This delicious pear and beet salad combines spinach with cooked beets, fresh pears, dried cranberries, avocado, hemp hearts and a creamy ginger hemp dressing.
Say hello to this colorful beaut of a salad! This pear and beet salad is packed with nutrient-dense, flavorful toppings – earthy beets, juicy pears, dried cranberries, creamy avocado and a hefty sprinkle of hemp hearts.
The salad itself is delicious, but the ginger hemp dressing might just be the star of the show! It’s got a little zip from the lemon and ginger, but not too much and the hemp hearts make it extra creamy.
Serve this beet salad at your next holiday gathering or make the full salad and have it for lunch throughout the week — that’s what I did!
Why You’ll Love This Salad
The combination of sweet and savory flavors from the pears and beets make for a unique and delicious salad.
It’s jam-packed with tons of nutrients thanks to the veggies, beets, pears and hemp hearts!
It is a relatively simple and quick recipe to make, especially if you prep your beets ahead of time!
Enjoy as a side salad or add some protein for a meal-sized salad.
beets – add a delicious, earthy sweetness to a salad. They are a great way to add color, texture and nutrients to this salad. Beets are a great source of fiber and are packed with folate, potassium, iron and vitamin C. I prefer to boil my beets, but you can also make roasted beets, instant pot beets, or for a shortcut use pre-cooked beets from the grocery store.
lemon juice – this is for boiling the beets. The lemon juice helps to prevent the beets from bleeding. You can also use vinegar if you don’t have lemons on hand.
spinach – we’re using spinach as the base for this salad, but feel free to use your favorite variety of greens. Spinach is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium and is an excellent source of fiber.
pears – adds a sweet flavor and some freshness to this salad! I prefer using either Bosc or Bartlett pears, but any variety will work. Some pear varieties like Bartlett pears change colors when they’re ripe, but many varieties don’t. The easiest way to check if a pear is ripe is to “check the neck” which means pressing on the top of the pear near the stem. If it feels a tiny bit soft and gives a little you’ll know it’s ripe and ready to enjoy. If it feels hard you’ll want to leave it on the counter 1-2 days more to let it ripen.
dried cranberries – the slight sweetness and tartness of cranberries help balance all the other flavors of this salad rather well. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants. I prefer to use dried cranberries that are fruit juice sweetened like these Made in Nature Organic Dried Cranberries.
hemp hearts – adds a delicious nutty flavor and slight crunch. They are also loaded with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin E and protein. I love the Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts.
avocado – adds some creaminess and healthy fats to this salad!
gorgonzola cheese – adds a salty, savory taste that pairs nicely with the sweet, earthy flavor of the beets and pears. Feel free to swap it out with a different variety of cheese like feta cheese or goat cheese or you can skip it or use a dairy-free cheese if you need this salad to be dairy-free.
ginger hemp dressing – definitely the star of the show here! For this dressing, we’re blending together olive oil, hemp hearts, lemon juice, tamari, ginger, garlic and maple syrup.
How to Make
Boil beets: Place the beets in a large saucepan and add water with lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes until tender. The cook time will vary based on how large the beets are. Drain and place the pot under cold running water. Keep rinsing until beets are cool enough to be handled. Peel skin off and cut into chunks. Set aside.
Make dressing: Prepare the dressing by putting all ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
Prepare salad: Add spinach, beet chunks, pear slices and dried cranberries to a large bowl. Sprinkle the hemp seeds over the salad. Drizzle on the dressing to taste and toss to combine. Serve and top with avocado and gorgonzola cheese.
Customize Your Salad
One of the reasons I love this salad is how customizable it is! Here are some suggestions for variations and substitutions:
Switch up the greens – if you don’t have spinach on hand, feel free to use your favorite lettuce or leafy green instead. Arugula or kale would be my second choice.
Dairy-free and vegan – simply skip the cheese (or use a vegan option).
Switch up the fruit or add more fruit – I think this would be delicious with blackberries or raspberries added! You could also switch the dried cranberries with another fruit like raisins, dates or cherries!
Add red onion – want a little added zip?! Add sliced or diced red onion to the salad.
Add nuts or seeds – adding more nuts or seeds to this salad will add a boost of nutrition and some extra crunch. Try toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. These candied pecans or candied walnuts would also be delicious additions.
Place the beets in a large saucepan, add water to cover, as well as, the lemon juice or vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The cook time will vary based on how large the beets are. Drain and place pot under cold running water. Keeping rinsing until beets are cool enough to be handled. Peel skin off the beets, cut into chunks and set aside.
Prepare dressing by putting all dressing ingredients into a high powdered blender. Blend until smooth.
Prep salad by adding arugula, beet chunks, pear slices and dried cranberries to a large bowl. Sprinkle hemp hearts over salad.
Add dressing to taste, stir to combine and serve topped with avocado and gorgonzola cheese. Alternatively, you can plate the salads onto four plates separately by quartering the ingredients. Start with a base of spinach. Add beets, pear, dried cranberries and avocado to each plate. Sprinkle on hemp hearts and serve with dressing so each person can dress the salad to taste.