Pear, Grape, and Feta Salad

pear, grape, and feta salad
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD
Total Time 10 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 0 min
Yield 2 servings (373 calories each)

Salads may seem like the best option when you’re trying to eat healthy, but sometimes they can be a trap for your diet goals. Between cheese, croutons, fried chicken strips, and a generous pour of creamy dressing, a seemingly ‘healthy’ salad can end up higher in fat, calories, and sodium than what you really wanted to eat in the first place.

To make a truly nutritious and great tasting salad that can help you reach your health goals, this salad follows these general rules of thumb.

First, start with a base of dark leafy greens. Light green iceberg lettuce is mostly water and doesn’t contribute much nutrition. Darker greens, like spinach, kale, and spring lettuce have more vitamins, like vitamin K and iron, than lighter colored lettuce.

Next, add a variety of fruits and vegetables. Adding a variety of the fruits and vegetables you enjoy will add a variety of vitamins and antioxidants, as well as fun textures and flavors. They also fill you up with their fiber and low calorie content. I love adding fruit to salads, like the grapes and pears in this one.

Go easy with the higher calorie toppings, like cheese, croutons, nuts, and dried fruit. I chose feta cheese and pecans for this salad. While nutritious, they also add calories (and sodium in the case of cheese), so limit the amount you use.

Finally, don’t use bottled or creamy dressings. They are filled with sodium and fat. Instead, either make your own simple dressing like the balsamic vinaigrette on this salad, or go with simple olive oil and vinegar to keep the calories, sodium, and saturated fat in check.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups spring mix lettuce
  • 1 small pear, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • pinch freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation

  1.  Add lettuce to a large bowl. Top with pear slices, grapes, onion, pecans, and feta cheese.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.

  3. Divide between 2 plates to serve.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Use any kind of lettuce that you have, such as baby spinach or romaine. The darker the color, the more vitamins and antioxidants it will have.

Try this salad with almonds or walnuts if you don’t have pecans.

You can substitute apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar in the dressing if you don’t care for balsamic vinegar.

Cooking and Serving Tips

This salad is delicious as-is for a light lunch, but if you want a heavier meal, try topping it with grilled fish or chicken.

If you’ll be making the salad ahead of time, wait to add the dressing until just before serving so that it doesn’t get soggy.

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