A beautiful and simple salad with all the sweetest flavors of fall. Simple grilled chicken, pears, cranberries, walnuts and more are stacked up on leafy greens and topped with a maple balsamic vinaigrette to make a delicious meal in under 20 minutes and under $4 per serving!
Here in Texas, there is a pretty small window to get both beautiful weather and pears that are on sale and ripe. When this time hits, I have to find a way to use them while I can. My initial instinct is always poached pears or a pear torte, but the calories on those can get outta hand quick! And so...we salad.
Easy Salad with Fall Flavors
Easy. That's my favorite part of salads. The key to salads is the ability to put together some awesome flavors. Other than that, it's cook, chop, mix and eat. They also make fantastic packed lunches for most of the week in under 20 minutes. That's a huge win!
Rather than bore you with detailed instructions on how to put salad ingredients in a bowl and dressing ingredients in a blender, I'm going to run through why I love to eat some of these fresh ingredients.
Pears are an awesome source of fiber, with 6 grams per medium-sized fruit. Fiber assists with digestion reduces inflammation and chances of diabetes. There are about 3000 types of pears to choose from, in this salad I went with the lovely red, but they all provide the same amount of fiber.
Walnuts are one of the plant-based sources of Omega-3s. Those Omegas help with heart health and address inflammation. Walnuts also feed the healthy bacteria in the gut to keep your microbiota happy and healthy.
Kale, spring mix, spinach, romaine, arugula, whatever you choose works great in this salad. They all boast tuns of phytonutrients and vitamins like B, C and K. They also have a decent amount of iron and antioxidants. Just steer clear of iceberg - it's just missing an opportunity to get some of these benefits.
Other Quick Salad Recipes
Pear, Cranberry Chicken Salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts ((cut in half from top to bottom to back cutlets))
- salt and pepper
- 12 cups spring mix ((or any leafy green))
- 2 pears, halved, pitted and cut into ¼-inch slices
- ½ cup feta
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped ((roasted or raw))
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 small shallots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- PREP THE CHICKEN: Heat oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken cutlets with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper on both sides.
- COOK THE CHICKEN: When the oil shimmers, reduce the temp to medium and add the chicken cutlets to the pan. Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, or until no longer pink in the center.
- MAKE THE DRESSING: While the chicken cooks, add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend on low for 30-40 seconds. Set aside while you assemble to salads.
- ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: In a large bowl, add 3 cups of greens, 1 sliced chicken breast cutlet, ½ a pear, 2 tablespoons feta, 2 tablespoons nuts, and 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries. Dress each salad with 2 tablespoons of the maple balsamic vinaigrette.
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