Pear and Squash Salad with Clean Balsamic Vinaigrette

Looking to add some kick to your lunch or dinner? This salad will certainly do the trick. I love eating salads for lunch, often with a sprinkle of lemon juice and black pepper, but sometimes the same old same-old gets boring. So what do you do? Kick it up a notch with seasonal produce and homemade clean eating salad dressing. By adding other dimensions using fresh natural ingredients you can make an out of this world salad or meal and still keep things healthy... Keeping YOU clean, lean and full of energy.

clean eating pear and squash salad

So where do you start? How about lettuce? The other day when I was putting this salad together I thought instead of the boring old romain or mixed greens, why not try something different; Boston Lettuce! It's always been one of my favourites. Also know as Bibb lettuce, it's crispy, tender and has such a buttery soft texture. It's also vividly green. Remember the more colours you eat the more nutrition you get. So let's keep that rainbow coming.

Next up seasonal bartlett pears and roasted delicata squash. Seriously, this squash is the bomb! It's shaped similarly to a sweet potato and you can eat the skin. It's yellow in colour and has green stripes. If you have never tried this type of squash before then you're in for a real treat. To roast, first wash then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Place each half cut side down and make slices of half moon shapes. Toss with some olive oil, sea salt & pepper and roast at 425*F on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until tender.

Here is the nutritional profile for 1/2 cup of delicata squash:

delicata squash nutrition fasts

And the other stars of this show are toasted omega 3 rich pumpkin seeds and my very own maple balsamic vinaigrette.

delicata squash salad

Pear and Squash Salad with Clean Balsamic Vinaigrette
(serves 2-4)

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For the Squash:

  • 1 medium delicata squash
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

 For the Salad:

  • 1 head of boston lettuce, washed
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 large bartlett pear, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 small chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 4 tbsp maple balsamic vinaigrette (recipe here!!!)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut squash in half, de-seed and slice each half into half moon pieces. Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes until tender, turning half way through roasting.
  3. In a large bowl toss the lettuce, cucumber, snow peas, bell pepper, dried cranberries and vinaigrette together. Portion between plates and top with roasted squash, sliced pear, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Pear and Squash Salad

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

how to make a vinaigrette

I love balsamic vinegar, as does the rest of my household. In fact, I just bought a fresh bottle from a local wine maker in Barrie last month and have been roasting my vegetables with it ever since. That's one of my favourite ways to use it. It adds so much flavour! They make their own and sell it at a very good price. This stuff is gold!

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

It's such a versatile ingredient and I love using it to make all kinds of salad dressings and vinaigrette's. It's also a great addition to warm toasty sandwiches. I have yet to be adventurous enough to try it on ice cream. Apparently it's to die for, but for now I think I'm just going to stick to making salad dressings and marinades with it. I bet it would be great in a reduction! Hmm, me thinks I'll have to come up with something. . .

Balsamic Salad Dressing

Balsamic vinaigrette isn't very hard to make; all you have to do is mix some balsamic vinegar with olive oil right?

Well sort of, but not really. It's not set in stone, but it's important remember to use a 3 to 1 ratio of oil to vinegar. This is the sweet spot when it comes to making a salad dressing. Often people will use too much vinegar and it comes out tasting harsh or tart. If you use this ratio as a general guide next time you make a dressing then you'll never need a recipe again. And of course it's important to let your taste buds be the judge. Only you know what you like. Take a taste test by dipping a small leaf of lettuce in and give a try!

Salad Dressing

Now, Let's face it, store bought salad dressings can be pretty atrocious when it comes to long lists of strange ingredients that you can't pronounce. This vinaigrette will beat any store bought version hands down.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (makes approx. 1 cup)


  • 1 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. To make the dressing combine the mustard and vinegar in a large mixing bowl or blender. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Whisk in the maple syrup and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  2. Store in a jar with a lid or air tight container and keep refrigerated.

*Make sure your olive oil is at room temperature. If it is cold it will be more difficult to emulsify with  the  vinegar.

*If you let the dressing sit for an hour or so and then refrigerate, the flavours will meld together better.

Clean Eating Salad Dressing

I can't wait until apples are in-season and then I can start adding them to my salads along with this vinaigrette. Maybe some soft crumbled goat cheese and dried Bala cranberries too!

I'm getting ahead of myself. I shouldn't start wishing for fall when summer only just started, even though it's my favourite time of year.

Fall is far too short and winter is way too long. I should just buy an island with a small boat somewhere tropical and live there during winter.

Problem solved!