If you're looking for delicious fall flavors but are tired of pumpkin spice, we have just the thing! This pear salad is easy, tasty, and positively “pear-fect” in every way!

Image of a fall pear salad made with pears, almonds, spinach, and cheese in a black bowl. - Shelf Cooking

Embracing the flavors of harvest time is one of our favorite things about fall! Aside from the colorful crunchy leaves…and cozy sweaters…and crisp air…and who are we kidding? We love everything about fall and we're not afraid to show it!

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Anyhoo, no shade to pumpkin spice (because we love that, too!), but sometimes it's nice to enjoy other fall flavors as well. Pears are in season in September, which makes right now the perfect time to make this delicious salad!

Ingredients and Substitutions For A Delicious Fall Salad

Overhead image of a fall pear salad in a bowl. A sliced pear and slivered sugared almonds are next to it. - Shelf Cooking

One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck when grocery shopping is to eat seasonally. Enjoying fresh produce when it is naturally in season is both more flavorful and less expensive! That's why we think right now is the prime time to enjoy this pear salad. Whether you get pears from the grocery store, a local farmer's market, or your own tree (lucky!), there's no wrong way to enjoy this salad.

However, what if you don't have pears readily available?! No worries, friend! In the spirit of shelf cooking, there are a whole bunch of substitutions that you can consider in the event of a missing ingredient.

Consider swapping:

  • Pears for… apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, dried cranberries, or raisins.
  • Almonds for…pecan halves, crushed walnuts, or pistachios.
  • Spinach for…arugula, spring mix, or romaine.
  • Mozzarella for…feta or shredded parmesan.

You can try this recipe with all sorts of variations! Try them out and let us know which combo you like best.

The Best Pear Salad Pairings

Image of a pear and spinach salad in a black bowl. - Shelf Cooking

We love serving this salad as a side for a variety of meals. Here's some we suggest, but we'd love to hear what you serve it with, too!

  • Soup – Soup and salad is an obviously classic pairing! Try it with butternut squash soup for complete autumn bliss, or bust out the slow-cooker for this creamy potato soup or tortellini soup.
  • Pasta – The freshness of this salad is a great accompaniment to the richness of of creamy pasta dish. You'll love it with this Instant Pot alfredo or some baked ziti.
  • Sandwiches – You can't go wrong with a melty sandwich and salad! Try some of these grilled cheese sandwich ideas or maybe our favorite French dip sandwich alongside this pear salad for a satisfying and simple meal.
  • Grilled meats – Firing up the grill for some steaks, pork chops, shrimp or chicken? Great idea! Add this pear salad as a side dish and you'll have a fancy-feeling meal in no time.

We've found this to be an excellent contribution to a neighborhood or holiday potluck meal! It's a nice way to change things up from your traditional garden salad.

You can also make this salad into a complete meal by adding some protein. We love it with strips of grilled chicken or steak. Yum!

How To Make This Pear Salad

This yummy salad is full of simple yet flavorful ingredients. Feel free to customize it exactly to your liking!

Perfect Pear Salad

This delicious salad captures the fresh flavors of fall!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people



  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp onion, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil


  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp white sugar


  • 1 (16 oz) package fresh spinach
  • 2 pears, thinkly sliced
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese



  • Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add almonds and sugar.
  • Saute until sugar has melted and everything has incorporated, but watch carefully so they don't burn!
  • Cool on parchment paper.


  • Mix all ingredients except oil in a blender, or shake in a sealed jar.
  • Gradually add oil and poppy seeds and continue blending/shaking.
  • Refrigerate remaining dressing for later use. Keeps 3 weeks.


  • Combine salad ingredients in a bowl according to your desired taste.
  • Top with almonds, serve dressing on the side. Enjoy!
Keyword pear, salad, side dish

What are your favorite fall flavors? We'd love to hear in the comments!

For more yummy recipe inspo, check out these posts:

We hope you have a positively pear-fect day!