A delightful recipe for a side salad (or a light lunch) that is versatile enough to enjoy any time of year – honestly, it is as good as a Christmas starter as it is for an al fresco lunch in summer! Introducing the irresistible rocket and pear salad, also known as the arugula pear salad. This vibrant dish showcases the perfect combination of flavours, bringing together the sweetness of the pear, the peppery flavour of the leafy greens, and the nutty richness of parmesan and pine nuts. To tie it all together, we’ll drizzle it with a simple vinaigrette made with tangy balsamic vinegar.
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What Is Rocket? Is It The Same As Arugula?
Rocket, also known as arugula, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is characterized by its distinctive peppery and slightly bitter taste.
Why Make This Rocket Salad Recipe
- This pear rocket salad is a must-try recipe as it combines fresh flavours and healthy ingredients, making it a delicious and nutritious option.
- It serves as a perfect side dish for any meal, adding an elegant touch to your dinner party or everyday dining.
- The combination of sweet juicy pear and peppery arugula creates a delightful contrast of flavours, making this pear arugula salad a true culinary delight.
- It’s a simple salad to prepare, requiring minimal effort while still delivering a satisfying and refreshing experience.
- With its healthy ingredients, this salad qualifies as a healthy recipe that not only tastes great but also contributes to your well-being.
- And to be completely honest – it is one of the most delicious recipes to serve as a starter at Christmas!
Ingredients and Substitutes
You will only need a handful of ingredients for this rocket pear salad:
- rocket (arugula): use fresh rocket or baby rocket leaves for the best texture and ultimate peppery flavour. We love wild rocket!
- pinenuts, toasted: can be replaced with other nuts or pumpkin seeds (see more about variations in the section below).
- choose juicy ripe pears as opposed to crunchy pears. We like Conference and Bartlett pears.
- parmigiano reggiano: you can replace it with other hard cheese like Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano. Or make a pear and blue cheese salad instead by replacing parmesan with Stilton.
- balsamic vinegar.
- olive oil: use extra-virgin olive oil for the vinaigrette.
Variations & Extras
OK, so this version is a Rocket, Pear, Pine Nut and Parmesan Salad, but you can swap any of these ingredients to make a salad that is truly your own. Here are our suggestions:
Leafy Greens: if you don’t want to use rocket, there are plenty of other options. Some of the best green to use include baby spinach or watercress.
Cheese: parmesan can be replaced with goat cheese, feta or blue cheese like Roquefort or Stilton.
Nuts: buttery pinenuts can be substituted with toasted pecans or walnuts. You may also replace them with a more crunchy almond or hazelnut texture.
Extras: crispy bacon bits are a great addition to this elegant salad.
If you don’t have any balsamic vinegar on hand, there are alternative dressings you can make to complement your pear rocket salad. One option is to create a flavorful vinaigrette dressing using ingredients you may already have in your pantry. A delicious alternative could be a maple vinaigrette, which combines maple syrup, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. This dressing adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess that pairs well with the salad’s flavours.
Another option is a honey mustard dressing, which offers a balance of sweetness and tang. To make this dressing, mix together honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar), a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences, and drizzle it over the salad for a delightful twist.
To make the salad dressing, pour the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil into a small jar. Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and shake. The dressing will not emulsify, but you do want the salt to dissolve.
Place the peppery rocket into a large bowl. Combine rocket leaves with the balsamic vinaigrette.
Using a sharp knife, on a cutting board cut your sweet pears into thin slices and squeeze a bit of lemon juice to prevent the browning process.
You may now divide the rocket salad between individual plates or arrange it onto a serving platter. Top the rocket salad with pear slices, scatter the parmesan cheese shavings and toasted pine nuts on top. Serve immediately.
Storage & Making Ahead
For the best texture and flavour, serve the salad immediately after putting it together. The rocket leaves start to soften when mixed with the vinaigrette, pears start browning due to oxidisation and start releasing their juices. This salad takes 10 minutes to make, so we highly recommend not making it in advance.
If you have leftovers though, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
What To Serve Rocket Pear Salad With?
When serving this delightful pear rocket salad as a main dish for a light and satisfying lunch, consider complementing it with some additional elements. A crusty artisan bread, such as a baguette or ciabatta, would be an excellent choice to accompany the salad. The bread can be sliced and served on the side, allowing you to enjoy the combination of flavours by creating small bites with a bit of bread, pear, rocket, and Parmesan. It adds textural contrast and makes the meal more filling.
For those seeking a heartier option, consider including a selection of charcuterie alongside the salad. Thinly sliced prosciutto or coppa ham would pair wonderfully with the sweet and peppery flavours of the salad. These cured meats provide a savoury and salty component that balances out the freshness of the salad, creating a more substantial and satisfying meal. The combination of the pear rocket salad with a variety of charcuterie creates a perfect dish that offers a balance of flavours and textures.
When serving this salad as a side dish, it acts as a refreshing and vibrant addition to any meal. It pairs well with a variety of main dishes, whether it’s grilled chicken, baked salmon, or hearty pasta. The light and crisp nature of the salad makes it a versatile accompaniment that enhances the overall dining experience. Its fresh flavours and wholesome ingredients act as a complement to the main dish, providing a burst of freshness and adding a touch of elegance to the overall meal.
Other Delicious Homemade Salads
Rocket and Pear Salad
- 60 g rocket
- 20 g pinenuts toasted
- 1 pear ripe and sweet
- 20 g parmesan shaved
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for a couple of minutes until slighty browned.
- To make the salad dressing, pour the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil into a small jar. Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and shake vigorously. The dressing will not emulsify, but you do want the salt to dissolve.
- Place the peppery rocket into a large bowl. Combine rocket leaves with the balsamic vinaigrette.
- Using a sharp knife, on a cutting board cut your sweet pears into thin slices and squeeze a bit of lemon juice to prevent the browning process.
- You may now divide the rocket salad between individual plates or arrange it onto a serving platter. Top the rocket salad with pear slices, scatter the parmesan cheese shavings and toasted pine nuts on top. Serve immediately.