Now that the weather is warming up (slightly), I’m in more of a mood for salad than soup. It’s still winter in Ohio, but I can pretend it’s spring. I recently received a lovely sample box of pears from USA pears and couldn’t wait until they got ripe enough to eat. They’re the pearfect treat for this food-loving dietitian.

Pears are not only beautiful (I have a collection of pear art and trinkets), they’re nutritious and delicious. A natural source of fiber, pears provide over 5 grams of dietary fiber in 1 medium piece of fruit. Adult men need roughly 38 grams of fiber daily while women should aim for at least 25 grams. Be good to your colon and eat that fiber!

In addition to fiber, pears are a source of phytochemicals- plant compounds that help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. They’re a versatile fruit that can be eaten by themselves or used in baked goods to reduce the amount of added sugar. Use 1/2 cup of pear puree for 1 cup of added sugar. You’ll need to adjust recipes a bit as pears and other fruit adds moisture to your recipes.

Here are a few ways to enjoy pears:

  1. “Pear” them with low-fat cottage cheese for a quick breakfast or snack.
  2. Top your breakfast oats with chopped pears.
  3. Slice or dice them and include in your salad.
  4. Try pears in a compote for meat or fish.
  5. Eat them with a side of nuts and blue cheese and pretend you’re in France.

Below is the recipe for my lunch!

Chicken and fresh pear salad with dried cherries and almonds

2 cups mixed greens, baby spinach or bagged kale salad

2-3 ounces cooked chicken or turkey

1 ripe D’Anjou or other fresh pear

1/4 cup almond slivers

1 Tbsp. dried cherries

1 tsp. blue cheese crumbles

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  1. Place the greens in a salad bowl.
  2. Add the chicken to the greens.
  3. Rinse, dry and cut the pears into chunks and add them to the salad
  4. Top with almond slivers, dried cherries and blue cheese crumbles.
  5. Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard to make a vinaigrette.
  6. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and eat!

Makes 1 pearfectly delicious lunch.

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