Sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, rocket and pear salad has a ton of flavor and texture from Asian pear, blue cheese, walnuts and spicy rocket. I love this salad as a meal on it's own and it couldn't be simpler to make!
Why you should make this salad
Rocket, pears, string beans, nuts and roasted veggies are all hearty ingredients that will hold up well to dressing. These ingredients taste fantastic together, dressed with a delicious honey and apple cider vinegar dressing. Because of the firm texture of these ingredients, rocket and pear salad can be made ahead, dressed up to half an hour before serving, and served at room temperature.
This salad also works well served warm and dressed just before serving. I have adapted this recipe from one I wrote for Edible Vancouver Island in 2019. The article went alongside an article I wrote on hosting a long table dinner. When hosting a large dinner, make ahead dishes are essential which makes this salad perfect. You can read that article here , I think as we get through 2021, gathering at a big table will be more desired than ever.
What is rocket?
Deliciously peppery rocket is also known as arugula. A cool weather green, it grows well in the spring and fall and is widely available. Rocket grows as a perennial coming up in my garden every spring. In fact it is amongst the first greens to pop up, along with parsley and rhubarb. I grow an heirloom Italian variety that is quite hearty and if you are in my area or passing through, I love offering the seeds or transplants to anyone who wants them.
A salad for all seasons
In addition to this lovely salad green, the other ingredients including pears have a wide availability throughout the year as they keep so well in a cool pantry. This is a salad I love year round because the ingredients are economical and easy to source. A hearty warm side dish in fall and winter then served cool as a light main course in spring and summer.
Apple cider dressing-a versatile vinaigrette
Apple cider vinegar salad dressing (vinaigrette) is the perfect pairing. Lightly sweet, echoing the pears with a touch of honey that is an exciting contrast with the blue cheese. This lovely, simple and light dressing is excellent on many other salads too so feel free to double the batch (It multiplies well) for another day.
This is a large and satisfying salad that is perfect for a big family dinner, a potluck or simply to have leftovers for your midweek lunch.
Rocket is peppery and delicious, holding up well to the other big flavours but you can use other greens if you prefer. Kale, spinach, mustard greens and chicory all work well too.
No pears, no problem. Try thinly slicing apple instead.
Don’t like blue cheese? Too bad….Just kidding. Of course you can substitute and I recommend a flavourful cheese like crumbled old cheddar or feta. This is a fun salad to play with. Keep the rocket and the dressing but switch up the yam for sweet potato or roasted carrots.
If you won’t use all the salad the same day, dress only what you will use and store remaining salad and dressing separately from each other.
To make this salad extra colorful I used red Asian pears instead of the equally delicious but less colorful Bartletts or Anjou. All will taste just as lovely.
I love a salad with heart and personality. I believe all salads need at least one special ingredient. If you agree, you might love some of my other salads like Strawberry and Goat Cheese salad, also made with rocket, Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad and the punchy Thai flavored Flank Steak Salad.
Have a wonderful day and let me know by tagging me on social media or commenting below if you give this a try!
Rocket and Pear salad
For the Salad
- 4 c yams, cut in 1” cubes (about 2 large yams)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 c green beans, tops trimmed off about 300g
- 2 pears, cored and thinly sliced on a mandoline
- 8 c rocket (aka arugula) or other hearty mixed greens kale, arugula, spinach and mustard greens work great too.
- 1.5 c crumbled creamy blue cheese 150g cambazola or gorgonzola
- 1 c walnuts
For the Dressing
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, finely chopped or regular thyme
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350’F. Toss yams with oil and roast 20-25 minutes until soft but still firm when pierced with fork. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes then plunge into ice water to stop cooking and drain in colander until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve (or up to an hour before) add rocket and any other greens along with pears to a bowl and gently toss with half of dressing and then arrange on a long platter. Top with green beans, yams, walnuts and blue cheese, drizzle remaining salad dressing over and serve.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.