In-season red anjou pears, tangy goat cheese, and sweet candied pecans come together in a delicate Champagne vinaigrette for this autumn salad delight.
Pear and goat cheese salad always makes me think of dining out in a fine restaurant. A perfect bite includes thinly sliced pear, tangy goat cheese, bitter greens and candied pecan dripping with delicate Champagne vinaigrette. The flavor combinations swirl around the tongue hitting all the taste receptors. Tangy pears and bitter greens perform a balancing act with sweet and salty candied pecans and citrusy Champagne vinaigrette. And goat cheese crumbles provide the ultimate umami experience. Read on to make this delicious fall salad.
Pear season is from August to October in Northern America, so take advantage while you can. Sometimes I'm asked about which fruits Dr. Gundry allows on the Plant Paradox plan. Pears are a definite YES when they're in season. And certain varieties are better than others. For this salad we use red Anjou pears to get more of those dark polyphenols. Anjou pears are lower in sugar and have a crisper flesh than sweeter, more grainy textured varieties like the Bartlett. Distinct characteristics make red Anjou pears versatile in many culinary applications. They're perfect for this salad.
Next, let's talk about cheese. As you've probably heard, Dr. Gundry prefers a2 dairy. The a2 casein doesnt' have the same inflammatory effects of a1 casein. The a2 casein is found primarily in certain breeds of cows like Guernsey, Asian, and Jersey, as well as sheep and goats. So, pick up a tub of goat cheese crumbles for this salad. Most grocers carry it.
In addition to goat cheese and pears, we're also dropping in some candied pecans. If you keep Brown Swerve in your lectin free pantry, GREAT! That's a wonderful sweetener for candied nuts. I also like to use a little raw local honey to keep the candy coating from crystallizing.
Finally, we're making a Champagne vinaigrette. I always say the secret to a good salad dressing is hiding the onions. By grating the shallots super fine, you'll achieve a consistently mild shallot flavor throughout the dressing rather than getting punched in the face with chunks of bold onion. To absorb (and acid cook) that delicate grated shallot, you'll need a special culinary Champagne vinegar made from the same blend of grapes as the bubbly drink. A common brand I see at my grocer is Colavita. It's marketed as Prosecco vinegar. SAME THING! If you see a bottle, grab it.
You will love having Champagne (or Prosecco) vinegar around and can use it in a variety of recipes. It makes a great vinaigrette that pairs well with, well, pears. See what I did there?
Okay, let's make this salad together. Let's go!
LFG Pear & Goat Cheese Salad
1/2 Cup Pecan Halves
1 Tbsp Raw Local Honey
1/3 Cup Brown Swerve
1/4 tsp Course Kosher Salt
(1) 5 oz Tub of Organic Power Greens (like Simple Truth)
1 Red Anjou Pear (thinly sliced)
4 oz Goat Cheese Crumbles
LFG Champagne Vinaigrette
1/4 Cup Champagne or Prosecco Vinegar
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Shallots (finely grated)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Raw Local Honey
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
1 pinch White Pepper
Step 1: Make Vinaigrette
In a medium bowl, add all the vinaigrette ingredients. Don't forget the salt and pepper. This makes all the flavors come to life. Whisk well until emulsified. Chill in a pourable vessel until ready to use.
Step 2: Candy Pecans
In a skillet on medium heat, add Swerve and honey. Add pecans. Melt together while stirring with a wooden spoon. When the sweetener granules have melted, turned a slight caramel color and coated the nuts, pour onto a plate to cool. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt.
Step 3: Toss Salad
Into a large bowl, add greens and thinly sliced pears. Pour in about half of the vinaigrette. Toss with until greens and pears are well dressed. Reserve the rest for serving.
Step 4: Assemble Salad
Onto two chilled salad or soup plates, divide the dressed greens and pears. Next, add candied pecans. Finally, sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles.
Serve with remaining vinaigrette. ENJOY this salad with a chilled glass of Champagne, of course!