Poached Pear & Chicken Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Loaded with 5.5 grams of fiber in each medium-sized fruit, pears poached in spice-infused syrup give them a pie-like flavor that turns an ordinary salad into a remarkable bowl of tasty goodness when pared (no pun intended) with chicken, cranberries, and walnuts over sweet baby spinach greens.
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Poached Pear & Chicken Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Poached Pear & Chicken Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

This salad honors America’s oldest cultivated fruit tree, a pear tree brought from Europe around 1630 and planted in Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts.  In this recipe, we’ve used fresh Bartlett pears poached in bourbon whiskey* and brown sugar to excite the taste buds, making this most memorable flavorsome salad.

I love summer salads especially when they include a lot of flavor from unexpected ingredients. One of my favorite fruit alternatives to extended storage apples is fresh Bartlett summer pears. As well as being economical, this versatile fruit with high-fiber content is great for dieters, your heart, and gut health too.

Early summer pears when poached become fork tender yet hold their shape when well poached, taking a salad to a new level of delicious. In this recipe I’ve included two options for poaching the pears. With either method the poaching liquid is made by cooking the pears in a small amount of butter, oil, sugar, spice, and liquid that reduces into an amazing glaze which is then used for cooking the chicken tenders.

Both options are easy and delicious.

#1 – (Non-alcoholic reduction) uses lemon, spice, apple cider, and water as the liquid.

#2 – (Alcoholic reduction) uses bourbon whiskey** as the liquid.

The bottom line is that if you like pears and chicken, you’ll be amazed by the ton of flavor this salad offers up in an easy, simple meal.

*To Sip or not to Sip?

The facts About Bourbon Whiskey and Gluten

Bourbon whiskey is a type of alcohol spirit typically made from at least 51 percent corn, which is a gluten-free grain. However, the rest of the mash that goes into making bourbon (up to 49 percent) generally comes from gluten grains including wheat, barley, and rye all of which are the three main gluten grains. So, you would logically think that bourbon whiskey isn’t gluten-free.

If you’re trying to determine if it is gluten-free or if it isn’t, it depends on who you ask. According to the National Institutes of Health and several of the Celiac organizations in the US, they say that distilled alcohol is considered gluten-free because the process of distillation removes the harmful gluten protein up to 20 ppm.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates alcoholic beverages in the US, has a policy that beverages made from gluten grains cannot legally carry the gluten-free claim, since gluten (or, fragments of the gluten protein) remaining in such drinks may not be detected easily with current technology.

Producers are allowed to truthfully explain on their labels how the alcohol was manufactured to remove the gluten, as long as it also contains a disclaimer that the product may contain gluten, and the labeling is obvious. The advantage of this is that if an alcoholic drink contains a gluten-free label, you know that no gluten grain is used in any part of the manufacturing process.

According to the majority of Celiac Disease experts, most whiskey is safe to drink for Celiacs. And, the majority of people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity don’t seem to react to alcohol distilled from gluten grains. That said, it’s not clear how many people get sick from these beverages. It has been documented that a substantial minority do react, which is why there are controversy and disagreement among the experts as to whether it is safe. Because everyone reacts differently, you will have to decide to drink or use at your own risk.

So, Do You, or Don’t You Use Bourbon?

**Try Bourbon with caution is the recommendation when drinking bourbon and other gluten-containing alcoholic beverages, especially if you have a celiac diagnosis or are sensitive to gluten.

Learn how to adjust the serving size.

Poached Pear & Chicken Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Poached Pear & Chicken Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Poached pears a versatile fruit with high-fiber content is great for dieters, your heart, and gut health too!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Brunch, Dinner, entree, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: avocado, chicken wings, cranberry, pear, poppyseed, spinich
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 959kcal


  • Small skillet


Option #1 – Pie Spiced Poached Pears

  • 1 small Pear cored, skin removed and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • Dash Allspice
  • Dash Cinnamon

Option #2 – Bourbon Whiskey* Poached Pears

  • 1 small Pear cored, skin removed and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey


  • Heat oil and butter in small skillet. Add pears and cook for about 2 minutes or until they are beginning to brown. Sprinkle the pears with the brown sugar and add the remaining ingredients for the option you’ve chosen. Turn the pears to coat evenly with the poaching liquid mixture while it reduces. When the pears are fork tender, the liquid should be reduced to about half, remove the pears to a plate to cool.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet with the reduced poaching liquid. Salt and pepper the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes until done, turning the chicken halfway through. Remove the cooked chicken and slice into bite-size pieces.
  • Arrange a layer of baby spinach on a salad plate. Add avocado, cooked chicken pieces, pears, cranberries, and nuts.
  • Serve with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing. Enjoy!


*Try bourbon with caution. The recommendation when drinking bourbon and other gluten-containing alcoholic beverages, especially if you have a celiac diagnosis or are sensitive to gluten.

Copyright © 2017-2020 Kymberley Pekrul | G-Free Deliciously | gfreedeliciously.com | All content, and photographs are copyright protected. The sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please read my Photo Use Policy for detailed guidelines and further clarification.

Recipe Card powered by WP Recipe Maker | Nutrition by NutriFox

(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)

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Kymberley @gfreedeliciously

Hi, I'm Kymberley, the creator of G-Free Deliciously and the Amazing, Glorious Journey Programs. I pray that my work will inspire you to honor your body through God and Good Food from the inside out, all while enjoying your Amazing, Glorious Journey!

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Being creative, cooking, fresh veggies, the violin, decorating for holidays, sewing, hand-quilting, cowgirl boots, country music, fresh herbs in pots, blowing dandelions to the wind, walking barefoot in the grass, hanging out with eclectic interesting people, reading, writing, warm lazy summer days, and yoga!

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