This Roasted Pear and Pecan Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing is a delicious winter salad worthy of family or company. And the dressing is so good you can use it as a dip!
The dressing is so good that I also use it as a dip. The blue cheese is very mild so it won’t overpower people that are ‘iffy’ about blue cheese. It also goes great with carrots and celery à la Buffalo dip concept.
The touch of maple syrup in the dressing is not really noticeable as maple flavour but it adds a hint of sweetness that complements the roasted pear.
The original recipe from the Food & Drink Holiday 2018 magazine called for radicchio heads to be drizzled with olive oil and roasted along with the pears. I tried that but I am not a fan of radicchio prepared in any fashion. So… if you like radicchio consider that as a variation. I just found the bitterness of the radicchio made the pecans seem bitter and just didn’t work.
So.. on to peppery arugula!
The recipe calls for Cambozola which is the German version of Gorgonzola but it is creamier and milder. Cambozola has been patented and was literally designed to be Camembert + Gorgonzola. I actually used Bresse Blue that is a French version of almost a blue brie.
I like the fact that the blue cheese flavour profile is not overpowering here.
Some freshly grated Parmesan garnish adds a bit of interest. I think dried cranberries as garnish would also be a great addition instead of the Parmesan. And… especially at holiday time you have a festive salad!
Roasted pears actually make this salad fairly substantial. Add a chicken breast or a bit of steak and you would have a great lunch or light dinner.
Pear and Pecan Salad
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 pears halved and cored
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 6 cups arugula
- fresh parmesan for garnish optional
- optional- garnish with dried cranberries instead of Parmesan
- 4 oz Cambozola or other mild, soft blue cheese such as Bresse Bleu or Gorgonzola
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3/4 cup sour cream see Note 1 for variation
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pear halves out, cut side up. Drizzle the olive oil over the pears and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Leave room on the baking sheet for the pecans.
- Roast pears for about 15 minutes, add the pecans in a single layer and roast another 10 minutes. Pears should just be starting to get soft. Remove from oven and allow pears and pecans to come to room temperature.
- Coarsely chop the nuts.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients in a blend and blend till smooth. Dressing will be quite thick.
- To serve, arrange 1 cup of arugula on each of 6 plates. Top with 1 pear half and 1/6 of the pecans. Spoon out a few teaspoons of dressing onto the plate. Top with fresh grated parmesan if using.