Arugula Salad with Country Ham, Pears, and Honey Vinaigrette

This simple arugula salad with country ham, pears, and honey vinaigrette is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, crunchy, and peppery.

An arugula salad with country ham, pears, and honey vinaigrette, topped with chopped walnuts in a white bowl.

This salad isn’t for people who just want a bowl of leaves. It’s full of crunchy walnuts, bitter arugula, deliciously rich ham, and slices of sweet pear. Those ingredients are sure to please even the most salad-skeptic at your table. –Bruce Weinstein | Mark Scarbrough

Arugula Salad FAQs

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Absolutely. Prepare all of your ingredients and make the dressing – but do not dress the salad until you’re ready to serve. If you’re concerned about the pears browning, dip the slices into the dressing quickly and store them separately from the other ingredients until you are ready to assemble your salad. The lemon juice and vinegar will help them retain their natural color.

What is the difference between regular and raw honey?

Raw honey: Raw honey comes is extracted directly from the honeycomb. It’s raw, unprocessed, and unpasteurized. If you can find honey locally, it’s said that the pollen it contains can help strengthen your immune system and maybe help with pollen allergies (like a sweet, tasty allergy shot!). Raw honey is quite thick, can be a bit cloudy, and may contain bits of honeycomb. The color and clarity of each honey vary, depending on where the bees sourced their pollen.

Regular honey: Regular, or pasteurized honey, is clear and smooth. Pasteurization improves the honey’s appearance, increases its shelf-life, and kills any present yeast. If you’re looking at commercially bottled honey, do check the ingredients. Many contain added sweeteners such as corn syrup, so you may not be dealing with a 100% pure product. Additionally, it’s thought that some of the benefits of natural honey are lost in the processing/pasteurizing process – things like bee pollen (which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) and vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. If you’re unable to find pure, raw honey locally, don’t fret. There are some very good options at your local grocer. Just watch the labels.

Arugula Salad with Country Ham, Pears, and Honey Vinaigrette

An arugula salad with country ham, pears, and honey vinaigrette, topped with chopped walnuts in a white bowl.
Make sure you remove not only the inedible rind but also any excess fat from the cooked country ham. The profound taste of that fat is just too strong, a poor match for the pears
Bruce Weinstein | Mark Scarbrough

Prep 15 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 20 mins
Salad
American
2 servings
531 kcal
5 / 4 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Ham cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 2/3 pound (about 4 cups) baby arugula leaves
  • 6 ounces cooked ham rind removed and discarded, meat thinly sliced and cut into strips
  • 1 large ripe Bartlett pear peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or, in a pinch, olive oil)

Directions
 

  • Sprinkle the walnuts around a dry skillet set over medium-low heat. Leave them alone a couple minutes, then stir well and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, just until splotchy brown and fragrant. Pour them out onto a cutting board, cool for a few minutes, then chop into little bits.
  • Mix the arugula, ham, and pear pieces in a large bowl.
  • Whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and mustard in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until you’ve got a creamy, somewhat thick dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the arugula mixture, and then sprinkle the toasted walnut pieces on top.
Print RecipeBuy the Ham cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 531kcal (27%)Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)Protein: 23g (46%)Fat: 38g (58%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 21gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 62mg (21%)Sodium: 1039mg (45%)Potassium: 1013mg (29%)Fiber: 7g (29%)Sugar: 19g (21%)Vitamin A: 3621IU (72%)Vitamin C: 51mg (62%)Calcium: 274mg (27%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This makes a fabulous substantial salad, enough for a meal. The saltiness of the country ham meshes so well with the meaty, aromatic toasted walnuts, slightly tart/sweet pears and the sweet/acidic honey apple cider vinaigrette. And the slightly bitter peppery arugula seals the deal rather nicely by adding yet another flavor dimension. I do not think you could improve upon this balance, except to perhaps add some chunks of gorgonzola and/or crispy pancetta instead of the country ham. Or maybe not. It is nearly perfect as is.

This arugula salad with country ham, pears, and honey vinaigrette is a wonderful blend of flavors. The slightly bitter arugula combined with the saltiness of the ham (I used applewood smoked ham), and the refreshing taste of a sweet pear, topped with toasted walnuts makes this a wonderful light meal. The refreshing vinaigrette is delicious and would work well with numerous other salad combinations. When I bake a ham, I usually have leftovers that I am looking to use in creative ways. This salad is perfect.

This salad was perfectly balanced. My husband described it as very “posh” and I will agree, it did feel a bit on the fancy side, which was nice considering it was so easy! I made it as a main dish for lunch and was very satisfied, but it would absolutely make a wonderful side salad or appetizer for a dinner party. I would add some crumbled blue cheese next time – it just felt like it was begging for it – but if that’s not your thing, it is perfectly enjoyable as is. I added a pinch of salt to my dressing to taste.

Originally published April 5, 2010

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for a light lunch this week, and was very pleased. The balance of salt, sweet, tart, and pepper is delightful. I don’t get very excited about salads, but this one is going in the rotation. I had a lavender honey and enjoyed the very mild floral note that added as well. I personally like the walnut halves, and opted not to chop them up more after toasting. I found that I had more dressing than I needed for the salad, but it comes down to personal preference. I agree with the yield published in this recipe, it’s just right. For serving, I chose to drizzle some of the dressing over the arugula and toss, and then I added the other ingredients. I also highly recommend splurging for the walnut oil, even if you’re unsure – it’s so wonderful, I wouldn’t forego it. Plus, it’s a very versatile oil that can be used in so many ways – I promise, it’s worth the buy!

      1. The only times I have had it have been whilst in Spain and at a specialty food shop in Edmonton of all places!

        1. David – Isn’t there a Spanish specialty shop in SoHo? Do you know the one I’m talking about? Broome? If you know it—please do tell. Thanks. JT

  2. 5 stars
    My kids won’t eat salads unless they find something meaty on them, do you know what I do? I add Jamon Iberico to them. Iberico ham—also called Pata Negra, or black hoof—comes from Spain, it is very tasty and the best part: extremely low in bad cholesterol. I know it has some streaky fat, but that is “good cholesterol”!!! Just an amazing product, delicious and healthy for the children and us.
    If you need to find Jamon Iberico, you can find it online. (This comment has been edited.—editors)

  3. 5 stars
    I purchased the “Ham” cookbook about a month ago and really do enjoy it. This recipe is so very simple to make but so beautiful and delicious. Talk about visually appealing! Every bite is something different – the slight saltiness from the ham, the tart sweetness from the pear, the nutty crunchiness of the walnuts, the little peppery bite from the arugula all topped off with a lovely sweet vinaigrette. Each individual ingredient is so good but taste even better mixed up all together! The toasted walnut oil added a pleasant nutty smokiness. We had this with guests and every single adult requested the recipe. As I (deliberately) made too much vinaigrette, my family and I had the salad the next day again (aw, shucks) but this time we topped it wish shards of Parmesan in addition to the other yummy bits.

    I really have to say I love this salad!

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish