Pear and Rocket Salad is one of our favourite healthy vegetarian salads to serve during the cool Fall and Winter months.
Our quick & easy Rocket Pear Salad recipe is a crowd-pleasing, delicious side dish to serve with a roast during the bountiful harvest season.
This crunchy and juicy Pear and Rocket Salad features flavourful ingredients like fennel, grainy mustard, dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan cheese and fresh dill.
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What Is Rocket?
Rocket, also known as arugula, is an edible annual plant in the family Brassicaceae used as a leafy vegetable for its fresh, tart, bitter, and peppery flavour.
The widely popular salad lettuce, is native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal in the west to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey in the east.
Arugula is the common name now widespread in the United States and Canada. It entered American English from a non-standard dialect of Italian, rucola. The first appearance of “arugula” in American English is attributed to a 1960s article in The New York Times by food editor and prolific cookbook writer Craig Claiborne.
Grown as an edible and popular herb in Italy since Roman times, it was mentioned by various ancient Roman classical authors as an aphrodisiac, most famously in a poem long ascribed to the famous 1st century Roman poet Virgil, Moretum, which contains the line: “et Venerem revocans eruca morantem” (and the rocket, which revives drowsy Venus sexual desire). Some writers assert that for this reason during the Middle Ages it was forbidden to grow rocket in monasteries.
Rocket was traditionally collected in the wild or grown in home gardens along with tender herbs like parsley and basil. It is now grown commercially in many places, and is available for purchase in supermarkets and farmers’ markets around the world.
What is Fennel?
Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and delicate leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
It is a highly aromatic and flavourful herb used in cooking and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.
The bulb, foliage, and fruits of the fennel plant are used in many of the culinary traditions of the world. The small flowers of wild fennel (known as fennel “pollen”) are the most potent form of fennel, but also the most expensive. The leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill.
The bulb is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. Tender young leaves are used for garnishes, as a salad, to add flavour to salads, to flavor sauces and also in soups. Both the inflated leaf bases and the tender young shoots can be eaten like celery.
Thinly sliced fennel is crunchy and pairs perfectly with tender arugula leaves in our homemade pear and rocket salad recipe.
Best Pears For Rocket Salad
Pears are fruits produced and consumed around the world, growing on a tree and harvested in the Northern Hemisphere in late summer into October.
About 3000 known varieties of pears are grown worldwide, which vary in both shape and taste. The fruit is consumed fresh, canned, as juice, or dried.
We’ve used sliced ripe Bartlett Pear in this Rocket Salad recipe to give the dish a juicy crunch. We suggest using soft ripe pears as they contrast nicely with crunchiness of the fennel.
Feel free to use any of your favourite pear varieties. Other favourites include Forelle, Bosc, Anjous and Comice.
My Family Loves Pear and Rocket Salad
My family loves fresh salads, especially if they are quick and easy to make last minute.
We’re all omnivores and thankfully don’t have any allergies. We try and balance a healthy diet that features lean meat, sustainable seafood, local cheese, legumes, seeds, nuts and fresh vegetables.
I developed this Pear and Rocket Salad in the Fall just before Thanksgiving. After visiting my local farmers market I purchased all of the fresh ingredients as they were in season.
What I love most about this salad is that it has a variety of flavours and textures: crunchy fennel, juicy pear, tender peppery rocket leaves, nutty pecans, creamy parmesan cheese and fragrant fresh dill.
Let the fresh fruits and vegetables speak for themselves by dressing the salad with a simple vinaigrette made of olive oil, honey, lemon juice, grainy mustard and dijon mustard.
We love serving this Pear and Rocket Salad during the cooler months of the year in Fall and Winter. It’s the perfect side dish to serve at Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas brunch.
Rocket Pear Salad Health Benefits
Our Pear and Rocket Salad recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Pecans offer heart-friendly fats, immune-boosting copper, and manganese, which helps keep your brain and nerves healthy.
Pears are rich in essential antioxidants, plant compounds, and dietary fibre. They pack all of these nutrients in a fat free, cholesterol free, 100 calorie package.
The potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Fennel contains significant amounts of fibre.
Lettuce is one of the most widely consumed vegetables worldwide, but its nutritional value has been underestimated. Lettuce is low in calories, fat and sodium. It is a good source of fibre, iron, folate, and vitamin C. Lettuce is also a good source of various other health-beneficial bioactive compounds.
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Dill is packed with micronutrients such as Vitamin A and C, responsible for healthy vision, skin and immune function.
How To Make Pear and Rocket Salad
This Rocket Pear Salad is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time salad tossers!
- We suggest using a French knife to slice the pears.
- We suggest using a mandolin to thinly slice the fennel bulb.
- We’ve used pecans in this recipe but you could substitute for roasted walnuts or almonds.
- We’ve used dill in this recipe but you could also flavour the salad with other tender herbs like parsley, basil and chives.
- We’ve used parmesan cheese in this recipe but if you could substitute for Gouda, Red Leicester Cheese, Rogue River Smokey Blue Cheese, Chevre Grand Affineur, Gruyere, Manchego or Mimolette.
- You can serve this healthy Pear and Rocket Salad to vegans if you omit the cheese.
What To Serve with Rocket Pear Salad
This family favourite Rocket Pear Salad can be enjoyed as a main course or vegetarian side dish.
We love serving this recipe as an entree at lunch, enjoying large bowls with a slice of sourdough bread or gourmet crackers. We intentionally created a salad that is well balanced nutritionally so your body has everything it needs in one bowl.
Crunchy Pear and Rocket Salad should be paired with a bottle of dry white wine, preferably from a winery in Beamsville, Niagara on the Lake or Prince Edward County. The recipe also pairs well with a citrus-forward IPA craft beer. If you’re more of a mixed drink fan check our our guide to the best craft cocktails.
There’s a reason so many restaurants have “soup & salad specials.” For a more substantial meal we recommend pairing our homemade Rocket Pear Salad with a healthy soup like Portuguese Bean Soup, Chipotle Mexican Bean Soup, Fakes Soupa, Ogorkowa Zupa, Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup, Cheesy Vegetarian Cheddar Broccoli Almond Soup and Creamy Vegetarian Parsnip and Pear Soup.
If you’re serving this cold salad at a barbecue, it pairs nicely with plump sausages, hamburgers, steaks or grilled prawns.
If you’re looking for a great dessert idea to enjoy after your salad feast why not delight your guests with Blueberry Mango Crepes, Banana Oat Flour Pancakes, Apple Fritter Muffins, Sticky Toffee Banana and Date Muffins or Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies?
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Best Pear and Rocket Salad Recipe
Pecan Parmesan Rocket Pear Salad
- 1 Fennel Bulb trimmed
- 1 Ripe Pear
- 150 g Rocket Leaves
- 1 tbsp Grainy Mustard
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 cup Toasted or Roasted Pecans chopped
- 1 tbsp Dill chopped
- Cut the fennel info very thin slices, using a mandolin or sharp French knife. Plunge the fennel slices into a bowl of iced water and leave for 15-20 minutes to crips up the leaves.
- For the vinaigrette, combine the mustards, honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and stir with a whisk until combined. Set aside.
- Drain the fennel, pat dry with a tea towel and put into a large bowl. Quarter, core and thinly slice the pear, then add to the bowl with the rocket and chopped pecans. Drizzle vinaigrette, toss to combine, then pile salad on individual plates. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and dill. Serve immediately.
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