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Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

The tang of blue cheese balances perfectly with the freshness of fall’s sweetest fruit in this pear salad with gorgonzola and walnuts. It may seem humble, but this salad is a flavor powerhouse you won’t want to miss!

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A bowl of pear salad in a bowl being tossed with two forks.

Salads don’t have to always have tomatoes, croutons and be slathered in ranch dressing. It seems like a truly American travesty–the things we will ruin a salad with.

Not to mention those heavy ingredients and factory-made dressings can quickly load you up on calories and inflammatory fats, synthetic colors, and preservatives.

But there’s no reason to sacrifice flavor, either.

Pear salad with gorgonzola and walnuts is one salad you’ll be shocked to discover is full of bright flavor. In my opinion, it begs for a little grilled chicken for a simple weekday lunch or dinner or as the perfect light side on your holiday table to break up all those heavy casseroles.

Tips for a great pear salad with gorgonzola and walnuts

There aren’t a ton of rules here–that’s what makes this type of recipe so amazing…but here are a few tips:

  • I’m using gorgonzola blue cheese here. It’s a bit creamy and has a milder flavor than some other blues. You can use another type if you choose–just try to get one that’s not so strong that it over powers your salad. Stay away from Stilton.
  • Some people like candied walnuts here. That means they have been roasted in the oven with a sugar coating to make them sweet. I didn’t find that I needed that extra punch (the dried cranberries were plenty of sweetness for me) but if you’d like your nuts candied, go for it. Here’s a recipe if you want to make them.
  • Use a mixed greens or baby lettuce. There’s never really any reason to put iceberg lettuce in anything. It has no flavor and pretty much no nutritional benefit

How to make this salad ahead

Estimate about 1 cup of lettuce per person you’re serving. If you have lots of side dishes, you can estimate 1/2 cup of lettuce. Wash and dry the lettuce totally (use a salad spinner if you have one).

Mix in the cheese, walnuts, cranberries. Cover and store in the fridge up to two days in advance. Your lettuce may soften a bit. If you’d like to prevent that, only make it a day ahead.

Leave the pear out and wait to slice and toss it in right before serving.

The dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and stored in the fridge. Don’t worry if it separates after sitting. Just stir it with a fork and pour it over right before serving.

What to serve with pear salad

I lean toward slow cooked meats and casseroles with this bright salad simply because they offset each other so well. Try:

Parmesan crusted pork chops

Cheesy hash brown casserole

Sautéed green beans with mustard and shallots

A bowl of pear salad in a bowl being tossed with two forks.

Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Salads are for all year round, but this one is perfect for cooler weather when pears are perfectly in season. Adorn your next holiday table with this bright, balanced side dish.
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Course: Side Dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 338kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 4 cups spring lettuce mix about one cup per person
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola any blue cheese will work here
  • 1 Bosc or Bartlett pear cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts preferrably toasted, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries optional

For the dressing

Instructions

  • In a large bowl toss the lettuce, blue cheese, pears, walnuts and cranberries if using them. Set aside.
  • To make the dressing, mix the maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a fork until combined. While continuing to stir, slowly pour in the olive oil until mixed. If it doesn't totally emulsify that's okay.
  • Pour over the dressing just before serving.
  • To make ahead: Mix the salad ingredients and dressing and store separately in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes

To make this recipe for a larger crowd, estimate about 1 cup of lettuces per person. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2206IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg

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