Mixed Green Salad with Pears, Goat Cheese and a Fig Vinaigrette

It's Thanksgiving and you want to participate in the "making of the meal" on a more highly respected level than just bringing the salad.  However, the year you showed up with the weird tofu appetizer to the Turkey Day celebration you sealed your own dumb fate and have infinitely submerged yourself into salad making duty until kingdom come. 

You are now known as "the beast of the feast" in small circles throughout your extended family.  Sad but true.

I know, I know, you so desperately want to be promoted to "the side dish club", you learned your lesson, but your family is not so soon to forget your sinfully-lame appetizer blunder.  I guarantee you were discussed in phone calls after the event.  It was decided the family was willing to sacrifice the salad part of the meal and are expecting you to show up with an iceberg lettuce-bottled dressing concoction.  They are okay with that. 

It is up to you to prove them wrong.

This Mixed Green Salad with Pears, Goat Cheese and a Fig Vinaigrette will change everything for you.  You might even be elevated to "dessert status" when you come calling with this simple but elegant tasting salad.

You will finally gain back your tarnished reputation...I promise.

Also, there will be a handful of you who will ask me if they can substitute some other kind of dried fruit for the figs.  Well, you can do whatever you want but then you will not have this dressing.  The figs are what makes it special.  Also keep in mind, all balsamic vinegars are not created equal.  Purchase the best balsamic you can afford, it really makes a difference.  Many of the cheaper brands use caramel color and are not up to snuff quality wise, make sure you read the ingredient list.

Okay, let's put this salad together...

Here's what you will need: Mixed greens, a Bosc pear, crumbled goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, dried Mission Figs, fresh lemon juice, shallots, fresh thyme, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and Kosher salt.  Ingredients not shown:  Water.

Combine 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 5 dried Mission figs (stemmed and chopped) in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.

Combine the fig mixture, 6 Tablespoons water and 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice in a blender or use you immersion blender, and process until smooth.

In a small bowl (or use a mason jar so you can just shake it up) add the blended fig mixture with 2 Tablespoons shallots, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Stir or shake well to combine.

Thinly slice your Bosc pear, leaving the skin on.

Place 1 cup greens on each of six plates; topping each serving with 1/4 cup pear and 2 teaspoons goat cheese.  Drizzle vinaigrette over each serving.

I cannot even tell you how good this, just look at that dressing....yum.

And if you have someone who hates greens, just serve them this, it is excellent like this too.

Print Recipe

Mixed Greens Salad with Pears, Goat Cheese and Fig Vinaigrette

Recipe from: Inspired by Cooking Light | Serves: 4


  • 6 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly, sliced, cored Bosc pear
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 5 dried Mission figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Combine balsamic vinegar and dried Mission figs (stemmed and chopped) in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.
  • Combine the fig mixture, water and fresh lemon juice in a blender or use you immersion blender, and process until smooth.
  • In a small bowl (or use a mason jar so you can just shake it up) add the blended fig mixture with shallots, fresh thyme, crushed garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and Kosher salt. Stir or shake well to combine.
  • Thinly slice your Bosc pear, leaving the skin on. Place 1 cup greens on each of six plates; topping each serving with 1/4 cup pear and 2 teaspoons goat cheese. Drizzle vinaigrette over each serving.

Mixed Green Salad with Pears Goat Cheese and Fig Vinaigrette the perfect salad for the holidays or anytime
You are going to love this salad.

Post a Comment


  1. HoneyB 1

    As they say in my house – YUM YUM GIMME SOME!

  2. That dressing looks amazing. I often volunteer to bring salad, because I always like to have salad with a meal. This year, I’m trying the fig dressing for sure!

  3. wkf 3

    That looks glorious!! The one with just the pears is beautiful. I don’t even get to bring the salad. I can bring anythingto my parents because we are foodies. My Husbands family is not.
    I have been springing weird things on them for years. Now for me, it is for the humour value. I like to watch their faces…
    My Husband is getting better because he would starve to death if he didn’t. .

  4. I love FIGS! Love, love, love them in everything! This looks amazing. Must make! Oh yes….MUST! Thanks Cathy!

  5. OK, you’ve now shown me the salad I’m making for Christmas. Also, do the pears need lemon juice to keep from browning?

  6. I didn’t even know they have dried figs like that. Need. to. try. this.!

  7. Marcy 7

    Looking yummy as usual:) This year I’m bringing scalloped eggplant and a sugar free pumpkin cheesecake.

  8. You can bring me THAT salad any day of the year, Cathy – it looks mouth-wateringly good !

    You’ve done it again with another culinary winner :)

    Would you be willing to be a follower of my new restaurant review blog so that I don;t look like a total loser ?

    Puhleeeese ? Pretty please ?

    I’ll bribe you with a dozen of my home-made double chocolate chip with walnut/pecan/hazelnut cookies :)

    Loving Annie

    Hope you and your family have a great weekend :)

  9. Oh, I love this salad. Bookmarking this one for sure!!

  10. That looks wonderful! It’s traditional in our family to serve crudites as the only salad on Thanksgiving Day. Small dishes of carrots, celery and black olives are scattered among the tables. I have to bring a salad for our Christmas Eve dinner, and this looks perfect! And I certainly won’t be substituting anything for those luscious figs! Aside from fig newtons, I’ve never given fig much thought as a food to use in cooking. Until the last month. I’ve been served figs twice now and both times, the flavor was so incredible, I was just appalled at myself for going so long without using them!
    The first fig experience, fresh ones (possibly halved figs) were each wrapped in a fresh basil leaf and part of an antipasto platter. Those flavors together were just incredible. Then last month our gourmet group’s theme was Spanish Tapas. One gal brought a plate of small Spanish sausages (delicious, never had those either) that were served with the simply the best sauce I have ever tasted. I would have licked the bowl clean if I could have! The figs…it was the figs that put it over the top! I’ll pass that recipe on to you when I get it, if you’d like.

    Of all the folks that post photographic recipes, I do believe you win the first place prize. Yours are just that much better than the rest.

  11. ELRA 11

    I really like the color of your dressing, and the figs win me over.

  12. Love the use of figs in a vinegarette. Awesome.

  13. Alisa 13

    I am sorry, I am guilty of relegating my sil to ‘salad’ status. I think I will forward your salad to her and then she can work her way up next year. Or even for Christmas…
    I’ve never eaten her cooking. I’m a little scared.

  14. Beautiful salad. I always try to bring a fresh green salad to any foodie event I attend, be it a holiday or potluck. Salads are fresh, delicious, and healthy. The presentation of this fig masterpiece is stunning.

  15. Lisa 15

    Gorgeous salad! This salad would definitely earn you respect but I’m afraid it might prove that you are so perfect for the salad slot you will never get a promotion.

  16. Wow–that does look good! I love the idea of the fig vinaigrette. I will definitely try this–though not at Thanksgiving b/c we are too set in our ways to veer from our tradition of fruit salad!

  17. I love any salad with pears in it. So yummy!

  18. Teri 18

    You’re so funny… that is so true! I’ve known relatives of mine that have been lowered to bringing napkins, really!

    I use Fini Balsamic and that is the best! I can almost smell this dressing through your pictures… mmmmm! Yes this does look like you’d pick up some status with this salad! Yummmm! I think I want this TONIGHT!

    Would it be weird to add walnuts to it? I love nuts on a salad too. Or it that too much for this salad?

  19. really beautiful
    i love that kind of thing
    i would eat seconds
    maybe thirds
    like in the back of the kitchen when no one was looking

  20. how wonderful is this! i think nuts on it would be great as well, like someone suggested above. too too good!

  21. Total and complete winnner!!!

  22. Thanks for posting this – I’ll definitely be making this!

    Though I think if I bring it to a dinner, I’ll be given salad-duty forever. :)

  23. KathyB. 23

    The salad not only will make a good side dish, but as you said, it could be dessert ! I think I will have my Hubby make this for dinner the day after Thanksgiving….he is the best salad maker around here, I am the best salad eater !

  24. I’m ALWAYS relegated to bringing the salad. I’m making this one. Swear.

  25. Louise 25

    Fruit and cheese are always such a scrumptious combination. This looks quite lovely. And as always, your photos are stunning!

  26. sharon 26

    Hmm, is it bad that I’m making Thanksgiving dinner but I don’t yet have any vegetables on the menu? Perhaps I’ll have to make this…thanks for reminding me :)

  27. Kiki 27

    mmmm looks yummy!
    Maybe I’ll add a salad course, instead of just soup.

    Or maybe, I’ll make it to feast on after Thanksgiving, served with left over turkey sandwiches.

  28. Leslie 28

    Ohhh..I wish I was asked to bring just the salad! I cook my entire Thanksgiving Feast for about 25 people.
    I just cant ask anyone to bring anything, cause the one time I did someone brought canned creamed corn!!..Barf.. So, I ask for no one to bring anything..Everything is done my way with no canned products..LOL
    I wouldn’t have it any other way!
    My self induced tortured Thanksgiving!!

  29. This does look good. Everything in it sounds wonderful. The dressing is especially scrumptious looking.

  30. Biz 30

    Oh yum – all my favorite things in one salad – I just bought goat cheese today too!

    Sadly, my husband only likes lettuce in his salad!

  31. Now that is one great salad.

  32. Another wonderful, yummy-looking post, Cathy!

  33. Marjie 33

    My vegetarian guest brings a pumpkin pie. No weird tofu stuff here!

  34. There’s something for you on my blog!

  35. megan 35

    I just found my Thanksgiving salad!

  36. I think I’m going to have to VOLUNTEER to bring the salad!

  37. Bunny 37

    You’re a riot I can totally see my family calling each other on the phone saying…did you see what she brought! This looks wonderful, better than your average salad!

  38. Rayrena 38

    Ooh! Fig, I’ve never had a fig dressing before but it sounds so good with balsamic vinegar. I really like Oliviers & Co balsamic vinegar. Not harsh like so many others.

  39. Arnie P 39

    I made this tonight and you are right, it is a divine combination.

  40. Egghead 40

    The dressing sounds wonderful. I have been looking for one that is different and this seems like it is worth a try.

  41. Kate 41

    You rock my world.
    You and this salad. And your wines. Oh, and your vineyard too. And your cute little munchkins. And your stories. I think this about covers it.

  42. grace 42

    since i’m one of the few females in my family, i automatically have dessert status…and every other status that can be obtained. since our men eat a lot, we usually don’t even have a salad (much to my chagrin), but if we did, i think this one would impress. :)

  43. Cathy, this is maybe the best looking salad ever! I wonder how it would be with hazelnuts?

  44. Maureen 44

    I’ve made this one, and I agree, it’s tasty and impressive. Thanks for reminding me of this great salad.

  45. Candice 45

    I am definately going to try this! Yuuuummmm! Thanks for the post :)

  46. MsMVNJ 46

    I WILL be making this one!

  47. Bobby 47

    This salad looks great. I love the ingredients, seems really healthy. I might have to give this a try.

  48. Mrs. L 48

    I was so excited when I found out that my 93 year old Grandma was going to let the family cook. Did I get pies? Turkey? Stuffing?…no…I got green beans. I was mortified! I had to beg to bring a yam dish (even though no one will eat it)

  49. Huzzah! Take that salad relegator! Guess who’s upstaging the main course?!?

  50. moshimoshi 50

    is the dressing supposed to be so thick?

    how can I thin it?

  51. moshimoshi 51

    Is the dressing supposed to be so thick?

    How can I thin it into vinigratte status?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting