to combine. Serve as a side or top with your favorite protein like grilled chicken or salmon.

Recipe FAQ

Does this salad store well?

I recommend serving this one fresh. If you prep this salad ahead, keep the dressing and pecans separate. Arugula is also a pretty tender green, so you may find that it wilts if made ahead. If you can, prep the ingredients ahead, store each ingredient in an airtight container, and then you can simply throw them together before serving.

Is this enough for a main dish?

If you want to turn this into a complete meal, I’d be sure to add a protein source. Grilled chicken, salmon, steak, or even shrimp are great options.

Variations

  • Use your favorite leafy green instead of arugula.
  • Add a handful of pomegranate seeds for a nutritious, fruity, and crunchy addition.
  • Instead of feta cheese, try crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese, shredded parmesan cheese or gorgonzola.
  • Use strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, or sliced plums instead of pears.
  • Add a burst of citrus flavor by adding orange slices.
  • Change up the dressing. Use any vinegar you enjoy like balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red or white wine vinegar. You can also use maple syrup instead of honey.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to add a citrusy punch to the salad.
  • Use toasted walnuts, candied walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.

You’ll also love:

Kale Pomegranate Salad with Butternut Squash & Apple

Maple Balsamic Brussel Sprouts (Stove-Top)

Easy Cucumber Chickpea Salad with Tomatoes & Feta

A large white serving dish filled with an arugula and pear salad with toasted pecans, feta cheese, dried cranberries and red onion.

Arugula Pear Salad with Toasted Pecans & Feta Cheese

A gorgeous, delicious salad of arugula, pears, feta, red onion and pecans paired with a homemade sherry shallot dressing.
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Course: Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 354kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 pears cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sherry shallot dressing

Instructions

  • First, make your dressing in a small bowl using this recipe. You’ll combine sherry vinegar with garlic, shallot, honey, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
  • Toast your pecans. Don’t skip this step! Toasting your pecans brings out a much deeper, sweeter, and nuttier flavor. You can do this in the oven, on the stove, or in the air fryer:
    -Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 and put the pecans on a lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes until brown and fragrant. Be sure to check on them to avoid burning.
    -Stove: In a medium-sized skillet, heat pecans for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned and fragrant.
    -Air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 350 and air fry the pecans in a single layer for 3-4 minutes until browned and fragrant.
  • Next, in a large serving dish or large bowl, layer arugula, pear slices, red onion, pecans, feta cheese, and dried cranberries.
  • Drizzle salad dressing and toss to combine. Serve as a side or top with your favorite protein like grilled chicken or salmon.

Nutrition

Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 820IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 1mg

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It's me, Jamie!

I’m a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping you break free of the all-or-nothing dieting with balanced and realistic healthy eating.

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Meet Jamie

I’m a Registered Dietitian and I’ve been exactly where you are, right now. The all or nothing dieting, the constant food guilt, the scale obsession, absolutely no balance with food…. Sound familiar?