Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

gluten freevegetarian

This vegetarian, crunchy, sweet, and savory salad was inspired by an appetizer plate at Swan Restaurant in Miami, and can be enjoyed as a hearty lunch salad or start or side to any meal. It’s fancy, but totally easy to make – and gluten free! 

Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

80% of the time, my recipes are developed just by what I’m craving – a bowl of spaghetti, a spring salad, a hearty bowl of Mexican flavor, or whatever. I love recreating my favorite classic pasta and noodle dishes (that’s where we have 4 different lo-mein recipes on the blog!), but sometimes, I’m inspired by dining out.

Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

My husband and I love to travel and love trying new restaurants. While we were in Miami recently, we had the most unbelievably epic salad at a restaurant called Swan in the Miami Arts District. It was a Little Gem Salad that had shaved ricotta salata, pears, quinoa, and crunchy walnuts. It was a giant appetizer salad and we devoured it.

There’s something about the sweet pear, the melt in your mouth ricotta, the crunch of the walnuts and lettuce, and the tiny pearls of quinoa that make this salad next level. I am literally going to make it at every single dinner party or brunch I throw from here on out! I’m thinking of summer-izing it with some spiralized cantaloupe next! What do you think?

Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

And just as a note, I left this in the refrigerator for two days and it was still just as delicious, so it can definitely be made ahead!

Watch our video to learn how to spiralize a pear using the Inspiralizer and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch more videos:


Nutritional Information & Recipe

Serves 4-6

Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

20 minPrep Time

20 minTotal Time

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  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil (if you can’t find this, it’s not a total deal breaker, just use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts + 4 tablespoons well chopped toasted walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 2oz shaved ricotta salata
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 1 bosc pear, Blade A (no need to trim them, the pear noodles are brittle enough that they will break up when tossed in the salad)
  • 2 heads little gem lettuce


  1. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in a large salad bowl and toss well. Drizzle with the dressing and toss gently. Top with remaining chopped walnuts and serve.

Little Gem Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

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