Italian Salad with Pears, Walnuts, and Gorgonzola- This salad encompasses the perfect fall/winter flavors with the sweetness of pear and the tangy, sharpness of gorgonzola, and comforting flavors of the orange honey mustard vinaigrette – a classic Italian pairing.
Why I love this salad
I love salads all year around! The best part about salads is... you can make a hundred variations. This is one of my favorite combinations for fall and winter. It is a delicious salad to serve for any occasion.
Enjoy it as a side for a special occasion meal or fancy up a weeknight dinner by adding this as a side to any main dish.
The ingredients are wholesome and healthy for this delicious Italian Salad Pears, Walnuts, and Gorgonzola.
- Mixed Italian greens
- Pears (see pear recommendations)
- Gorgonzola (see cheese variations)
- Walnuts (you can leave them out if desired or use pistachios or almonds)
- Olive oil
- Fresh orange juice
- Orange zest
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and Pepper
What pears are best for a salad?
When pears are in season and are perfectly juicy and ripe, that is when this salad truly shines. If you can’t find pears that are sweet and ripe, you can substitute apple for the pear.
Some of my favorites include Anjou, Bosc, Bartlett and Comice varieties. The important thing is to choose pears that are ripe, but still firm.
You can gently squeeze the pear, it should have a bit of give if it's firm. Avoid soft pears, as they can get mushy in the salad.
What cheese is best for this salad?
The cheese in this recipe is gorgonzola. Gorgonzola is a veined blue cheese, originally from Italy, made from unskimmed cow's milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a "bite". It pairs perfectly with the sweet pears.
You can find it in a soft, creamy version or a firmer version. I like both versions for this salad.
You can also substituted with blue cheese or stilton. Gorgonzola often has a more mild flavor than blue cheese, and provides a great option if you do not prefer strong cheeses.
If you are looking for a different cheese altogether, I recommend- goat cheese or feta. Their acidity is similar and will complement the flavors of the salad well.
What greens will work in this salad?
I love to use a traditional Italian mix. You can find this salad in pre made bags with the perfect balance of sweet, crunchy romaine and crisp, red cabbage that adds a delectable texture and taste to this salad.
Try any salad mix you want. You can also add arugula or spinach. I don’t prefer to use romaine or iceberg lettuce because it’s too crunchy and the water content is too high. You will have better results with thin, leafy greens.
You will love this super easy homemade vinaigrette that you can use for different salad recipes as well. It is sweet, tangy, fresh, and just the right balance of flavors you desire for your tender salad greens.
You simple throw all the ingredients in a jar and shake, shake, shake!
Everyone loves this salad. It’s super easy to make. You can toss it up in just a few minutes, so it’s fresh right when you’re ready to serve it.
A beautiful and delicious salad for entertaining!
Best tips for serving salad:
- Make the dressing up to 2 days ahead of time. Store the dressing in the fridge and let it come to room temperature an hour before serving. Shake the jar and presto! You are ready to dress your salad.
- Serve the salad in a flat and wide serving platter (as pictured). Ditch the deep salad bowl and serve your salad on a platter for a pretty presentation. This will also help with serving and evenly topping the salad with all the add-in ingredients.
- Dress the salad 10 minutes before serving and DO NOT TOSS. When you serve the salad in a shallow and wide serving platter you don't need to toss the salad. No more digging for all the yummy toppings at the bottom of the bowl! Simply distribute the dressing evenly over the top and the it will seep down to coat all the toppings and salad underneath. Voila!
As guests serve themselves the salad will stay pretty with the ingredients on top.
Everyone will get a little bit of all the delicious toppings as the get their portions and the salad will be perfectly dressed with the vinaigrette.
This salad goes well with Perfect Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, or Classic Italian Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce. Serve with a side of homemade bread, or focaccia, and a Simple Italian Apple Cake (one bowl) for dessert!
This salad also makes a great side to go with homemade pizza!
From my Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
Made with Amore, Elena
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Orange Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- ½ cup good quality olive oil
- ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice + zest of one orange
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic cut in quarters
- 2 bags (510 g) Italian lettuce mix or spring greens
- 2 medium pears, cored and diced
- 5 tablespoons of crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
- 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Citrus and Honey Vinaigrette DRESSING
- Place all ingredients in a Mason jar and shake vigorously. The dressing can stay at room temperature for up to two hours and up to one week in the refrigerator.
- In a large salad bowl or plater add the mixed salad. Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the salad. Do not toss.
- Add all of the prepared dressing on evenly on top of the salad 10 minute before serving. Do not toss or all the ingredients will fall to the bottom. The dressing will eventually coat the bottom of the salad as it sinks. The salad will toss naturally as it is served. Mangia!
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: N/A
- Category: Savory
- Method: Italian
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: salad, side dish, walnuts, citrus dressing, Italian salad, salad recipe, gorgonzola cheese