This spiced pear and goats cheese salad is a starter for 6 with a wow factor or a super-sophisticated light lunch for 4. It’s ready in just under 20 minutes.
This is one of my absolutely favourite recipes and it doesn’t matter how much of it I make… it disappears as quickly as I can say “spiced pear and goat cheese salad”. See? It’s gone again. Now I have to make some more.
Jokes aside. I’ve had this recipe for over 10 years. I THINK I discovered it when I was leafing through a magazine at a doctor’s office. All I know now is that I jotted it down and kept it in my recipe folder ever since. It’s because I just love the combination of goats cheese and fruit such as pears or apples.
Unlike apples, pears can be somewhat tired-tasting when roasted, even with the most generous amount of cinnamon. But this combination of crushed coriander seeds, cinnamon, orange and red wine vinegar turns the pear into the most sensational fruit ever.
Combine it with the saltiness of goats cheese, the crunch of toasted almonds and a mountain of health-inducing rocket, spinach and watercress leaves and you have a taste feast that’s one of a kind.
Note – I’m using a griddle pan here, which gives the quarters those tell-tale black grill stripes and a smokey flavour. But if you don’t have one you can also roast the pears in the oven using the grill / broiler. Or you simply skip this step and increase the oven time by a few minutes until the pears brown.
How to make a spiced pear and goats cheese salad – step by step:
Recipe Notes and variations
You could replace the goats cheese with another salty cheese. Gorgonzola or roquefort could work well here, or even a hard cheese such as parmesan or pecorino.
Instead of roasted almonds, you can use roasted walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans. To make this salad nut free, you can also roast sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Any salad leaves will work for this goats cheese starter. I recently made this with a mix of endive and pea shoots.
Can you make this goats cheese and pear salad in advance?
If you’re planning a dinner party, you should consider preparing the pears in advance. You can do this even one day ahead if you like. Simply re-heat them in the oven or in the microwave before serving (if you want to serve them warm).
Likewise the nuts – roast them the day before and keep them in a closed container for freshness.
The rest of the ingredients should be prepared and tossed in the dressing just before serving.
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Spiced Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
- 3 pears cored and quartered
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice / pumpkin spice
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- juice of 1/2 orange
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 100 g / 3.5 oz rocket/watercress/spinach leaves
- 150 g / 5.3 oz goat cheese crumbled
- 50 g / 1/4 cup Parmesan shaved
- handful of parsley leaves roughly chopped
- 50 g / 1/4 cup almond slivers roasted until pale golden brown
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat a griddle pan and heat your oven to 200 Celsius / 400F.
- Mix the pears in a bowl with a splash of olive oil, salt pepper and dried spices.
- When the griddle is hot, grill the pears for 2 minutes on each side until they caramelise.
- Transfer them to a small roasting tray and pour over the red wine vinegar and orange juice. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, then transfer into a large bowl and allow to cool.
- Mix the olive oil and lemon juice into the pear juices to make a dressing. Season.
- Mix the leaves with the pear quarters, Parmesan and parsley and pour over the dressing.
- Serve on a large platter and scatter over the roasted almonds (I brown them in a pan without oil on a low heat, but you could also do this in the oven) and the goat cheese.