This rocket and pear salad is fresh and delicious. With sharp parmesan and crunchy seeds it's the perfect side dish or makes an excellent light lunch.
This pear and rocket salad is a classic combination of peppery rocket leaves, fresh sweet pears and sharp parmesan cheese. It's traditionally made with walnuts but I have mixed this up by adding toasted pepitas instead, giving it some lovely roasted crunchy notes and keeping things nut-free.
It takes just minutes to throw together and makes an excellent side dish for lunch, dinner and picnics. Add a little balsamic glaze for sweetness or regular balsamic vinegar if you like it sweet and sour.
Rocket: also known as arugula. It's a type of sharp, peppery salad leaf with a distinctive bite. It's popular on salads and pizza and makes a great addition to many salads. It's also really easy to grow.
Pears: you really need fresh pears for this recipe, tinned pears would be weird. Use crisp pears that are a little on the firm side rather than the ripe side.
Parmesan: sharp, strong parmesan cheese is traditionally used in this recipe. Shaved or crumbled is best.
Pepitas: walnuts are the traditional nut to use in this salad but I like to use pepitas. Also known and pumpkin seeds, the toasted seeds give this salad some crunchy nutty notes while also keeping things nut-free. You could replace pepitas with traditional walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds or with some creamy nuts such as almonds or macadamias.
Lemon: a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice helps keep this salad fresh and pretty and stops the pears from going brown once sliced.
Extra virgin olive oil:
Balsamic glaze: is basically balsamic vinegar and sugar that's boiled down to form a syrup. If you can't get balsamic glaze you can mix a little balsamic with brown sugar, or just use balsamic vinegar if you don't mind it on the sharp side.
How to make Rocket and Pear Salad
Wash, dry and roughly chop the rocket leaves and pop them into a salad bowl.
Heat up a frying pan and dry roast the pepitas. Don't add any oil, you don't need it. Roast the seeds, shaking the pan regularly. When several seeds start to brown and the pan smells roasted remove from the frying pan and pour into a heatproof dish. You need to watch them carefully and remove them from the frying pan when they are done or the seeds will burn.
Slice the stem off the pear. Quarter, core and slice it into long thin wedges. No need to peal the pears unless they have really tough, blemished skins. Put the wedges into a bowl with the lemon juice and toss until coated.
Now it's time to build your salad. Put the washed, chopped rocket leaves into a bowl. Scatter the pear wedges over the rocket leaves. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan and toasted pepitas. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and you're done!
How to serve
How to store
This salad is best made on the day it's eaten. If there's any leftover it will store in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days, but the leaves and pear may start to go a little soggy over time.
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Rocket and Pear Salad
- 3 cups (80 gms) rocket leaves
- 2 medium fresh pears, on the firm side
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup (80 gms) shaved parmesan
- ½ cup (75 gms) pepitas
- 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Wash, dry and roughly chop the rocket leaves and pop them into a salad bowl.
- Heat up a frying pan and dry roast the pepitas, shaking the frypan frequently until they are lightly toasted. Watch them carefully and remove from the heat and dip out into a heat proof bowl as soon as they are done.
- Slice the stem off the pear. Quarter, core and slice it into long thin wedges. Put the wedges into a bowl, add the lemon juice and toss until coated.
- Scatter the pear wedges over the rocket leaves. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan and toasted pepitas. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze and you're done!
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