Combine delicious fall flavors in this easy walnut pear blue cheese salad recipe. Looking for a simple weeknight meal? You can add chicken to this salad for a chicken pear blue cheese salad. The best part? You can make this salad in just 15 minutes. Serve it with some cornbread or homemade rolls. A nice fall cabbage soup recipe would also pair well with this salad. There are many possibilities. Read on to learn how to make this tasty walnut pear blue cheese salad and its different variations.
The Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad Backstory
The idea for this recipe came from an unlikely place: A real estate flyer! The picture of the pear blue cheese and walnut salad looked so enticing, I couldn’t resist giving it a try. Who could pass up a salad recipe made with sweet, juicy pears, crunchy walnuts, and tangy blue cheese? I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand, though, so I made a few substitutions. Our raspberry crop was very small this year, but I wanted to make the best use of the few raspberries I had available to me. In order to make it a meal, I needed to add some meat, so this chicken, pear, walnut raspberry blue cheese salad was created. See what you think!
Equipment for Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad
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There is no need for any fancy equipment to make this easy walnut pear blue cheese salad recipe. You do need a skillet for toasting the walnuts, a large salad bowl and a small jar with a lid for mixing the dressing. A bowl with a lid is nice. I have this entire set, and I like the way I can mix and serve the salad in the large bowl, then store leftovers in a smaller bowl, if needed.
Ingredients for Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad
During the fall harvest season, the fresh pears are readily available. Check your freezer to see if you have a stash of walnuts. I found some, and they were just right for this recipe. The most economical place to purchase blue cheese is Grocery Outlet. I love their cheese section! If you don’t have one near you, Trader Joe’s offers a wide variety of cheese as well. Here is what you will need for the basic recipe:
6 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup cooked leftover rotisserie chicken or cooked, chopped chicken breasts
1-2 large pears, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2-1 cup ripe raspberries
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Ingredients for the dressing:
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best, but bottled is okay as well)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Directions for Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad
To make the pear walnut blue cheese salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Shake well to mix the ingredients, then set the jar aside.
Add walnuts to a skillet and toast over medium heat. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes to avoid scorching the walnuts. When the walnuts are fragrant and golden, remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large salad bowl, toss greens with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Slice the pears thinly and add to the salad. Toss gently. Sprinkle on the walnuts, blue cheese, and raspberries. Serve the dressing on the side. This recipe makes 4 servings.
Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad Recipe
- 1 skillet
- 1 bowl lid is optional, but nice
- 1 small jar with lid
- 6 cups mixed salad greens
- 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
- 1-2 fresh pears, sliced
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted
- ½-1 cup ripe, fresh raspberries
- ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- To make the pear walnut blue cheese salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Shake well to mix the ingredients, then set the jar aside.
- Add walnuts to a skillet and toast over medium heat. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes to avoid scorching the walnuts. When the walnuts are fragrant and golden, remove from the heat and let cool.
- In a large salad bowl, toss greens with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Slice the pears thinly and add to the salad. Toss gently. Sprinkle on the walnuts, blue cheese, and raspberries. Serve the dressing on the side. This recipe makes 4 servings.
Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad Variations
One of the great things about this salad recipe is the many ingredient substitutions that may be made. Change up the flavor with one of these simple ideas. Try one of these other pear blue cheese salad recipes.
Pear Blue Cheese Pecan Salad
To create this salad variation, just substitute pecans for the walnuts. You can toast the pecans if you wish, or add them without toasting. The salad will retain its delicious crunch with a slightly different flavor.
Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Romaine Salad
Instead of the mixed salad greens, opt for some romaine lettuce. Add it as you would the greens, then combine it with the other ingredients. Romaine lettuce is nutrient-rich as well as deliciously crunchy.
Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Grape Salad
Instead of using raspberries, substitute in another fall fruit: Grapes. Our grapes don’t usually ripen enough to be edible, but this fall was an exception. Cut the grapes in half for an easy salad mix-in.
What Goes Well with Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Salad?
This salad is an excellent main dish when chicken is included, and pairs well with soup. French onion soup (without the sausage added in) would be a flavorful choice. As noted in the introduction, cornbread or homemade rolls are tasty side dishes to serve alongside this salad. Blue cheese has a strong, unique taste, so it works well when accompanied by mellow, subtle flavors. Roasted rosemary red potatoes would be a simple side dish that would complement the blue cheese in the salad.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blue (Bleu) Cheese
Since blue cheese (sometimes spelled bleu cheese) is such a major component of this fall salad recipe, some who have never used it before may have questions. Blue cheese is somewhat of an acquired taste, as the taste and smell are so pungent. I was introduced to it at a young age because blue cheese salad dressing was a favorite of my mom’s. Here are some questions some have when using blue cheese in recipes.
Is blue cheese healthy? As with other dairy products, blue cheese is an excellent source of calcium. Blue cheese is also a great source of protein.
Can I melt blue cheese? Blue cheese is easy to melt. It would make a fun option to serve as a cheese option when hosting a raclette dinner party. If you aren’t sure what raclette is, basically it’s cheese melted on a special grill, then poured over a variety of meat, vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Does that seem interesting? You can read all about it here.
How do you know if blue cheese has gone bad? It’s a bit ironic that cheese made with mold (yes, the blue veins in the cheese are a type of Penicillium mold that is safe to consume) can get moldy. If you notice other colors on the cheese, such as red, pink, green, or grey spots on the surface of the cheese, that is an indicator that the cheese is not safe to eat. Fuzzy spots on the surface of the blue cheese are another sign it has gone bad. If there is an ammonia-like odor, the blue cheese should not be eaten.
How long is blue cheese good for? Once opened, blue cheese can last 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. If you would like to make the cheese last longer, see below for details about freezing the blue cheese.
Is it OK to freeze blue cheese? Definitely! Blue cheese may be frozen. You may notice a slightly more crumbly texture after thawing. Frozen blue cheese can last for years and still be edible, although for best quality it’s generally best to consume the cheese within a year.
What About You and Blue Cheese?
Are you a huge fan of blue cheese? What do you like to top with blue cheese? What do you like to mix blue cheese with? Is there anything in your life that you have improved with the addition of blue cheese? I’d enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas.
More Food Inspiration
It’s always nice to have a plan when it comes to meals. If you’re looking for a way to get more organized with your meal-planning efforts, I’ve got something for you. Free, editable meal planners! The templates can be used over and over, as often as you need them. You can make as many duplicates as you like, and you’ll be able to save old meal plans for future reference. I hope it simplifies things for you.
If you would like even more recipe ideas, consider following my Easy Recipes board on Pinterest. Have a fabulous day, and have a good time trying these walnut pear blue cheese salad recipes.
Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to create and share recipes, often using fresh ingredients from her family’s small Pacific Northwest farm. To get more easy recipes, click on over to the Food page.
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