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Walnut, Avocado and Pear Salad with Marinated Portobello Caps and Red Onion

Walnut, Pear and Avocado Salad

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  • Author: angela liddon
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Diet: Vegan


This walnut, pear and avocado salad is bursting with fresh flavors and textures. It’s perfect for summer or anytime you’d like a fresh salad with a hint of sweetness.

Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

This salad was inspired by a dish at a local restaurant where my girlfriends and I meet for lunch once a month. With buttery pear slices, grilled marinated red onion, and portobello mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and creamy avocado, it’s a delicious mix of my favorite flavors and textures, and it’s filling, too. Each portobello mushroom packs in around 6 to 8 grams protein, so add one or two and you have yourself a protein-packed salad that will go the distance.


  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 recipe Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette (see below)
  • 1 (5-ounce/142-g) box mixed greens
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) walnuts, toasted

effortless anytime balsamic vinaigrette (makes 3/4 cup)

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons (7 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) fine-grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the salad

  1. Gently rub the outside of the mushrooms with a damp towel to remove any debris. Remove the stems by twisting the stem until it pops off; discard it or freeze for another use, such as a stirfry. With a small spoon, scrape out and discard the black gills.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mushroom caps, onion, and half of the balsamic vinaigrette and toss until fully coated. Marinate the mushrooms and onion for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing every 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the mushroom caps and onion on the pan and grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and the vegetables are tender. Reduce the heat if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mushroom caps are cool enough to handle, then slice the mushroom caps into long strips.
  4. For each salad, place a few handfuls of mixed greens in a large bowl and top with half of the chopped pear, avocado, walnuts, and grilled mushrooms and onion. Drizzles with some of the remaining balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!

For the effortless anytime balsamic vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients or simply combine them in a jar, screw on the lid, and shake. This dressing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.


Feel free to adjust this dressing to suit your own taste preferences. I tend to like an acidic bite to my salad dressing, but if you prefer less acidity, simply decrease the vinegar or increase the sweetener. Have fun and play around with the amounts!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Lunch, Dinner
  • Cuisine: American