Pulled Pork and Pear Tacos with Pear Pico de Gallo

Time for a taco party! In this festive recipe, pears appear in two ways: braised with pork shoulder to create depth and sweetness for a juicy, shredded taco filling, and also mixed into a zesty pear and jicama pico de gallo for topping. There will be plenty of the flavorful slow-cooked meat to feed a crowd, and any leftovers can be frozen for quick taco making for future weeknight dinners. Serve with margaritas and chips and salsa to round out the menu.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (pork butt)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chile powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 large ripe USA Pears, peeled and chopped

1 small white onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

4 canned chipotle chiles with a little extra sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Pear Pico de Gallo

1 1/2 cups finely diced USA Green Bartlett Pear

1 cup finely diced jicama

4 finely minced green onions

1/4 cup minced cilantro

2 minced jalapeños, or to taste

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt, to taste

Corn or flour tortillas, for serving

1 avocado, sliced

Sour cream, for serving

Pulled Pork and Pear Tacos with Pear Pico de Gallo

Directions:

To make the pulled pork: Cut the pork into 4 large chunks and season them with salt, chile powder, cumin, and pepper, coating all sides. Put the pork in a slow cooker and add the pears, onion, cilantro, chipotle chiles, and garlic, and squeeze the lime juice over everything. Cover and cook on until the meat easily shreds, 8 to 10 hours on low, or 4 to 6 hours on high. (This can also be cooked in an Instant Pot at high pressure for 75 minutes, following manufacturer’s instructions.) Shred the meat using two forks right in the slow cooker, discarding any fatty pieces. Keep warm.

To make the pico de gallo: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl up to 2 hours before serving.

Serve the pulled pork in warmed tortillas, topped with avocado, sour cream, and the pico de gallo, as desired.

(Leftover meat will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months.)

Pork and Pear Tacos

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear Kimchi

Pear Kimchi

Sweet pears and spicy flavors make for a winning combination. Kimchi, the mainstay of every Korean table, has been gaining mass appeal in recent years. Prized for its health benefits and irresistible spiciness, kimchi is becoming a staple condiment in many homes. If you’ve never made your own, then this version, featuring pears and crunchy root vegetables, is a great place to start. This is a quick kimchi recipe, meant to enjoy immediately. Serve it alongside a simple roast pork with steamed rice and sautéed greens, add it to a vegan grain bowl, place it atop ramen noodles or in lettuce wraps—you’ll find that the ways to enjoy fresh kimchi are endless.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients: 

2 large white root vegetables, such as kohlrabi or turnips

2 large slightly underripe USA Pears

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup chives cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup coarsely ground gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes)

2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 (1 1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

3 to 4 tablespoons water

Black or toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:

First, trim and peel the root vegetable bulbs and cut them into 2-inch-long by 1/4-inch-thick rectangular sticks (like French fries). Peel and core the pears and cut them the same way. Combine the pear and vegetable sticks in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Gently but thoroughly massage them in. Set the bowl aside at room temperature until the pears and veggies are tender and pliable and have given up a lot of juices, 20 to 30 minutes, tossing once about halfway through.

Drain off the accumulated juices, and rinse in several changes of cold water, then drain well and gently press out as much moisture as possible. Return the pear mixture to the bowl and add the chives.

Process the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar with the gochugaru, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and 3 tablespoons water in a food processor to a smooth paste. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of water, if needed. Thoroughly mix the paste into the pear mixture.

The fresh kimchi can be enjoyed immediately, or it can be kept in a container with a tight-fitting lid and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear and Chicken Meatball Banh Mi Sandwiches

Spring is in the air so let’s look to fresh flavors from Asian herbs, lemongrass, ginger, and crunchy vegetables to highlight pears. In this new take on the popular banh mi sandwich, you’ll find ripe pears mixed into mini meatballs that are inspired by the flavorful flattened patties served at traditional banh mi stands throughout Vietnam. They also appear in a crunchy, quick-pickled mélange of pears and carrots that tops the sandwiches. The meatballs and tangy topping are tucked into individual baguettes and adorned with cucumbers, jalapeños, and vibrant herbs.

Serves 6 (Makes about 18 meatballs)

Ingredients: 

Pickled Pear and Carrot Topping

1 cup pears cut into 2-inch-by-1/8-inch sticks

1 cup carrots cut into 2-inch-by-1/8-inch sticks

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

3/4 cup peeled USA Pears cut in 1/4-inch dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, peeled, and tender inner core minced

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed

Sandwiches

6 individual baguettes or 2 baguettes cut into 6 (8- to 10-inch-long) segments

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sriracha chile sauce

18 cucumber slices

2 to 3 thinly sliced jalapeño chiles

12 fresh cilantro sprigs

Fresh Thai basil leaves (optional)

Directions:

To make the topping: Toss all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days.

To make the meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients, except the sesame oil, in a medium bowl.

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the meatball patties by scooping up heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture and dotting them around the pan at least 1-inch apart. Cook until nicely browned on the first side, then flip them over and sear on the second side until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat to cook the remaining meat mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

To make the sandwiches: Cut the baguettes in half lengthwise. Pull out some of the bread from the top half to make room for the fillings. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha. Spread the sriracha mayo on the cut sides of each baguette. Arrange the cucumber slices on the bottom halves. Add 3 meatballs to each, and top with the drained pickle topping, jalapeno slices, and herbs.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

6 Ways to Eat Well, Waste Less and Save Money

Each March ushers in spring and National Nutrition Month! This annual celebration of nourishing the body through food began with the presidential proclamation of National Nutrition Week in 1973. This year’s theme is Go Further with Food, which encourages us to achieve the benefits of eating well while reducing food waste. In other words, planning and managing food resources will save both nutrients and money! The message of eating well while saving money is particularly close to my heart, and who doesn’t want more money in the bank?

We can also think about nutrition status as a bank. We have nutrients stored in the body; when we eat we make a deposit and when we’re active we make a withdrawal. Throughout the day, the goal is to maintain appropriate fuel for living our best lives, and the same idea is true for your food budget. If you eat mindfully, you’ll get more out of your resources on hand rather than be relying on the bank. How can you eat well, waste less, and save more money? Start with these six steps…

1. Plan ahead! Some people spend an afternoon preparing food for the week. My weekends are too busy for this, but I still manage to plan at least 1-2 days ahead to prevent splurging. This means I eat better and spend less on food!

2. Visit the grocery store more often. This seems counterintuitive, but shopping more often means you can purchase less at a time, have fresher food on hand, and waste less food.

3. This may be the easiest change to make: Think about what you already have in the fridge before purchasing at the store. This deters spending more and prevents food waste!

4. Eat only until you’re satisfied. Overeating means spending more calories and money over time. Instead, portion out how much your body needs and slow down!

5. Fuel properly. Being active is important, so fuel your body with a wide variety of foods to go further.

6. Think about alternatives to more expensive foods. Usually, the most expensive choices are animal proteins and out-of-season or exotic produce. Consider vegetarian protein choices, such as legumes, whole grains, eggs, and low-fat dairy. Likewise, choose fruit and vegetables that are in season, or choose frozen or low-sodium canned options. Some fruit, such as pears, are available year-round for a delicious, nutritious option!

With a little forethought, you can go further with food. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more ideas!

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Want more ideas? Check out delicious, heart-healthy recipes at USA Pears!

Cast-Iron Skillet Roasted Pears with Hearty Whole-Grain Panzanella (Vegan)

A good cast-iron pan works wonders on pears. When just-ripe Anjous are cut in half and seared in a hot skillet then placed in the oven, it brings out a rich and roasty caramelized flavor that renders the pears entrée worthy. They take on depth of flavor and luscious texture to make them a deliciously satisfying substitute for meat, whether you practice a vegetarian or vegan diet, or are just looking to reduce the amount of meat you consume. Here the roasted pears are offered with a warm, whole-grain panzanella, that ubiquitous Italian bread salad usually involving fruity tomatoes and basil in the height of summer. Fruity roasted pears are a perfect alternative at the end of winter. Packed with hearty greens and chicories, olives, and a maple-scallion dressing, this recipe makes for a nutritious one-dish meal.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

6 ounces seedy whole-grain artisan bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 packed cups)

4 to 6 USA Red Anjou pears

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced on a bias

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

4 packed cups torn radicchio leaves, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes and drained

2 packed cups baby kale or arugula leaves

3/4 cup green olives, smashed, pitted and very coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds

Directions:

Spread the torn bread on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil in the oven until lightly charred all over but still a little soft inside, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to let them burn!). Remove the croutons from the oven and set aside.

Switch the oven to preheat to 475˚F. Halve and core the pears and sprinkle the cut sides lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke appear, add the pears to the skillet in a single layer with cut sides down. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the pears are deeply browned and caramelized on the cut sides and very tender inside when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the roasted pears to a platter and loosely tent with foil. Place the pan of hot pear drippings over medium heat and immediately whisk in 1 more tablespoon of the oil, the scallions, and garlic and cook briefly, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the vinegar, maple syrup, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the croutons, radicchio, kale or arugula, and olives. Pour in the warm dressing and toss very thoroughly. If needed, drizzle in a little more olive oil so that all ingredients are nicely coated. Serve the pears over the warm salad, garnished with plenty of the toasted almonds.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Chocolate Pear Hand Pies

I had heard rumblings about the glory of pairing pears and chocolate in pie. I mean, they’re both two delicious things, so how could it not be amazing?

I also loved how portable these hand pies are. They’re so easy to just hold in your hand and completely devour in five seconds while watching Netflix with bae (or by yourself…any situation really).

Some ingredient notes: I used a combination of Bartlett and Bosc pears. For chocolate, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but if you have some REALLY good chocolate laying around (like some Valrhona discs…) you should totally go for it.

TREAT YO-SELF!

Ingredients:

Crust (crust recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup butter (straight from the fridge, cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar, mix it in the water)

Filling 

  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups peeled, cored and diced Bartlett or Bosc pears (this should be a relatively fine dice, see pictures below)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

To make the crust, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, “cut” in the butter. This means you’re almost mashing the butter into the flour with the blender, ensuring all butter is covered in flour until the butter pieces are about the size of peas or a bit bigger.

Then, splash in a bit of your water mixture (2-3 tablespoons) and mix it around with your hand. Continue to add a little at a time and mix and squish with your hand until a large dough ball forms. If you need to get a bit more binding, add a bit of water to your fingers to help it along. Don’t feel compelled to use all the water, mix it in until just combined and the dough is holding together. Cut the dough ball into two halves and flatten into disks. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, make chocolate ganache. In the microwave or on a stovetop, bring cream to an almost boil and pour over chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let sit for a minute, then whisk together until smooth. Set aside.

Remove dough disks from fridge and let sit for 5-10 minutes so the dough doesn’t crack. Roll out each disk on a floured surface circle about 12-13 inches in diameter. Use a heart cookie cutter to cut out dough hearts and refrigerate on a parchment-lined baking sheet while making the filling.

In a large bowl, toss together diced pears, lemon juice and granulated sugar with your hands and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, spices and vanilla. Drain excess moisture from pear mixture and sprinkle sugar mixture on top. Toss with your hands until pears are evenly coated.

To assemble the hand pies, take one heart and spread a thin layer of ganache onto the middle of the dough. Spoon about 1 tbsp of filling on top of the ganache, like below.

Place a second dough heart on top of the pear layer, sealing the edges of the dough together with the tines of a fork.

Repeat with remaining dough hearts and refrigerate assembled pies on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Brush the tops of the hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

Recipe and photography by Ellie Hannaford of Pie Girl Bakes.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Instant Pot Pear Oatmeal Jars

The Instant Pot, that magical cooking appliance that allows you to do everything from sautéing to pressure-cooking, is all the rage right now. I put it to use in the morning to cook steel cut oats in no time. What’s even better is that the oats can be combined with any variety of ripe USA Pears and cooked right in individual mason jars for the family on the go. After cooking, the jars are topped with a variety of toppings to jazz up this heart-healthy breakfast.

Makes 4 one-pint jars

Ingredients:

2 cups diced USA Pears

1 cup steel cut oats

1/4 cup chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, dates, or raisins

6 tablespoons honey

8 teaspoons chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Sea salt

About 3 cups water

Topping Ideas:

Coconut Milk Yogurt or Greek Yogurt

Dried fruit

Toasted Coconut Flakes

Cacao Nibs

Directions:

In each of 4 pint-size mason jars, combine 1/2 cup of the pears, 1/4 cup of the oats, 1 tablespoon of the dried fruit, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the honey, 2 teaspoons of the chia seeds, 1/8 teaspoon each of the cardamom and ground ginger, and a pinch of salt. Pour about 3/4 cup water into each jar, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. Screw on the tops and shake the jars vigorously to mix everything together. Loosen the lids slightly to allow steam to release as they cook.

Prepare the Instant Pot by placing a wire rack in the bottom and pouring in 1 cup of water. Place the jars on the rack and secure the top of the pot. Select high pressure and set the timer for 20 minutes.

When done cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. (Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.) Open the pressure cooker and carefully remove the hot jars. Allow them to rest until the contents stop bubbling. Remove the lids using hot pads, being careful for steam. Stir each jar, then top as desired with the optional toppings. The oats can be served immediately or the lids can be put back on to serve them later.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Keep Love In The Air With Chocolate and Pears

Love is in the air and few things are as enticing as the passionate relationship between chocolate and pears. These two foods may come from opposite worlds but when they meet, the chemistry is unmistakable and downright charming. The possibilities are truly endless with these two simple ingredients, and you don’t need to be a gourmet chef to pull off something delicious and creative. We can’t prove it, but we are pretty sure chocolate and pears will please pretty much anyone. As you think of the perfect way to please your Valentine, consider savoring the joyous relationship that is chocolate and pears with these five recipes.

1. Dark Chocolate Dipped Pears

Move over strawberries— there’s another fruit that tastes amazing when dipped in chocolate! Rich dark chocolate pairs perfectly with Red Anjou pears, which just so happen to be heart-check certified by the American Heart Association. Decorate your dipped pears with a variety of creative options for sprinkling, like nuts, coconut flakes, and even vivid red chile powder for a kick.

2. Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce with Walnuts

Simple to make and yet oh so elegant Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce with Walnuts are the pear-fect finishing touch to any dinner party.

3. Chocolate Pear Delight

This decadent dessert for two is disarmingly simple to prepare. Double it for dinner parties and turn dessert into a chocolate celebration!

4. Caramelized Pear and Chocolate Pizza

Pizza for dessert? Hey, it’s a pie, right? This one is layered with sweet caramelized pears and rich, dark chocolate. It’s a happy ending for any meal.

5. Hot Fudge Pear Sundae

This pretty sundae gets seasonal flavor from the addition of fresh pears. Add a different flavor of ice cream (peanut butter, rocky road, strawberry) to make it your own!

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Pear, Green Tea, and Honey Granita

As we enter the depths of winter, after the holiday rush has slowed to steady daily routines, we take pleasure in things with a simpler, more nourishing feel. Enter granita, the flavor-rich frozen treat that is Italy’s answer to French sorbet or Hawaiian shave ice.

Perhaps it’s most often served as a refreshing end to a rich meal, but that’s not the end of its capabilities. After all, this recipe is simply a mixture of lusciously ripe fresh pears sweetened with a touch of honey, accentuated by a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt, and enhanced with the addition of matcha powder for green tea flavor and color, which also lends a smooth texture to the fluffy ice. Yes, it’s delicious served all on its own to finish dinner, but consider the options. Freshly shucked oysters benefit from a dollop to bring out the sweet and briny flavors. It’s also a traditional topping for a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with the two frozen textures—one cream, one crunchy—playing yin and yang to one another. Perhaps my favorite way to eat granita is with a fresh topping of finely chopped pears, cucumber, and mint, mixed with lime juice and pomegranate seeds—a refreshing and delicious dessert indeed, yet not overly indulgent.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 ripe USA Bartlett, Green Anjou, or Comice pears

2 tablespoons honey

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 1/2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder

Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Peel, core, and coarsely chop the pears and put them in a blender. Add the honey, lemon juice, matcha powder, and salt. Blend on high until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish, such as a cake pan or bread loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer until the mixture is frozen solid, at least 2 and up to 4 hours.

Using a fork, scrape the frozen granita into fluffy crystals. Spoon into small bowls, or serve as desired.

Recipe, Photos and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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5 Hearty Pear Soups to Warm Your Winter

Few things warm the body and soul like a bowl of soup in the wintertime. When it’s cold outside, soup can bring a sense of nourishment and comfort. The winter months also happen to be an ideal time to experiment in the kitchen since the frigid temperatures keep many of us inside. Pears may not be an ingredient that immediately comes to mind when you think of soup, but they can bring a unique flavor and texture to both sweet and savory soups. They’re also an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C, making them a nutritious and delicious ingredient. Whether sautéed with vegetables before stock is added, roasted and pureed to blend with stocks, or simply chopped and added to an already simmering broth, pears are a fun and tasty way to step up your soup game. These five soups will add plenty of warmth and sweetness to the winter months.

1. Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque

Developed by chef Vitaly Paley of the acclaimed restaurant Paley’s Place in Portland, OR, this vegetarian soup is simultaneously simple and decadent. Rich flavors take center stage as the creaminess, heartiness and sweetness strike a heavenly balance with squash and pears getting a nice curry kick.

2. Mulligatawny Soup with Chicken, Pears and Coconut

This autumn-inspired version of Mulligatawny soup is sure to delight. Colorful pears, tender chicken, sweet potatoes and rich coconut milk star in this adaptation of a classic English soup with Indian origins. The recipe comes together in about 30 minutes for an easy weeknight dinner, and the leftovers taste even better! Top the soup with crunchy toasted coconut and bright, fresh cilantro leaves.

3. Roasted Pear and Delicata Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Simplicity is the key in this recipe with basic ingredients and cooking directions that are easy to follow. This velvety smooth soup can be made up to three days ahead of when you plan to eat it. Once it’s ready just cover, cool and refrigerate, warm it up just before serving whenever you’re ready! Homemade croutons make it a total crowd-pleaser too!

4. Pear and Sunchoke Soup with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Bacon

Sunchoke is a root vegetable also known as a Jerusalem artichoke because of its artichoke flavor. This recipe, developed by Ethan Stowell of Seattle’s Staple & Fancy, Tavoláta, How to Cook a Wolf and Anchovies & Olives, brings a sweet start to any meal with an unusual combination of ripe pears and sunchokes. Oh yeah…and bacon!

5. Pear and Sweet Corn Soup with Basil-Macadamia Pesto

Basil-macadamia pesto serves as a zesty compliment to the sweetness of the pear and corn soup. This is yet another recipe that is uncomplicated and quick to whip up, which makes it a satisfying dish to make for the family on those hectic weeknights. It’s also meatless and fairly low on oil!

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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