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Air Fryer Roasted Pear Salad

Fresh pears are finally coming into the markets, but they often aren't ripe enough to eat "as is." That makes roasting the pears for a salad a good option. Roasted, the pears soften and caramelize, making them creamy, sweet, and rich tasting. They pair--no pun intended--well with bitter greens or sweet greens like spinach or spring mix and salty blue cheese. You could roast the pears in the regular oven, but why? The pears cook more quickly and evenly in the air fryer, and you won't need to heat up the kitchen or waste the electricity involved in heating the oven for a few pears. Of course, if you have something else in the big oven, that's a different story.... Roasted pear salad is simple, elegant enough for a fancy dinner, and incredibly good. So, if you're looking for something different for a fall dinner, do more than keep it in mind. Try it!

Air Fryer Roasted Pear Salad -- Serves 2-4

2 pears, split and cored

2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

2-3 teaspoons of blue cheese crumbles

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of raspberry preserves

Pinch of salt

Greens of your choice (arugula, spring mix, spinach)

1-2 chopped green onions

2-4 tablespoons of shredded carrots

Handful of dried cranberries (optional)

Tear off a strip of aluminum foil about 6 inches long and fold it so it fits inside the basket of your air fryer, forming a small lip on the sides that don't extend part way up the basket (you don't want to completely cover the basket with the foil, but you do want to contain the juices from the pears, so cleanup is easier). Spritz the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Slice off a small strip of the peel from the bottom of each pear half--enough so the pears won't skitter around on the bottom of the air fryer basket. Put the pear halves in the basket, cut side up. Divide the brown sugar, lemon juice, and, finally, blue cheese crumbles among the pears. Spritz the top of the pears with non-stick cooking spray (this will keep them from burning and the fan in the air fryer from blowing off the cheese crumbles). Put the basket in the air fryer, set the heat at 360 degrees, and roast the pears about 10-15 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a knife, slightly browned, and have released some juices. Remove the pears from the air fryer, using the aluminum foil or a spatula. Pour the juices from the foil into a small bowl and whisk in the cider vinegar, oil, preserves, and salt. Place the warm pear halves on the greens, sprinkle on the chopped green onions, shredded carrots, dried cranberries (if you're using them), and drizzle on the vinaigrette.

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