A refreshing Asian pear salad with orange ginger dressing is a healthy and delicious side dish! Crisp vegetables and pears are tossed in a sweet, tangy dressing.
There’s one particular fruit that brings me back to my childhood, and those delicious treats are crisp and sweet Asian pears. My family’s backyard was lined with a row of Asian pear trees and boy did they produce the most bountiful fruit. Whenever I wanted an after-school snack, my grandpa would happily pluck a few for me to gobble up.
I saw them recently at the grocery store, and I stopped in my tracks. I knew I had to grab a few and make them into a recipe. You don’t need to do much to make these pears shine, just add some fresh vegetables and you’ve got a healthy Asian pear salad with orange ginger dressing waiting to disappear into your blissful bellies.
Random fact, my Chinese name is Yee Weung Meon, which means “beautiful rainbow.” When I admire this big bowl of colorful fruit and vegetables, rainbows come to mind and make me smile. I swear I just saw a unicorn jump out of this salad, hehe.
Eating all different colors have incredible benefits from the phytonutrients contained in each piece of produce, the nutrients that you can only get from plants. This salad is the perfect way to get a full range of nutrients all in one bowl, high five!
The dressing is what makes this salad come to life. Fresh orange juice and zest, combined with ginger, shallots, rice vinegar, and chopped cilantro are tangy, savory, with a hint of sweetness. It’s almost like it grabs individual flavor elements from the salad and makes them POP!
The best thing about this dish is you can make it fast, without any cooking needed. You get a chance to practice your chopping skills and quickly whisk up your dressing in under 30 minutes.
This Asian pear salad can be enjoyed as a light lunch, or I like to serve it as a side dish with a spicy cedar plank salmon or sriracha honey chicken stir-fry. If this is your first time trying Asian pears, I would love to hear what you think. It’s been a mission of mine this month to create healthy and flavorful meals for my family and readers.
How do I make my own homemade salad dressing?
Dressings are all about creating an emulsion, a fine dispersion of small droplets of one liquid in another which do not usually mix. In this case, grapeseed oil, orange juice, and rice wine vinegar serve as the dressing base. Often mechanical force with the motion of fast constant whisking until you get a homogeneous mixture creates the texture you are looking for. The best method is to add slowly in a stream of oil to the vinegar and juice while whisking simultaneously to disperse the oil droplets. You can add other flavoring ingredients like shallots, ginger, salt, and pepper to enhance the taste of the dressing. The emulsion is semi-permanent, meaning over time the oil and water phases will eventually separate. No big deal, just whisk again before serving.
Asian Pear Salad with Orange Ginger Dressing
Asian Pear Salad-
- 1 large orange, cut into segments (8-10)
- 1 1/4 cups red bell pepper, minced fresh
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 2 cups Asian pear, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 cup edamame, shelled, cooked
- 1 cup red cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1 cup cucumber, cut in half, thinly sliced
Orange Ginger Dressing-
- 1 teaspoon shallots, minced
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil, or other neutral oil
- Pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- kosher salt, to taste
- Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl, except for the oil. Gradually whisk in the oil, until a slightly thickened dressing is achieved. Add the desired amount of dressing to the salad and gently combine. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy immediately once dressing is added.