Candied Walnut Pear Salad

Just because we’re getting into cooler weather doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some greens like in this Candied Walnut Pear Salad. Mixed greens, rosemary candied roasted walnuts, red onions, pears, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and a super simple and delicious balsamic vinaigrette.

I used Red Anjou pears, but any pear would work perfect. Apples would also be a great substitute OR addition. They both have great texture, which in my opinion is what makes a good salad!

Rosemary Candied Walnuts

These walnuts really add an earthy depth of flavor to the salad. The nuts are tossed with melted butter, brown sugar, dried rosemary leaves, cayenne pepper and salt. The nuts then get roasted for a few minutes. You could do this with almonds or pecans too! They also make for a fun hostess gift, or party favor if you make a big batch; try a variety of nuts!

The great thing about salads is that you can add/remove any of the goodies to your liking. They are also easy to make in whatever quantity you need. I like to make up individual salads rather than dressing one large salad, that way leftovers don’t get soggy or thrown out.

If you’re not into goat cheese, try feta, blue, or your favorite grated cheese. Something with a nice tangy bite works great! The balsamic is seriously so easy, you’ll never need to buy it from the store again!

This makes a great light lunch, and will be perfect for the holidays! If you love fruits like pears and apples in your salad, make sure to try my Holiday Salad recipe, it’s a family favorite year round! Hope you enjoy this tasty fall inspired Candied Walnut Pear Salad!

Candied Walnut Pear Salad

Course Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Laura Doerr


For the candied walnuts

  • 5 oz roughly chopped walnuts (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt

For the balsamic vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

For the salad

  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 2 cup arugula
  • 2 pears sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • fresh cracked black pepper


For the candied walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

  2. Mix all of the candied walnut ingredients together in a small bowl. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool.

For the balsamic vinaigrette

  1. In a mason jar or dressing shaker (or anything with a lid that you can shake), combine all dressing ingredients and shake until combined and emulsified.


  1. Either add all salad ingredients (greens, walnuts, pears, goat cheese, onion, cranberries) into one large serving bowl, or make individual salad plates. Drizzle desired amount of dressing, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Try doubling the candied walnut recipe and add in a variety of other nuts for a tasty snack. Makes great gifts too!

Not a goat cheese fan? Swap for feta, blue, or any cheese you like. This would also be great with apples instead of pears, or both!

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