Pear Almond Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette #SundaySupper

This is a gorgeous salad, with a bit of everything, the kind of salad that is good on the waist and also good for you. Fresh pears used two ways, peppery arugula, toasted almonds, only two plump medjool dates, a bit of good asiago cheese and a wonderful honey mustard vinaigrette.

After very decadent weeks in this kitchen, which included focaccia with roasted grapes, creamy chocolate ice cream with cherries, triple chocolate peanut clusters, fantastic berry pancakes and the most decadent dessert with dulce de leche and puff pastry, this salad is a welcome idea.

This week´s theme, hosted by the wonderful Sunithi of Sue´s Nutrition Buzzalmost made me back off from the Sunday Supper table, since I thought it was low-fat recipes, which I have absolutely nothing against, as long as they are naturally low in fat, like eating a ripe pear as opposed to stuffing yourself with fat-free rice cakes, or using a ton of light cheese instead of a small amount of a good, tasty one.
Nothing personal, it´s the way I think after being on both sides of the story.

But I might add before this turns into a rant about diets, that today´s theme is about not only light recipes but also healthy or gluten free or carb free or whatever we feel is a good option to lead a better life.

Moderation is key. I don´t believe in extremes when it comes to any type of diet, not just to loose weight, and unless there´s a medical condition involved, it´s the only way I can be happy both with myself and my body. Not that I can put it into practice all the time either.
Oh, I´ve had my share of perpetually-unhappy-with-my-body-I-need-to-drop-ten-pounds years, which is not hard to understand given the fact that my mother allowed me to go on the scarsdale diet (hello 80´s!) with her at age 13, or was that 12?

Well-being and food are so intimately related it´s hard to think that going against what my body wants and needs will get me somewhere. Well, that´s the tricky part, the body wants and needs very little compared to what my mind, senses and in many cases laziness believe it wants.

The eternal balance is hard when it comes to food, simply because we cannot do without. And it´s fairly cheap compared to other ways of filling the dark holes we have in our lives.

Arugula is one green leaf I´m freaking crazy about. Crazy, might as well put it on everything from pasta to soups, salads to sandwiches. It just goes with almost everything. So my plate is made entirely with arugula. You can very well mix it with various lettuces and watercress.

The rest of the ingredients, as well as the dressing, are used to balance the whole dish. If you go easy on the dates, almonds and cheese, use good quality ingredients where the flavor is pronounced, the reality is that a small amount goes a long way.

The dressing has mustard  and a few tablespoons of honey which add so much flavor and another layer of richness. This way I can have a nutritious, healthy and very satisfying salad that feels the opposite of restraint.


I prepared the salad on a platter to take to the table. You can also prepare it directly on two plates.
I half peeled the pear, you can do whatever you want.


3 cups arugula
2 Tbs thinly sliced shallots
1 pear (I used Bartlett)
2 medjool dates, chopped into little pieces
1.5 oz asiago cheese, sliced with a potato peeler
2 Tbs chopped almonds

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Teaspoons dijon mustard
1 Tbs honey
1/3 to ½ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


For the vinaigrette:
In a jar with lid, mix vinegar, mustard, honey and some salt. Slowly add oil while mixing well. Add pepper and check for seasonings. Refrigerate while you prepare salad.

For the salad:
In a bowl dress arugula with three tablespoons of vianigrette. Mound arugula on center of platter. Scatter shallot on top.
Cut pear in half and scoop out the centres. Dice one half, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet and cook pear cubes for about 2 minutes, until beginning to brown. Reserve.
Slice the remaining pear and add it to the platter.
Scatter half the chopped almonds on top of the arugula. Add the shaved asiago cheese. Scatter the date pieces and remaining almonds on top of cheese and pears.
Finally add the pear cubes.

Serves 2.

Just take a look at what we have made for you today:
Sizzling Skinny Appetizers & Soups
Healthy Skinny Mains & Sides
Guilt Free Skinny Desserts & Snacks
Wine Pairing Recommendations for Skinny Sunday Supper by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. 
We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. This week we will be sharing out special skinnified recipes! 
Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. 
Follow the#SundaySupper hash tag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. 
Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Join us Around the Family Table this Sunday at 7pm Eastern Time and share your favorite healthy recipes with us!
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  1. Oh Paula this looks fabulous. I'm coming to your house for a skinny #SundaySupper party... love!
    You said so many words that are my favorite ... pears, almonds, arugula, honey... Oh my!

  2. I love any salad with fruit, nuts, and cheese, but I especially love how you contrasted the sliftly softened and warmed pear chunks with the crispy, cool slices.

  3. This salad looks like the perfect combination of sweet and savory! And it's so beautiful! A feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.

    I completely agree with you on the low fat thing. I'd rather have a small amount of strong full fat cheese, for instance, than a whole cup of the low fat kind. And arugula is my favorite salad green!

  4. WOW...beautiful and filled with some of my favorite pairings. I think I may have licked my screen too..LOL

  5. stopping dead in my tracks... this is my kind of salad and what a great idea to cook the pears!

  6. Yummm - I am really a fan of the ingredients of your salad! It sounds awesome!

  7. love the idea of grilling the pears! And love your china!

  8. Oh I love the addition of Mejdool dates in your salad along with pears and the almond and the honey and the arugula!Oh my!! Droolworthy :)

  9. Beautiful salad! I love the shaved cheese, just enough flavor and not too heavy. I can not wait to try out this! Thanks for sharing!!

  10. I feel the same way about arugula - I love it! And this is totally my kind of salad... I love the different textures and flavors in it. Beautiful, Paula.

  11. You hit the nail on the head with what this theme is about !! Just healthier changes and your delactable salad is a perfect example !! Dates & cheese... mmm I can make a meal of this I think. On my " to make " list and so glad you decided to join !!

  12. Paula, I totally agree with you! Moderation is key!!! Growing up, I had a weight problem and was constantly on a diet. . even as a 5th grader I think. . I had really low self esteem and it wasn't until I started exercising and enjoying my body, that I finally came to terms with myself and learned to love myself, at whatever weight. Now, since I bake and cook all the time, eating in moderation and exercise is the only way I stay sane.
    This salad is absolutely gorgeous! I love salad with fruit and nuts and a light dressing so this is perfect! I LOVE it!

  13. Dear Sweet Paula, this is my first recipe blog from you into my email. your Brilliant words and Reasoning are still resounding in my brain and heart & soul. I am a 69 year old...been through every diet on the I scribe to your philosophy and am healthier for it. I eat everything, and it's more satisfying and fun...the pressures are gone. you need to write for a national magazine!
    Salad is stunning. thank you so much for being there for us.
    Have a wonderful Sunday.

    1. It´s so nice to meet you Judith; your comment warmed my heart!

  14. I'm all about moderation too. I'm also all about making this salad soon. Fresh ingredients, oh those pears and arugula, plus the homemade dressing. Yum, yum, and more yum!

  15. Pears in salads are my favorite! Yum!

  16. I love pears and cheese in my salad. Such an amazing combination!

  17. I LOVE pears my friend, so this salad has extra merit, wonderful job :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Such a great combination of flavors! Your photos are so good, I feel like I could just take a fork to my computer screen :)

  19. I also believe that moderation is key, especially with running a baking blog! Totally agree that things that are naturally low in fat are best. If I am going to eat sour cream or mayonnaise, I'd rather eat the full fat version or none at all. The salad looks great!

  20. Will be making this tomorrow for lunch. So good and I have all the ingredients without a stop at the market.

  21. So delicious! The pear looks wonderful in this.

  22. Amen to your food & diet philosophy, Paula. And 3 thumbs up for your amazing arugula salad and honey mustard vinaigrette!

  23. Oh, my. I LOVE, love this salad. I adore pears and never thought of sauteing them for a salad...just so much I appreciate about this recipe :)

  24. I think for me it would just perfect with chicken.. :)

  25. This sounds insanely good. I cannot wait to make this!

  26. Arugula is really a great salad type, I just wished my seeds would grow in my garden. Your salad Paula sounds like my kind of dish. What does the asiago cheese taste like? I am curious, I have heard of this cheese before and cheese is in my veins.

    1. Asiago is pretty much like the cheap version of Parmesan. Or at least here it is. In spanish it´s `Sardo´

  27. This just looks so amazing. I can't wait to try this one.

  28. I'm an arugula freak too. Love the stuff. I agree with you on the rather have some fresh fruits or veggies than low cal rice cakes :)

  29. Honey mustard anything is a win. Bonus if it's veggies - rice cakes are boring!

  30. Great looking salad Paula. It's got so many of my faves..pears, dates and asiago cheese which add some great flavors! Pinning! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Fruit in salad is my absolute favourite and I LOVE pears. This is a gorgeous, vibrant, flavourful recipe. Great post, Paula, as usual. I fully acknowledge that i have a very unhealthy relationship with food. The last reason on my list for why I eat is sustenance. I'm an emotional eater - I eat when I'm bored, stressed, tired, depressed, you name the emotion, I'll find a way to connect it with food. I snack at my desk all day long, not because I'm hungry but because I need to blunt the stress of my day. It's a habit I need to break. I should just start packing this salad with me when I leave the house instead of all the baked goods I make ;)

  32. I love adding pear to my salad but I have never tried sauteing it. This I have to try

  33. oh my gosh! I am drooling over this salad. I just want to reach in the screen and eat it all up! seriously yummy!

  34. i'm playign catch ups on your posts paula - how fresh and delicious looking. i love elegant salads like this. i shoudl try this next time i have pears!

  35. This salad has my name on it, Paua. It has everything I love in a salad for dinner in it. Just perfect!!! Thank you! ~ Bea

  36. Paula - this is beautiful, and I need to join you in your rant against fad diets. They drive me crazy! Eat well, eat whole foods, if a package you pick up has ingredients you cannot pronounce, put it down! Moderation is the key, and I would add thoughtfulness, as well. ... Sorry about the rant! :) I wanted to say that work is getting in the way of my blog reading - I have to save them to savor on Sunday mornings! But what joy I get all these gifts from you on or day! (I do peek during the week!) And this week, I went to lunch with someone and had a crispy kale salad with pears, almonds, goat cheese and dates. It was lovely and I remember thinking how fun it will be to read your post on Sunday... ~David

    1. Wisdom about eating habits usually come with age David. And life does get in the way, especially work. We do what we can, and I´m grateful to know you, comments or no comments.
      Kale, that I need to find it somewhere and try it. Have no idea what it tastes like, though I can imagine, but most of all I´m curious!


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Maira Gall