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Chicken, Pear, Spinach + Cranberry Salad with Walnuts

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Gluten Free
  • Low Carb/Paleo
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Why we love it:

Fall on a plate, this salad is a quick weeknight winner. Consider doubling the portion and taking some for lunch the next day. The salad dressing will store for a month in the fridge so be sure to make plenty of that!


  • 34 pound Chicken Breast (boneless skinless)
  • 1 Lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 14 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 clove Garlic (minced)
  • 34 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Baby Spinach (washed very well and dried)
  • 14 cup Walnuts (toasted)
  • 14 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Pears (Bosc or whatever is ripe)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. CHICKEN

    Cut the chicken in 4 small pieces. Place in a small pot and cover with water by about half an inch. Add half of the salt.

    Zest the lemon and set it aside. Then juice half of the lemon into the water with the chicken and reserve the other half (you’ll use it in the soup this week).

    Bring to a simmer then stir. Keep simmering and cover partway. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.


    Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, the rest of the salt, and pepper. Mince the clove of garlic as finely as you can. Add it. Slowly stream in the oil while whisking. Continue whisking until dressing is fully emulsified.

  • 3. SALAD

    Wash and dry the baby spinach leaves. Place in a large salad bowl.

    If you have raw walnuts and prefer to toast them, set them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stay very close by! It will seem to take a while but then suddenly they’ll burn. Stir often and gently, slowly toast. When you have a little color and they’re fragrant, remove to a plate to cool.

    Add the cranberries and walnuts to the spinach.

    Slice the pear into small cubes or thin strips. Add to the bowl.

  • 4. CHICKEN

    Remove the chicken from the water and set on a work surface. You can dice it with a knife, or use your fingers and a fork to pull it into shredded pieces. Toss the chicken with the reserved lemon zest.

    Add it to the salad.

  • 5. SERVING

    Toss with dressing or serve the dressing on the side for diners to spoon over top.

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    salmon would be nice, or roast a chicken breast or pork chops to serve alongside instead
  • NUTS:
    omit walnuts. Consider adding sunflower seeds for crunch
  • HONEY:
    omit if desired, or use agave, sugar, or maple syrup
    this salad would be great with crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese
    you could serve over baby kale, spring greens, or romaine or butter lettuce
  • PEAR:
    apple, asian pear, or roasted veggies like cauliflower make sense instead

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Cook and shred the chicken
  2. Make the vinaigrette
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