Pear salad with gorgonzola is one of the classic fall combinations. It’s possibly overdone but still well worth sharing again (and again). This recipe is one I first start working with in 2010 but it’s morphed into the version below. I use to cook the pears but I found the crispness from the fresh fruit much better suited. I also love using frisee in this salad, especially for Thanksgiving. It’s a great make-ahead salad that is the perfect addition to your holiday dinner.
Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu
I love using holiday meals as a way to explore new recipes and ideas. This recipe is part of a three-recipe series focused on an easy, gluten-free Thanksgiving meal. The main dish is a beautiful squash/lentil dish that is not only delicious but beautiful in presentation (and vegan). The full meal includes:
Acorn Squash with Radicchio Lentil Salad
Slow Cooker Rutabaga Gratin with Millet
Pear Salad with Gorgonzola
Wine Pairing: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier 2014 for the overall meal. With the pear salad, sweet fruit and gorgonzola are the perfect complement to this wine. Rich, but not overpowering; sweet, but not syrupy, this Chenin Blanc Viognier blend hits citrusy bright notes and luscious peachy undertones.
Pear Salad with Gorgonzola
A hearty fall salad that's perfect for an easy lunch or beautiful holiday side dish. This salad also works well with apples and/or spinach in place of the frisee.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons muscovado sugar or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
- 1 medium ripe pear
- 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 4 cups packed frisee lettuce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium skillet, melt butter and whisk in sugar over medium low heat. Add walnuts and let cook. Stir often, until sugar has caramelized on the walnuts, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Slice pear, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss dressing with lettuce.
- To assemble salad, place lettuce in a bowl and top with walnuts, pears, and Gorgonzola cheese.
Tips & Tricks: Frisee and other greens in the endive family stand up well in pre-dressed salads. The lettuce maintains its crunch without wilting. But you can always dress immediately before serving if you prefer.
Nutrition: find more information
I love the pear, gorgonzola, and walnut combination. I eat it on this pear salad, pizza, and even in a wrap. However, I know that not everyone loves the combination as much as I do. So here are a few swaps you can make:
GREENS: Swap out the frisee for your favorite salad greens such as baby spinach, kale or mixed greens. Serve immediately with these more tender greens, or hold the dressing until just before serving so the salad doesn’t wilt.
CHEESE: Swap the Gorgonzola for a blue cheese or feta. Or if you prefer a milder cheese, try a mild goat cheese or mozzarella.
FRUIT: Other seasonal fall fruit such as sweet apples or persimmons would be excellent in this salad in place of the pears.
Next to the apples I have stuffed in my crisper, I have a a variety of pears. I typically snack on apples while I cook with pears. I love pears on top of breakfast items (like pancakes and oatmeal), in soups, and even as a base for cheese toast. If you’re looking to cook more with pears, a few options: