Grilled sweet pears mixed with salty shaved parmesan on a bed of crunchy peppery rocket leaves are a match made in heaven. Crisp and refreshing, this rocket salad recipe is a perfect addition to your Christmas lunch or any other special occasion.
Do you know that moment when you're invited to a BBQ or a dinner party, and the host casually mentions, 'You don't have to bring a thing... or maybe just a SIMPLE SALAD!'? I've always found myself wondering, how simple does this salad actually have to be? And that's when the struggle kicks in.
Of course, we don't want to settle for just any simple salad! We want a salad that's not only simple but also scrumptious—by the end of the event, that salad plate should be left empty. And if it's easy to make, that's the icing on the cake. Can you relate to this situation? Well, fear not, my friend! I'm thrilled you're here because today, I'm going to share with you the most amazing pear salad with arugula (rocket), fresh pear, and parmigiano reggiano!
It's the PERFECT SIMPLE SALAD that ticks all the boxes!
Grilled pear and rocket salad recipe
Reasons to make the rocket pear and parmesan salad
Why should you give this salad a go? Let me count the ways!
- Easy to make: This simple pear arugula salad comes together in a breeze—done and dusted in under 20 minutes.
- Nutritious: While this pear arugula salad is made with a handful of ingredients, it is absolutely packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Each bite contributes to a well-rounded diet, making it a wholesome treat that adds to your leafy greens quota and supports your overall health and well-being.
- Stellar Sidekick: Elevate your meal with a perfect, healthy side that's not only good for you but also an absolute flavor sensation.
- Showstopper: With its eye-catching presentation, it's the ultimate dish to bring to a friend's BBQ party, even when you've been told not to lift a finger.
- Kid-Approved: Trust me, even the pickiest of eaters will adore this recipe—especially the grilled pear twist!
- Delicious: Above all, it's simply a delicious salad. The sweetness of the pear, the peppery flavor from rocket leaves, and the saltiness from Parmesan cheese create a perfect combination of flavors.
You might have already tried to make this kind of salad before, but I promise you this is the simplest and best arugula salad recipe you ever will come across. The main secret of my variation of this amazing pear salad is that I quickly grill my pears. This makes a huge difference in how this salad tastes.
Rocket Pear Salad Ingredients
You may have tried making a similar salad before, but I guarantee this is the easiest and most exceptional arugula salad recipe you'll find. The key to my version of this amazing pear salad? Swiftly grilling the pears. It will make a huge difference in how the salad tastes. Let's see what we will need to make.
Creating this delicious and healthy salad requires just a handful of simple ingredients:
- Baby arugula leaves: Known as rocket leaves in Australia and as rucola in Italy. Whether you call it rocket or rucola, opt for fresh baby arugula leaves. Their smaller and have a milder taste compared to their mature counterparts. This is particularly important if you want the little ones to give it a try.
- Pears: Any type of pear will do, but be sure they're slightly underripe. Overripe pears can dissolve during cooking, and we want the pear slices to maintain their shape.
- Parmesan: While various cheeses might bear the Parmesan label, not all are created equal. Look for imported Italian Parmesan cheese, known as Parmigiano Reggiano. If you're budget-conscious, consider Grana Padano—a slightly more affordable alternative.
And in case Parmesan isn't your thing or you're just not feeling it (we won't judge!), you can substitute it with goat cheese, feta cheese, or even blue cheese. While it may introduce a distinct flavor, rest assured, the end result will still be absolutely delicious.
ARUGULA SALAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
- Extra virgin olive oil: Always opt for oil that's stored in glass bottles, avoiding plastic packaging.
- Balsamic vinegar: Ensure you select a gluten-free variation if you are like me following a gluten-free diet.
- Dijon mustard: Its velvety texture, contributes a touch of creaminess to the salad dressing.
- Honey: Optional but for us is a must, a hint of natural sweetness, honey elevates the overall flavor profile.
- Sea salt and black pepper: To season
Find the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below.
A NOTE ABOUT ARUGULA/ROCKET:
Arugula, known as rocket leaves in Australia, boasts a distinctive peppery flavor and originates from the Mediterranean region. Belonging to the Cruciferous family, which includes nutritional powerhouses like Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli, arugula holds its own as a healthful gem.
Loaded with fiber and phytochemicals, this green wonder is renowned for its health benefits such as its cancer-fighting potential. Beyond its nutritional value, arugula's peppery kick makes it a versatile ingredient, adding zest to tacos, sandwiches, wraps, and even pizza toppings.
Among the many ways to enjoy arugula, this simple salad recipe remains my personal favorite.
How to make grilled pear and rocket salad
- Wash and dry the arugula leaves using a salad spinner. Transfer them to a large bowl or serving platter and set aside.
- In a small jar, blend together all the dressing ingredients until well combined.
- Arrange the grilled pear slices atop the bed of arugula. Drizzle the prepared dressing over the salad and generously sprinkle the parmesan shavings to finish.
- Voilà! Your perfect side dish is now ready to impress!
The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
The grilled pear
Now, let's talk about the grilled pear. To create this important element, you'll need some firm pears. Begin by washing and slicing the pears before placing them on a BBQ, griddle, or frying pan until the pears are slightly caramelized and become golden.
You can watch the video below to see how I did it. Remember, it's key not to overcook the pears.
This rocket pear salad recipe offers a range of delicious serving options. As previously mentioned, it's a perfect dish for a BBQ party. Moreover, arugula pear salad is a perfect choice for Christmas gatherings, perfect for both lunch and dinner.
I quite often make it during the week as well. This healthy recipe is so easy to prepare and paired with zesty lemon chicken or pan-fried chicken drumsticks, it effortlessly transforms your dinner plate. With my kids eagerly savoring every bite, I'm content, knowing they're enjoying a nutrient-packed meal.
More healthy salad recipes to try:
Opt for underripe crunchy pears to prevent them from falling apart during cooking or barbecuing.
Choose baby rocket leaves for a milder, kid-friendly taste.
Try shaving parmesan using a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler. Long, thin strips will cling to both pear and arugula, delivering a symphony of flavors in every bite—sweetness, saltiness, and peppery zest, all blended with a delectable balsamic dressing. Yum!
If balsamic vinaigrette isn't your preference, feel free to substitute it with fresh lemon juice.
No Parmesan? No problem. Sub in feta, goat, pecorino, or blue cheese.
No barbecue? No worries. A griddle or a frying pan with a splash of olive oil works just as well. It'll look like this.
How to store
- If you have any leftovers, store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- To keep the salad at its freshest, it's best to store the dressing separately and drizzle it over the salad just before serving.
- If you've grilled extra pears, store them separately to maintain their texture and prevent sogginess.
- Enjoy the salad within a couple of days.
Can I make it in advance?
While this salad shines brightest when freshly assembled, you can gain a head start by prepping some elements ahead, especially handy for festive occasions like Christmas lunch or dinner.
💡 Streamlined Steps:
- Wash and dry arugula, storing it in the fridge in an airtight container. Opt for dry leaves. Want it speedier? Many stores offer prewashed arugula.
- Shave Parmesan, stow it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Whip up the dressing in a Mason jar, and refrigerate. Shake well before using; it remains fresh for 3-4 weeks.
- Slice pears, and a hint of lemon juice ward off browning. For peak freshness, I recommend pear slicing on the day of serving.
Rocket salad with parmesan and grilled pear
- 200 g of baby arugula leaves rocket salad washed and dried
- 1-2 big pears thinly sliced. You can use any pear variety.
- 20 g of Parmesan shaved with a Julienne peeler or coarsely grated.
- 3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoon of any sweet and sticky balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey optional, only use if your balsamic vinegar is very sour
- Salt and pepper to season
The rocket salad
- Give the arugula leaves a thorough wash in a salad spinner, ensuring they're completely dry. Transfer the dry leaves to a spacious salad bowl or serving platter, and set them aside.
- Prepare the dressing by combining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and optionally, honey, in a small glass jar. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Set the dressing aside for later use.
The grilled pear
- Halve the pear and lay one of the cut sides flat on the chopping board. Proceed to slice the pear into thin, even slices.
- Place the pear slices on a hot bbq or griddle and cook them for 30-40 seconds on each side, or until you can see the griddle lines.
- If using a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on high-medium heat. Place pear slices so they are all laying flat in the frying pan and cook them for one minute on each side. Make sure not to cook the pear slices for too long or they get too mushy.
- Take the pear slices out and place them on a big plate to cool down completely.
Bring it all together
- Shake the dressing once again and drizzle it over the salad leaves, toss gently.
- Generously sprinkle shaved parmesan over the salad and arrange the grilled pears on the top.
- Opt for baby rocket leaves if available; they offer a milder taste and are often favored by kids.
- Arugula goes by several names, including rocket, rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, and roquette.
- For those not fond of Parmesan cheese, consider goat's, feta, or blue cheese as alternatives.
- Feel free to replace balsamic vinegar with lemon juice. To offset the tartness, add 1 teaspoon of honey.
- Apply the dressing just before serving the salad.