Recipe: Pear, Gorgonzola and Pecan Salad

Let’s hear it for pears!

I got a plate of ’em from a neighbor, so I went looking for a way to enjoy these lovelies instead of just eating them one after another after another, etc.

So I found this recipe for Pear, raisin and gorgonzola salad, and when I saw there were pecans involved too, I knew this would be the base of this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe. Be sure to check out all participants at Shan’s Tales from the Fairy Blogmother!

I know. My fellow expats in Italy are thinking, “Now where did she find pecans?!”

The answer is “in my mailbox!”–a gift from the lovely Litlequeen. I’ve been rationing them for months.

By the by, if you don’t have or don’t like pecans, you can substitute your favorite nut, of course.

Now, this is a salad for those of you who enjoy nuts and fruits mixed in with your greens — unlike P who will only eat lettuce, olive oil, red wine vinegar or lemon and salt (not even with tomato!) and call it a side dish. Whatev.

I just used whatever lettuce I had in the fridge, but this would be great with spinach and/or arugula/rocket as well. Also feel free to experiment with the fruit; dried cranberries would go fabulously but I was too lazy to dig out the bag my mom sent me. Yes, I’m very spoiled.

I haven’t included measurements for the salad as I’ve left you room to play with the ingredients to suit your tastes.

More lettuce for you? Have at it! Crazy for raisins? Pour ’em in!

Aren’t salads fun?!

If you look at the recipe I based this dish on, you’ll see I made quite a few adjustments. Most notably, I didn’t caramelize the pecans. I figure if I’m trying to be healthy and eat a salad, why throw in extra sugar and butter (as much as I love them, and I do)? But if you’d like to, check out the directions on the recipe page.

Another note is that I invented my own dressing; I didn’t have the orange the recipe called for so I just scrapped the whole dressing recipe as written. I hope you’ll feel free to experiment as well. There are lots of great vinaigrette recipes out there, but since they revolve around similar ingredients, one day when you’re feeling adventurous, come up with your own and then come back here and share it, OK?

Now, the recipe.

Pear, Gorgonzola and Pecan salad
with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

For salad:

  • Salad greens of your choice
  • Pears, washed, sliced in half and cored
  • Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • Raisins
  • Pecans

For dressing*:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste

* This makes enough dressing for about 2-3 salads depending on personal taste and the size of the salads.

1. In a small bowl, mix together lemon and honey until honey is dissolved.

2. Stir in vinegar, then oil, and adjust for salt and other ingredients.

3. If making individual salad plates (recommended), assemble as shown in the photos with pear sliced in half lengthwise and cored placed in the middle of the plate–or any way you like really. It’s your salad!

4. Be sure to brush the pear slices/halves with lemon juice so they don’t brown before serving.

5. I would also recommend serving the dressing on the side at the table but that’s personal preference. If you’re adding it to the plates, serve immediately so things don’t get soggy.

Buon appetito!

What’s your favorite/signature salad?

And if you have a favorite pear recipe, please share in the comments!

37 Beans of Wisdom to “Recipe: Pear, Gorgonzola and Pecan Salad”
  1. 07.30.2008

    For shame upon you! Showing me this salad which looks sooo yummy and making me hungry now at almost 1 a.m. with no pears in the house at all -no lettuce either come to think of it but I do have all the other ingredients. Of course, I also have no vehicle right now to get me to the store and back either so will have to put this recipe on the back burner for a while.

    Jeni Hill Ertmer’s last blog post..Disclosing Things

    I hope you can round up the ingredients soon Jeni…this one is tasty πŸ™‚

  2. This hits all my buttons! Great salad.

    [eatingclub] vancouver || js’s last blog post..Squab Head

    Thanks! Nice to see you here πŸ™‚

  3. Gil

    Sounds delicious! I really shouldn’t be reading food recipes, especially ones this good, so late at night.

    Or I need to start posting later in the morning so the recipes are waiting when you wake up!

  4. 07.30.2008

    This sounds delicious and reminds me of a pizza I had in London of walnut, gorgonzola and spinach. Oh, that was good, too!

    Homebody at Heart’s last blog post..The Bride – Wedding Part 3

    Mmm I love pizza with these kinds of toppings…wouldn’t mind some prosciutto crudo thrown on there as well πŸ˜‰

  5. 07.30.2008

    How funny. I just wrote about ‘discovering’ pear and cheese ravioli at the Iper Familia! I’m not certain I have the patience in this heat to try making them from scratch though. Your salad recipe sounds perfect for summer. I’ll have to give it a try. BTW, nice to meet you. I’ve only recently found your blog. I’ve been enjoying popping over to see what you are up to down south. Ciao, Karen

    Thanks so much Karen! Nice to have you here πŸ™‚ I know what you mean about cooking in the heat…a lot of pear recipes I found required the oven. Uh, not happening until September at the earliest πŸ˜‰

  6. Joanne at frutto della passione

    Al contadino non far sapere, quanto e buono il formaggio con le pere!
    I love cheese and fruit, heck I love sweet and savory together in general, okay, if it doesn’t bite back I’m good πŸ˜‰

    Joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..A treasure map?

    We’d be dangerous in a restaurant together, Joanne. One of everything…two plates please πŸ˜‰

  7. 07.30.2008

    This fellow expat is saying ‘Where did she find the raisins?!’ I can only find sultanas in Tuscany. This is a variation of one of my favourite salads – now I’m going to think about it non stop until I can gather the ingredients together to try it. I will be tempted to caramelize the nuts too.

    Ahem, California raisins come via my mom as well (don’t hate me!). That said, sultanas are tasty too πŸ™‚

    EDIT: Looking at the photos again, I think I did actually use sultanas. And now that I think of it, yes, they are definitely more easily accessible in my cupboard, so I probably did. I’m even lazier than I thought!

  8. 07.30.2008

    One of my fav combos of all time. Gorgonzola. Pears. Pecans.
    Heaven on a plate.

    It does my heart NO good to know there are no pecans in Italy, cara. πŸ™ sniff. sniff.

    Thanks for the recipe!!

    My MΓ©lange’s last blog post..Travel Tip Tuesday – Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!

    Well now you know you should bring them with you πŸ˜‰

  9. My favorite salad is probably your signature caprese… however I got through college on this:

    * medium bag mixed greens (pref. including rucola, mizuna, radicchio and romaine)
    * handful almonds, chopped
    * 1/2 avocado
    * 8 oz. tofu, cubed
    * 1/2 can garbanzos
    * balsamic vinegar and water, to taste

    Throw all ingredients in a large salad bowl, toss, and eat right from the salad bowl with a fork.

    paul of crazy like whoa’s last blog post..Soaring

    Wish we had better avocados here πŸ™ I’d probably lose the tofu, maybe add some grilled chicken chunks, but otherwise, YUM. Love almonds!

  10. 07.30.2008

    This sounds amazing, and I will definitely be trying it soon! Thanks for sharing!

    Heather’s last blog post..Bookish

    Hope you like it Heather πŸ™‚

  11. It sounds wonderful and I believe blue cheese and some fruits go really well together – but I’ve never quite been able to get my head around fruit in salads – unless it’s a pure and unadulterated fruit salad!
    As for pecans – yum yum – now if you have a recipe for pecan pie I’m there with bells on! πŸ˜‰

    Absolute Vanilla… (& Atyllah)’s last blog post..Snippets

    Hee hee, you know I’ve never had pecan pie? I’m not that big into nuts outside of just eating them plain or in salads…I don’t even like them in my cookies πŸ˜‰

  12. 07.30.2008

    Yum! That sounds great. I made a similar salad the other night–lettuce, Fuji apple slices, dried cranberries, pecans, and blue cheese crumbles, topped with a low-fat raspberry vinaigrette that I just happened to have in my fridge.

    Stefanie’s last blog post..“Monday Six” just doesn’t have any sort of ring to it

    Look at you gooooo!

  13. Michelle, I’m the same way. I don’t like nuts in my cookies either. I make crumbles without nuts as well but I love to eat them plain or throw some cashews or almonds into a stir-fry dish. Not sure what my issue is with nuts in baked goods. πŸ™‚

    I love the pear/cheese combo. I will pick up some pears at the market. Right now I’m kinda obsessed with the tasty grapes from Sicily from my favorite vendor.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..The write stuff and John Slattery.

    Oh that is too funny! I mean, I do love nuts, just not in breads, cakes or cookies…I think it’s the surprise factor, like I never know when my teeth will hit something hard. See if I’m just eating nuts, I *know* when I’m biting into on πŸ˜‰

    Grapes…mmm…me too. Almost threw them in the salad!

  14. Wunschdenker

    Ich liebe diese Kombi, aber momentan kann ich kein Kaese und keine Biernen essen!! πŸ™ I love this combination but at the moment I can’t eat cheese or pears…..woe is me!!

    Woe is you is right πŸ™

  15. 07.30.2008

    Sounds good but I don’t like pears. It is probably the only fruit that I don’t! Your photos are gorgeous, as always!
    Do you need more pecans??

    jmisgro’s last blog post..Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

    Pears aren’t my favorite either–they must be super firm or else blech!

    I’m good on the pecans for now, but I’ll be sure to let you know πŸ™‚

  16. 07.30.2008

    Beautiful photos! That salad looks delicious. I especially like the pecans. Please email me if you ever need any other ingredients not easily found in your corner of the world… as long as it isn’t easily perishable I will happily send it to you. I remember my own search for cilantro… mamma mia that was an adventure!

    Amber’s last blog post..Renewal

    Thanks so much Amber; yeah, cilantro is definitely nowhere to be found. Good thing I’m not too huge a fan πŸ˜‰

  17. That looks fantastic, Michelle! I love pears and gorgonzola – it is really the only way I will eat a pear in fact!

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen’s last blog post..You Say Filbert, I say Hazelnut…A Schitzoid Daring Baker’s Gateau…with some serious issues…

    Hee hee…I hear you Jenn! Gorgonzola does *a lot* for pears for me too πŸ™‚

  18. 07.30.2008

    This looks SOOOOO good! I’m on my way.

    You’d have been proud of me yesterday, I went to a farmers market, bought fresh produce and actually cooked what I would call and Italian-y meal. It came out okay!
    No fires, nothing blackened, I may have kept it in the pan a little longer than I should… but I liked doing it!

    I’ll have to try something like this salad next!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..Cardinal Rules II

    Wheeeeeee! I’m *so* very proud! I’m afraid the salad will be too simple for you now though πŸ˜‰

  19. SabineM

    yummy! I will be right over for lunch!

    SabineM’s last blog post..Weekend Snapshot: She is going to kill me….

    Your place is set cara!

  20. 07.30.2008

    Mmmmm, pears, nuts, and bleu cheese — sounds irresistible to me! I also liked the refreshing surprise of lemon juice in the dressing instead of balsamic vinegar.

    My signature salad? Baby lettuces topped with grated carrots & beets, garnished with dried cherries & toasted pine nuts or coarsely chopped spiced pecans, and dressed with olive oil & vinegar, salt & pepper, to taste. If I say I’m making a salad, this is the one.

    annoa2’s last blog post..Talkin’ To Myself…

    Oh that sounds heavenly! I love beets and I love dried cherries…and pine nuts too? YUM!

    FWIW, there is balsamic in the recipe above, although there’s no reason that you couldn’t just leave it out. We dress our salads all the time with just lemon juice, olive oil and salt πŸ™‚

  21. 07.30.2008

    Don’t you love those small yellow pears? They have them up here now (Riviera) both from South Africa (?!) and southern Italy. I think they are the prettiest pears I’ve ever seen, and really delicious. By the way, cilantro is really, really easy to grow in a pot or box on your terrace or in your window. We’ve been putting it in everything this summer – last night on a curried chicken salad, fr’instance. Your photos of food are mouthwatering.

    Fern’s last blog post..Roadkill

    Thanks Fern πŸ™‚ I really think these yellow pears are cutest and tastiest *except* for some *really* tiny ones that grow down here–they’re about the size of small plum and man are they tasty…and I only know the name in dialect: “piracceri” is the best I can do with spelling!

    Thanks for the cilantro tip! I’m not a huge fan, but hopefully others will plant some and enjoy πŸ™‚

  22. 07.30.2008

    This is one of my favorite salads!!! I love fruit in my salad and I’d absolutely kill for anything with Gorgonzola. This is a great salad for summer. Just perfect!

    Salena’s last blog post..In This Case, R & R Means Recumbent And Recuperation

    I’m a gorgonzola lover here too…and anything I can throw together without turning on the stove or oven is perfect for summer for me. You can even assemble this one on the road πŸ™‚

  23. Gills n Thrills

    Yum! I love the combination of pears, blue cheese, and pecans. Its especially good during pecan season down here.

    Lucky you with a pecan season! I’m jealous πŸ™‚

  24. 07.31.2008

    Seriously. We’d have eaten all of the pears before I could get the salad put together. Every year, we buy the pears from the Harry and David store around Christmas, and we eat them obsessively.

    Chel’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Watch out Project Runway

    We’re not nearly as big on pears as you are; too bad you don’t live closer b/c we have a ton!

  25. oh my goodness that looks yummy

    I’ve been on a pear and pecan kick lately – I find they pair well with spinach – I hadn’t thought of the raisins though. I’ll have to give that a try.

    judy haley (coffeejitters)’s last blog post..The Original Marching Bands

    Ooh we’re on the same wavelength! How fun πŸ™‚

  26. 07.31.2008

    Scrumptious-sounding salad. If I can buy the ingredients, this is what I’ll have for lunch today. πŸ˜‰


    Buon appetito Paz!

  27. 07.31.2008

    I have a salad like this almost everyday for lunch. Throw in some dried cherries every once and a while or bacon and you have it made!

    Mmmmm bacon! Love bacon! Great idea Katie πŸ™‚

  28. 08.01.2008

    As soon as I saw this on Shan’s blog I new it was a keeper for me. I *love* pecans in salad… actually in almost everything (I substitute them for walnuts all the time). Looks fantastic! How do you take your photos and what camera do you use. You photography does your food justice.

    Thanks Heather! My camera is a Canon PowerShot S1 IS (not the latest model by any means) and honestly it’s *all* the camera b/c I do very little other than point and click. See how I got this camera here, btw…it’s a great story, I promise!

  29. 08.01.2008

    I love these flavors together. This salad looks fantastic!

    Madeline’s last blog post..Well Worth Waiting For

    Glad you liked it Madeline; thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  30. 08.01.2008

    That’s a gorgeous salad. You take the most amazing photos. πŸ™‚

    I used to make a pear poached in Zinfandel wine that was pretty killer. I think it had cloves and perhaps a cinnamon stick in there as well. Mmmm.

    J’s last blog post..Thursday Lion Blogging

    Thanks J…and mmmmm…bring on that Zinfandel!

  31. I love pears.
    I laughed at P’s side dish. Is that what a salad is to him? Just the greens? Is that more the traditional Italian way?
    I ,like you, love all the other stuff in my salad. I caramelise nuts a lot but I only use sugar and a hot pan. Works like a charm and yeah it’s a bit naughty but yummy.

    collette~all over the map’s last blog post..Heaven & Hell

    Yes Collette, just lettuce. In the summer we’ll have tomatoes, cucumbers and onions a lot, but that’s a whole other salad, you see. Yum on the caramelized nuts…I love getting them at street fairs and whatnot so I’ll have to make them at home sometime too πŸ™‚

  32. 08.01.2008

    I DID have this salad for lunch and LOVED it. I also loved your vinaigrette, which I think is much better than the one found in original recipe. All that sugar! *shudder* Anyway, I’m going to have this salad AGAIN tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe. πŸ˜‰


    Oh I’m so happy you enjoyed it Paz! Thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚

  33. 08.01.2008

    Oooh, I love summer for so many reasons and this is one of them. Summer salads! They are so easy to throw together and you can create all kinds of combinations. Perfect for those of us who don’t cook. πŸ˜‰

    Rebecca’s last blog post..a fork in the road

    Salads are definitely a great summer treat Rebecca, even for those who cook it’s a great, tasty break from the stove!

  34. 08.01.2008


    Jerry’s last blog post..A peach festivel gone astray

    Glad you enjoyed Jerry πŸ™‚

  35. I love this recipe !!!

    le petit cabinet de curiosites’s last blog post..surprise

  36. 08.12.2008

    We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks πŸ™‚

    Thanks Sophie πŸ™‚

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