This pear and gorgonzola salad recipe is everything I crave in a salad. It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, juicy, peppery and bright—in other words, it’s the ultimate combination of flavors and textures. The salad is always a crowd pleaser, and it pairs perfectly with just about any main course, from holiday roasts, to baked chicken, to weeknight pastas (scroll down to see some of my favorite pairings). Don’t miss my step-by-step video below!
While I like to snack on pears, I love to eat them in salads, especially in the fall and winter when they’re at their peak. The sweetness of pears perfectly balances bitter winter greens, and their juicy texture offsets crunchy vegetables and nuts. But the real star of this salad is the combination of pears and Gorgonzola. The bold, salty blue cheese amplifies the sweetness of the pears, creating an irresistible combination.
- Pear: You can use any pear variety you like, although I prefer Bartletts, which are juicy with thin skins.
- Radicchio: Radicchio is a member of the chicory family and has a bitter flavor that works beautifully in this salad (you can use endive instead!).
- Mixed Greens or Arugula: Mixed greens and/or arugula give this salad substance and color.
- Fennel: Fennel provides a refreshing, sweet crunch.
- Toasted Walnuts: Toasted walnuts provide a nutty contrast to the juicy pears and cheese, although you can use these Candied Maple Pecans instead.
- Dried Cherries or Cranberries: Chewy dried cherries or cranberries lend a pop of sweetness and a chewy texture.
- Blue Cheese: You can use any blue cheese you like, such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort or even blue cheese crumbles.
How to make this pear and gorgonzola salad recipe:
Make the apple cider vinaigrette
- A simple but vibrant vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and olive oil ties all of the ingredients together. I like to shake it up in a jar, but you can use a bowl and whisk instead. The dressing lasts for a week in the fridge and is also fabulous on other vegetable and grain salads.
Assemble the salad
- In a large bowl, combine radicchio, fennel, greens, pear and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss and serve
- Pour in just enough dressing to coat (you might not need it all), and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the dried cherries and gorgonzola cheese over top. Give the salad one more gentle toss, then serve!
You can pair this pear and blue cheese salad with just about any main course. It’s perfect for both weeknights and entertaining, and it’s also one of my favorite side dishes for the holidays. It brightens up a Thanksgiving spread, and it’s a beautiful complement to Christmas roasts. Below are some of my other favorite pairings:
What are the best pears for a salad?
I prefer Bartlett pears, which are juicy with thin skins. However, any pear variety will work in this salad.
To test if a pear is ripe, press it gently near the stem. It will give slightly if it’s ripe. To ripen pears faster, place them in a brown paper bag and let them sit at room temperature for a day or two.
Blue cheeses pair especially well with pears, as their salty flavor amplifies the sweetness of the fruit. However, pears are also delicious with goat cheese, feta and shaved parmesan, all of which work well in this salad.
Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese from Italy. It’s creamy and salty with a delicious “bite” from the blue veining. However, you can use any blue cheese you like in this recipe, such as Roquefort (a French blue cheese that’s typically a bit sharper than Gorgonzola) or an American blue cheese.
Other salads and sides you might like:
- One Bowl Green Salad
- Butternut Squash Salad
- Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranates & Goat Cheese
- Healthy Panzanella Salad
- Roasted Acorn Squash Slices with Maple Brown Butter Vinaigrette
- Creamy Whipped Potatoes
- Easy Sweet Potato Souffle
- Swiss Chard Gratin (Vegan!)
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Harvest Pear & Gorgonzola Salad
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium head radicchio, thinly sliced
- ½ medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved on mandoline
- 2 cups mixed greens or baby arugula
- 1 ripe Barlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (or you can use pecans or hazelnuts)
- 2 tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries
- ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
Make the vinaigrette
- In a small bowl or jar, combine the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk or shake until the honey is dissolved. Add the olive oil and whisk or shake to combine. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Do Ahead: The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Assemble the salad
- In a large bowl, combine the radicchio, fennel, greens, pear and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in just enough dressing to coat (you might not need it all), and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the dried cherries and gorgonzola cheese over top. Give the salad one more gentle toss, then serve!
- You can use any pear variety you like, although I prefer Bartlett pears, which are juicy with thin skins. Thinly sliced apples are also delicious!
- Feel free to swap out the radicchio for sliced endive.
- Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese from Italy. It’s creamy and salty with a delicious “bite” from the blue veining. However, you can use any blue cheese you like in this recipe, such as Roquefort (a French blue cheese that’s typically a bit sharper than Gorgonzola) or an American blue cheese.
- Try these Maple Roasted Pecans in place of the walnuts.
- I like to make salad dressings in jars with lids so that I can just shake them up (they store easily that way too!).
- Try this salad with Easy Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken!