Delicious Arugula, Pecan, and Pear Salad Recipe

This delicious arugula, pecan, and pear salad is easy to make and looks beautiful on the plate. Not to mention, it’s so easy to put together! Let’s get started!

Virtual Book Club

Welcome to the first edition of the Virtual Book Club. Three of my blogging friends and I will share our interpretation of a different book on the fourth week of each month! You will see their ideas and inspiration at the bottom of this post.

Here are some of the books we will be using as inspiration.


Maybe you would rather listen to the audio version o these books. Join Audible and you can enjoy books on the go anywhere from your phone! This is a great way to read lots of books.

Or maybe you are a movie watcher like me. Join Amazon Prime and get access to thousands of movies.

On the last Thursday of each month, we will share something home decor-related, and a culinary treat on the following Saturday inspired by our book of the month.

We hope you join us in this reading adventure and grab a copy of the books so you can be inspired along with us!

The following post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and then buy something, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you! Thank you for supporting my blog. full disclosure here.

Murder on the Orient Express

Our book for the month of January has been Murder on the Orient Express. It’s a great mystery set in Europe in the 1930s and written by Agatha Christie. If you love mystery you will love this one with its twists and turns and interesting characters.

The dining car of the Orient Express really captured my attention. Each table had a dining car had a lamp. I shared an upcycled faux brass lamp in my last post. You will love how it turned out!

broken vintage lamp

arugula salad inspiration

I was also inspired by the food on the Orient Express. I can’t remember exactly what food they talked about in the audio version of this classic but in the movie (1970s version) one of the characters was offended by the pine nuts in her salad. Princess Dragomiroff was a bit persnickety, to say the least.

So I decided to make my own elegant salad with roasted pine nuts. Then I went to the grocery store. Omgoodness, one small bag of pinenuts, the equivalent of one cup, cost $7.99. That was the end of that.

No worries, this salad turned out so elegant and fancy, I’m sure you will enjoy it!

This delicious arugula, pecan, and pear salad is easy to make and looks beautiful on the plate. Not to mention, it’s so easy to put together! Let’s get started!

We love salad. We have a salad daily. Either at lunch or dinner. And sometimes for both meals!

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we will be using in this delicious arugula salad:

salad ingredients

  • Peppery arugula
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Sweet pears
  • Pecans
  • English cucumber
  • Radishes
  • Seedless blackberries
salad ingredients including arugula, pecans, pears, cucumbers and other salad items

The homemade poppyseed dressing is a variation of several recipes I found on Pinterest. We are cutting back on our sugar intake, so my version is not very sweet. You could always add more sweeteners if you like!

poppy seed dressing recipe

Here are the ingredients for my homemade poppyseed salad dressing:

  • Homemade greek yogurt
  • Extra virgin Olive oil
  • Honey (or real maple syrup)
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Poppyseeds
  • Salt and pepper
homemade poppyseed dressing recipe

wash the salad ingredients

This arugula salad is pretty straightforward. I can’t claim to be a great chef in the kitchen, so I like simple ingredients and healthy recipes that are easy to prepare.

Plus, my hubby and I mostly eat veggies and meats. Fresh Salads fit into our usual meals very easily.

First, wash all of your fresh salad greens, radishes, cucumbers, berries, and the fresh pear. Use a salad spinner for the greens to get rid of the moisture. Wet lettuce won’t hold the dressing very well 🙂

how to make your own salad dressing

While the fresh veggies dry at room temperature, let’s put the poppy seed salad dressing together. I’ve made my salad dressing for years and I’ve used the same formula over and over: 1 part acid to 3-5 parts fat, sweetener, and spices.

In other words, if I measure 1 tablespoon of acid into a small bowl, I need to add 3-5 tablespoons of fat.

The acid can be a variety of things: lemon juice, lime juice, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar…. You get the idea.

two plates of arugula, pecan and pear salad

The fat can also vary. Fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, mayonnaise, buttermilk, and greek yogurt. You can also use a combination of fats depending on the flavors and consistency you want.

Sweeteners help to balance the fats and acids in the dressing. And the spices can change up the dressing for different cuisines like Italian recipes, Thai recipes, and Spanish recipes. You can use the same spice family depending on how the rest of the meal is flavored.

Dijon mustard is a common ingredient in many dressings. I didn’t want to take away from the peppery arugula flavors so I didn’t include mustard in my homemade salad dressing.

Anyway, I seemed to have gone down a rabbit hole on that one! For my salad dressing, I used homemade yogurt and olive oil as my fat, lemon juice and zest as my acid, honey as the sweetener, and poppyseeds as my spice. Salt and pepper help to enhance all of the flavors.

The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. This is not something I usually do because the dressing comes together so quickly and I like to keep it all fresh.

arugula salad recipe with pears and pecans

prep the salad ingredients

Now let’s prepare the veggies. Baby arugula usually comes in plastic containers with a peel-off lid. Look in your refrigerator department in the product aisle at your grocery store. You will also see baby spinach, and other tender greens packaged the same way in the product fridge.

Baby arugula doesn’t need to be cut in my opinion. It’s already small and looks so pretty when it’s plated. The red leaf lettuce on the other hand will need to be cut. You can tear the lettuce to create an organic look to this salad too. 

slice the sweet pears and cucumbers

To get thin pear slices, you can use a mandoline. I tried that, but my mandoline isn’t adjustable and my slices were thick. So I pulled out my meat-slicing knife and very carefully sliced the juicy pears as thin as I could. They are not perfect but they do look pretty!

We love English cucumbers on our salads so I sliced those in the same way. Looking back at the images now, they would have been prettier sliced on an angle! I’ll do that next time! 

BTW, English cucumbers do not need to be peeled. The skins are super tender! Woohoo for less prep!

arugula salad with vintage silverware

chop the pecans, shred the radishes

The pecans were easy enough to chop with my chef’s knife on our handmade cutting board. You can also purchase pecan pieces by the bag from the grocery store.

The radishes are next. My hubby loves the strong flavors and spiciness of radishes so I had to add them to the pecan salad. Plus, the color is perfect! I used my large Microplane and shredded them very carefully. I got as close to the end of the radish as I could without cutting myself. That hurts when you cut yourself on a Microplane!

parmesan crispy crackers recipe

Before we assemble this salad, let’s talk about croutons. I love them. I could eat them right from the bag. Especially the Texas Toast Croutons with cheese and garlic.

But hubby and I are cutting back on grains and sugars in our diet. That means no crunchy bread croutons for us!

parmesan crispy cracker on arugula salad

So here is another option. I used to make these little cheese crackers often but I had forgotten all about them! Does that happen to you? You cook something for a long time then for whatever reason, you forget about it?

These parmesan cheese crackers are so easy to make. We always have a fresh block of parmesan cheese in our fridge so it’s easy to make these.

Using a smaller Microplane, I shredded a pile of the parmesan cheese onto the cutting board to make about 4 crackers. Once you make the first one, you will realize how much cheese you need.

While I was shredding the cheese, I heated a small cast iron pan over medium heat. A dab of butter will prevent the cheese from sticking. 

When the pan was heated, I piled the shredded parmesan cheese onto the center of the pan. The cheese will melt and then brown on the edges. 

Leave it alone in the pan until it is completely melted and browned. Then remove it to a paper towel to cool. When it is completely cooled, it will be a crispy cheese cracker.

Resist the temptation to use a spatula on this cheese cracker too soon! I flipped mine so it could brown on the other side.

homemade parmesan crackers

tips for making parmesan cheese crackers

Here are some tips to keep in mind when making these parmesan cheese crackers:

  • Put a small amount of shredded cheese into the preheated pan. Add enough to make a diameter of about 2-2.5”
  • Don’t pile up the cheese in the center too much. The cracker will be chewy instead of crisp
  • Flip the browned cracker and let it brown a little bit on the other side
  • Allow the salty parmesan cheese cracker to cool completely so it will be crispy
arugula, pecan and pear salad

layer the salad ingredients

Let’s put this delicious side salad together! I’m starving after talking about it so much!

Layer the red leaf lettuce on one side of the plate so that it will be visible. Next, layer a small handful of the baby arugula onto the plate, allowing the red leaf lettuce to show. 

The cucumbers looked pretty lined up over the top of the red leaf lettuce and the sliced soft pears fanned out perfectly over the arugula. The chopped pecans are in their own little pile and the shredded radishes pop over the arugula. 

The parmesan cracker is tucked into the side of the plate. The seedless blackberries form a little frame around the spoon. 

And the large vintage silver spoon holds the perfect amount of the poppyseed dressing! A sprinkling of lemon zest makes the whole salad come together beautifully.

arugula salad with pears and pecans

ingredient substitutions

Let’s go over some options and substitutions for this salad:

  • Substitute the baby arugula with spring mix salad or other small leaf greens
  • Use baby romaine if red-leaf lettuce is out of season
  • Use whatever type of pear you like: Asian pears, bartlett pears, red Anjou
  • Replace the pear slices with your favorite apple slices: Honeycrisp apple, Granny Smith apple, and Pink Lady are all great choices
  • Add some spices to the pecans and roast them to create spicy pecans or roast them using brown sugar to create extra crunch for the salad
  • Here are some substitutes to stand in for the pecans if you don’t have any: walnuts, roasted pinenuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds
  • Use any kind of berries you like including sliced strawberries, red raspberries, or blueberries
arugula salad plated including sliced pears, pecans, blackberries

One last thing about this salad and all of the variations, add a roasted piece of chicken breast on top and you instantly have a main course. This is what my hubby and I do all the time. It’s a great way to get all of the veggies and protein on one plate.

printable recipe card

arugula salad with pears and pecans
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Delicious Arugula, Pecan, and Pear Salad Recipe

This an elegant and easy salad recipe for any night of the week. Add a roasted chicken breast and you have a complete meal!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 people
Cost: $10


  • cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Microplane one fine grater, one coarse grater
  • whisk
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons


  • 1 container arugula
  • 1 bunch red-leaf lettuce
  • 1 sweet pear
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 3-4 radishes
  • 8 seedless blackberries

salad dressing

  • 4-5 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp poppyseeds
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Crispy Crackers

  • 4-5 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp butter


Arugula, Pecan and Pear Salad

  • Wash and thoroughly dry the produce.
  • Tear the red-leaf lettuce into pieces.
  • Thinly slice the pear with a knife.
  • Thinly slice the cucumber at an angle.
  • Chop the pecans.
  • Use the Course Microplane to shred the radishes.
  • Layer the salad on the serving plates in this order: red leaf lettuce, arugula, sliced cucumbers, sliced pears, chopped pecans, shredded radishes, and blackberries. Nestle a large spoon with a serving size of the dressing in the bowl of the spoon. Nestle the parmesan cracker on the side of the salad.

Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

  • Slice and squeeze 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Zest the lemon.
  • Mix greek yogurt with olive oil and honey.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, some of the zest, poppy seeds, and salt & pepper to taste.

Parmesan Crispy Crackers

  • Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat.
  • Shred fresh Parmesan cheese with a fine-grade Microplane.
  • Add a dab of butter to the pan and place approx 1 tbsp of shredded parmesan cheese in the pan.
  • Allow cheese to melt and brown. Flip and allow to brown on the other side.
  • Remove from pan and allow to cool.
  • Parmesan must melt and brown enough so that it will be crispy when it is cooled.


Additional options for your salad:
Substitute the baby arugula with spring mix salad or other small leaf greens
Use baby romaine if red-leaf lettuce is out of season
Use whatever type of pear you like: Asian pears, bartlett pears, red Anjou
Replace the pear slices with your favorite apple slices: Honeycrisp apple, granny smith apple, and pink lady are all great choices
Add some spices to the pecans and roast them to create spicy pecans or roast them using brown sugar to create extra crunch for the salad
Here are some substitutes to stand in for the pecans if you don’t have any: walnuts, roasted pinenuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds
Use any kind of berries you like including sliced strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries
graphic with arugula salad
graphic with The Virtual Book Club

I hope you enjoyed this post and the inspiration from the book, Murder on the Orient Express. Be sure to read the posts my blogging friends were inspired to write.

Lynn from Living Large in a Small House

Erin from Erin Evolving

Crystal from Sweet Valley Acres

Thanks for joining our journey!

Thanks so much for joining us for this post! Join our journey so you don’t miss any of the fun projects, tutorials, and inspiration that we share with you each week! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We share even more inspiration on Pinterest!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Such a lovely and healthy salad. I love the addition of the blackberries – so pretty. I needed pine nuts for a recipe too and was surprised by two things. One they are very expensive as you mentioned and two most of them come from China! Visiting from Gluten Free A-Z Blog ( A plant-based blog)

    1. Omgoodness, I had no idea that pine nuts came from China 🙂 Thanks for visiting Judee!

  2. This looks and sounds delicious. Yum!

    1. It was soooo good Renae! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. 5 stars
    The salad looks so yummy! I love a salad for lunch and I’m always looking for new ideas so it doesn’t get boring.

    I need to know more about your homemade yogurt?

    Thanks for joining me on the virtual book club journey and being such a good blogging friend.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the recipe Lynn. It was so delicous. Homemade yogurt is so easy to make. I need to write a post about it! I’m loving our monthly book club! It’s going to be a great year!

  4. Wendy McMonigle says:

    5 stars
    This salad sounds delicious Cindy. I love anything with Argula and your homemade dressing sounds so yummy. I have pinned it.

    1. Thanks for pinning Wendy! I really appreciate it!

  5. I’m in love with this virtual book club! The salad is gorgeous, and the tie-in with the lamp project is genius!! I can’t wait to check out the other recipes and projects. What a brilliant and fun idea, Cindy!!

    1. Thanks, Becky! I’m so glad you are looking forward to this series! Our next book is Emma by Jane Austin 🙂

  6. This salad looks delicious, Cindy. I love these types of salads for lunch or dinner.

    1. Me too Tammy! We have a salad almost everyday 🙂

  7. Cindy, Your salad looks so beautiful and I’m sure it tasted delicious too! I’m always on the lookout for new salad recipes! Thanks for the inspiration! I’m loving this book club series! Have a great week! Blessings, Donna

    1. The salad was amazing Donna. We will definitely eat it often. Thanks for stopping by – have a great week!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe looks so delicious! I love the addition of pears!