Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Walnuts

Fresh pears, pomegranates & gorgonzola all tossed in a sweet maple-balsamic vinaigrette & topped with candied walnuts! This Pear & Gorgonzola Salad is a festive side dish that’s perfect for the holidays!

A large white serving bowl filled with pear and gorgonzola salad with candied walnuts sprinkled over the top

Pear & Gorgonzola – a classic Fall salad recipe! The first time I tried this type of salad I was shocked with how much I liked it. (I’m not usually a fan of gorgonzola cheese, but it just works in this salad!) And this one has it all – fresh crisp pears, sweet pomegranates, sharpness from the gorgonzola and your candied walnuts give it that perfect crunchy bite! It’s bold flavors and textures are perfectly combined once tossed in a simple homemade maple-balsamic vinaigrette!

Easy, delicious and absolutely stunning to look at too! This pear salad would be such a great side dish to serve for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner or any holiday party you have coming up this year!

Ingredients used to make a pear and gorgonzola salad with maple-balsamic vinaigrette

Ingredients for Pear & Gorgonzola Salad

  • Kale or Mixed greens: I used kale as the base for my salad (I just love how kale holds up well to the other ingredients.) But mixed greens would be fantastic with it too!
  • Pears: Bartlett or Anjou pears are the best for salads! Use pears that are ripe but still slightly firm for the best results. (I’ll usually buy my pears a few days before planning to eat them and leave them on the counter to ripen faster.)
  • Pomegranate seeds: Use fresh pomegranate seeds for the best results!
  • Gorgonzola: A type of blue cheese that’s much more mild in flavor than other blue cheese varieties. I’d suggest using a block of gorgonzola and crumbling it yourself. (Most store-bought cheese crumbles aren’t quite as flavorful as block cheese.)
  • Candied walnuts: Can be store-bought or homemade. (I love the sweetness and crunch they add to this salad!)
  • Maple-balsamic vinaigrette: You’ll only need 5 ingredients to make this dressing! It’s packed with flavor and ties your salad ingredients together perfectly!
A large mixing bowl filled with massaged kale, diced pears, pomegranate seeds and crumbled gorgonzola
A small white bowl filled with maple-balsamic vinaigrette

How to Make Pear and Gorgonzola Sala

1. Massage your kale (if using). Chop your kale leaves into bite size pieces & drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the leaves. (Or spray them avocado oil spray.) Then use your hands to massage the kale for about 5 minutes or until the leaves begin to wilt and shrink in size.

2. Make your dressing. Whisk you dressing ingredients together until smooth then place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. Core and slice (or dice) your pears, crumble your gorgonzola and gather your pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts.

4. Toss! Add your massaged kale or mixed greens to a large bowl. Then add your pears, pomegranates seeds & gorgonzola and toss with your desired amount of dressing.

5. Serve. Sprinkle your candied walnuts over the top and serve immediately!

Interested in homemade candied nuts? Try my stovetop candied pecan recipe and replace them with walnuts!

A close up photo of pear and gorgonzola salad freshly tossed in a maple-balsamic vinaigrette

Substitutions

Gorgonzola (or any type of blue cheese) can be a very acquired taste. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this salad! Here are a few suggestions that you can use instead. (Plus some for the other ingredients in case you can’t find them too.😊)

  • Gorgonzola: Try using feta or goat cheese!
  • Pomegranate seeds: Dried cranberries are the best substitute!
  • Candied walnuts: Any type of candied nut works for this salad!
  • Kale: Mixed greens are a great replacement! (And they don’t require any massaging time!😉)
A side view of a pear and gorgonzola salad surrounded by gorgonzola crumbles and a small bowl of candied walnuts

FAQ’s

  • I’m using kale for my salad. Why do I have to massage it? Massaging your kale helps break down it’s fibrous leaves making them softer and much easier to eat. It also brings out the kale’s mild flavor and turns them a bright green color that looks so festive in salads!
  • What’s the best type of pear to use for this salad? I personally love using Bartlett pears but Anjou pears would be fantastic too!
  • Do I peel the skin off my pears for this salad? It’s not needed. The skin on pears is soft enough to eat so it’s more of a personally preference. (Plus leaving the skin on adds extra nutrients!)

Why you’ll love this pear gorgonzola salad recipe!

  • A festive Thanksgiving side dish! The jewel tone colors in the salad are definitely eye catching! This side salad will look stunning sitting next to your Thanksgiving turkey this year!
  • Easy to customize! Switch out the kale for mixed greens or replace the gorgonzola with a different cheese! There’s so many ways you can make this salad your own!

More salad recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Walnuts

Fresh pears, pomegranates & gorgonzola all tossed in a sweet maple-balsamic vinaigrette & topped with candied walnuts! This pear & gorgonzola salad is a festive side dish that's perfect for the holidays!
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: candied walnuts, pear gorgonzola salad, salad recipes, side dish
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the maple-balsamic vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 bunches of kale, leaves cut off the stem & chopped (or mixed greens)
  • 2 pears, cored & diced (or sliced)
  • ⅓ – ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • cup gorgonzola, crumbled
  • ¼ cup candied walnuts

Instructions

To make the maple-balsamic vinaigrette:

  • Whisk all your vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and set aside while you prepare your salad.

To make the salad:

  • If using kale: Place your kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top (or spray them with oil spray.) Then use your hands to massage the kale for 5 minutes or until the leaves soften and shrink in size.
  • Next add the kale (or mixed greens), pears, pomegranate seeds and gorgonzola to the bowl and toss with your desired amount of dressing.
  • Serve immediately with candied walnuts sprinkled over the top.

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