Breakfast, lunch, and dinner: 3 healthy recipes that show the versatility of this delicious fruit

Feb 28 2022, 4:30 pm

Let’s get right down to it — who opted for a 2022 resolution of eating healthier?

We’re right there with you. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve already started to struggle to hold true to these goals while also ensuring delicious dishes to appease all your cravings.

Well, let us reintroduce you to pears. An astounding fruit, pears truly are one of those gold nugget items on the produce stands that you can always find a use for in your kitchen. According to Nicole Osinga, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, these green, hourglass-figured gems pack in loads of fibre, antioxidants, and flavanols (which are linked to better brain health).

With the help of Osinga, let’s shine some light on the goodness of pears and inspire your inner foodie with three mouthwatering, pear-based recipes — one for each meal of the day.

1. Pear and pineapple green smoothie

Pear and pineapple green smoothie which is one of the healthy recipes with pear

Pear and pineapple green smoothie (USA Pears)

Just reading the title of this dish transports you to a white sand beach. Tropical fruit flavours balance out the spinach and cilantro in this dish, offering a ton of flavour (donā€™t worry, you can remove or substitute for parsley if you have the ā€œI hate cilantroā€ gene).

This smoothie makes for a perfect start to your day. As Osinga says pears help with many of the dietary issues peoples struggle with daily. “Pears are a low glycemic index food, which makes them helpful for managing blood sugars,” she says. “They are also high in fibre, which can help with digestion, managing cholesterol and helping with fullness.”

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2 smoothies

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe USA Pear, such as Anjou, Bartlett, Concorde, or Comice, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 Ā½ cups pineapple, cubed
  • 1 packed cup spinach
  • 10 to 12 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup cold coconut water

Method

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and puree at high speed until smooth.

Tip: to ripen a pear at home, leave it at room temperature. For extra fast ripening, store near other fruits like apples or bananas.

2. Pear and burrata salad

Pear and burrata salad which is one of the healthy recipes with pears

Pear and burrata salad recipe complements of Liren Baker (@kitchconfidante/Instagram)

Not only does this salad include all the health benefits of pears atop a bed of fresh arugula, but it also gives us an excuse to eat burrata.

Osingsa says that finding inspiration for healthy eating and getting more nutrition is often about adding to one’s diet, rather than subtracting. “Most times, it’s about adding fruits, veggies, and protein to dishes [you] love to eat. Making smaller changes at a time is key for sustainability,” she explains. “It’s best to start with foods that [you] tend to enjoy, and put a healthy twist on it.”

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz burrata cheese (4 minis)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp stone-ground mustard
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crushed candied walnuts

Method

Arrange the arugula on a serving platter. Top with the pears and burrata cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, onion, vinegar, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle some dressing over the salad and garnish with candied walnuts. Serve immediately, with additional dressing on the side.

Tip: you can store ripened pears in the refrigerator to delay further ripening and make them last longer.

3. Gluten-free and vegan cauliflower crust pizza with pears

Gluten-free and vegan cauliflower crust pizza which is one of the heathy recipes with pears

Gluten-free and vegan cauliflower crust pizza recipe complements of VickyĀ (@avocadopesto/Instagram)

Pizza has a confusing reputation. It’s widely loved and known as a superior dish, yet is often connotated as a cheat meal or guilty pleasure.Ā This recipe adds whole pears and swaps out the white flour for cauliflower, making it a feel-good and familiar meal.

Its thanks to pears’ mild flavour that they can work well in so many different dishes. And Osinga says their natural sugars are not to be confused with added sugars. “Sometimes we tend to group all sugars in one category and look down upon them. [But] sugar is needed for fuel. Those naturally occurring sugars will also occur alongside fibre, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for human health,” she explains. “We tend to over-consume sugar when it is in its added form.”

She suggests selecting mostly whole foods for your diet, explaining that it will “help with minimizing adding sugars.” Osinga also recommends meal preparation as a way to help you select mostly whole foods.

 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 30 to 45 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 24 oz frozen riced cauliflower, thawed overnight in the fridge
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
  • 8 oz vegan ricotta (or regular ricotta)
  • 1 to 2 green Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup crushed roasted pistachios
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • handful arugula
  • drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 400Ā°F. Using a nut milk bag or clean dish towel, strain the cauliflower, making sure to squeeze out all the liquid. Mix ground flax with three tbsp water and set aside for five minutes.

In a bowl combine strained cauliflower with almond flour, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, arrowroot starch, nutritional yeast, and ground flax mixture. Mix until smooth. Form into two balls and thinly spread out into two pizzas on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use a sprinkling of flour if needed if the dough is too sticky to work with.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. Flip over and bake for an additional five to 10 minutes. Top pizzas with thinly sliced pears, vegan ricotta in spoonfuls, crushed pistachios and drizzle olive oil on top. Bake for additional 10 minutes. Serve topped with arugula and drizzled with balsamic glaze (optional).

Tip: enjoy pears with the peel-on, since thatā€™s where most of the fibre and antioxidants are found.

Now before heading out on your grocery haul, remember how to shop for pears. The best way to judge ripeness for most pear varieties is to check the neck. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb and if it yields to this slight force, itā€™s ripe and ready to eat.

For more pear-based recipes, visit the USA Pears website.

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