This easy Winter Salad recipe is full of winter fruits and nuts like pecans, pears, and cranberries, and topped with a homemade vinaigrette.

black plate with winter salad and forks

The first time I made this winter salad I knew I had a winner. It’s overflowing with winter produce and it’s easy to change up with different nuts and cheeses, so it never gets old.

It’s perfect for a healthy lunch and it’s also great for holiday dinners when you need something simple that can be served cold, so you don’t have to worry about using the oven for one more thing.

This is great healthy option to have to help counterbalance all the cookies, cakes, and candies we tend to consume during the holiday season. It is also so scrumptious that I doubt you will have leftovers but you will have many compliments!

If you need some more inspiration for fall/winter side dishes try our Roasted Fall Vegetable Orzo and Fall Coleslaw using crisp autumn apples.

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winter salad ingredients

Love salads with fruits and nuts? Try our Mandarin Orange Salad with Citrus Dressing and Waldorf Salad Recipe too!

Winter Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens – There are lots of winter greens you can choose from. Scroll down to see a list.
  • Pears – I like bosc of Anjou pears because they are slightly firmer and have a mild flavor.
  •  Pecans – You toast them if you like or sub them with almonds or walnuts.
  • Dried Cranberries – This will give a little burst of tartness to your salad.
  • Blue Cheese – You can sub this out for feta cheese or goat cheese if you don’t like blue cheese.
  • Vinaigrette dressing ingredients – White wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt. You can sub with a store-bought dressing if you prefer.

The best thing about this winter salad is that you can customize it in so many ways. This recipe is my favorite way to prepare it, but you can modify this salad to fit your own tastes to make sure you are getting the most of out your dish.

ingredients for winter salad dressing

The vinaigrette is a simple mix of white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt. You can add a little sugar too if you like it slightly sweeter, but I love the vinegar taste, so I usually skip that part. If you’re making this as a side dish for a holiday party, make sure to toss the salad in the vinaigrette at the last minute to keep the salad looking fresh when you serve it.

a glass bowl of winter salad tossed with wooden spoons

How to Make Winter Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Step 1 – Add ingredients – In a large bowl add greens, pears, dried cranberries, and pecans. 

Step 2 – Mix vinaigrette – In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. 

Step 3 – Toss and top – Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat the salad. Top with crumbled blue cheese and serve immediately.

What are Winter Salad Greens?

There are quite a few greens that are cold hardy and grow during the cold winter months. Arugula, romaine, radicchio, endive, mustard greens, kale salad, baby beet greens, baby Bok choy, lamb’s lettuce, mizuna, salad burnet, baby spinach, watercress, and winter purslane are just a few of the greens you can get for your winter salads.

winter salad on a black plate

Other Variations

You can modify this salad in any way you like.

Some options for you to add are roasted sweet potato, pomegranates, goat cheese, brussels sprouts, carrots, and red onions.

Some people like to add a bit more citrus to their salad but including grapefruit or lemon juice to their salad or dressing.

You can also change the dressing if you don’t like vinaigrettes or don’t have time to make it yourself. You try honey mustard dressing or even a creamy avocado ranch.

Can You Make Pear and Blue Cheese Salad Ahead of Time?

As with most salads, we don’t suggest making this ahead of time. Like apples, cut pears will turn brown over time and you want your salads to look at taste as fresh as possible.

When preparing it for a party I make my vinaigrette ahead of time, then I wash and dry my greens, measure out my other add-ins, and store it all in the refrigerator. Then I cut my pears and toss everything together right before serving. You’ll get the best results with this method.

black plate with winter salad and forks

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Servings: 8
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 20 mins

Winter Salad

This light and crisp winter salad is full of seasonal fruits and nuts like pears, cranberries and pecans and topped with a homemade vinaigrette. 

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces Mixed greens
  • 3 Pears, chopped
  • 2 cups Pecan halves
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese, , crumbled

Vinaigrette

  • 6 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar, Champagne vinegar is delicious if you can find it.
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar , this is optional

Instructions

  • In a large bowl add greens, pears, dried cranberries, and pecans. 
  • In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. 
  • Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss
  • Top with crumbled blue cheese. 

Nutrition

Calories: 415kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 223mg, Potassium: 279mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 500IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 77mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pear and Blue cheese salad, salad ideas for winter, winter fruit salad, winter salad, winter salad ideas, winter salad recipe, winter salad recipes