As you may have picked up by now, when it’s hot outside I am a staunch member of the Cold Foods Only club. This salad is one of my favorites because the earthy beets, rich nuts and salty cheese make it quite filling. The pear is fresh and sweet, and I’ve kept it light with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

The only element which requires cooking is the beets, and those can be done in advance and kept in the fridge. I like to do a batch at the beginning of the week, and then I have them on hand for this salad and other dishes as needed.

If you don’t like arugula, you can use the greens of your choice. I often use romaine lettuce because that’s something I always have on hand. Spinach or spring mix would also be good. I’ve even made it using blanched green beans for a sturdier, crunchier base. It works well!

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 2 medium-sized beets
  • 2 pears
  • 3 oz. feta cheese
  • ¼ cup pecans (plain or honey-glazed)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. light olive oil
  • 2–3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt (optional)


  1. Wash and dry the beets. Prick each one with a fork several times, then wrap in two layers of foil and bake at 400° F until cooked through. Let the beets cool, then unwrap the foil, peel the beets and slice then in thin rounds. (Beets can be cooked in advance and refrigerated for up to a week.)
  2. Wash and check the arugula for bugs. Pat dry.
  3. Cut the pears into quarters, and then slice thinly. You can also use Asian pears.
  4. Roughly chop the pecans and crumble the feta.
  5. Assemble all the salad ingredients in a bowl or on a flat platter.
  6. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad immediately prior to serving.

Serves: 4–6