Arugula Pear Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Gorgonzola

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Every year during the holidays I am either hosting or I am going to a family member’s house. Inevitably, we have a conversation about what I can contribute for the dinner. I always get stuck with salad.

Obviously because of my food and nutrition background, most people assume I will (and will want to) contribute the healthier item on the menu. But truth be told, I am not a huge fan of salad in the winter. Yes, I did give you the raw Brussel sprout recipe last week, but that doesn’t seem much like salad to me, more like a lighter side dish.

My tendency is to eat warm, slower cooked foods right now. Yet, when I am called on for salad I always ultimately appreciate it. Here is one of my go to’s: I adore arugula because of its spicy/bitter qualities (it also happens to be a nutrient dense green), love pears in winter too. Adding a bit of strong cheese like gorgonzola means you don’t need a lot. A little goes a long way.

Ultimately, my salads always get a huge round of applause, and I am asked to make them every holiday season. The irony is this salad is so simple yet impressive. If you are on salad duty these holidays, try it. It’s light, not filling and will win first place in the side dish/salad awards.

Arugula Pear Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 bartlett pears, halved, cored and cut into slices
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons walnut oil (if you cannot find walnut oil, simply use more olive oil)
salt and ground black pepper
6-8 large handfuls baby arugula
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese , crumbled
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped coarse

Directions

1. Toss pears with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice in medium bowl and set aside.

2. In small bowl, slowly whisk oils into 2 remaining tablespoons lemon juice to make vinaigrette; season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Place a portion of dressed greens on each plate. Arrange pears over greens, sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Serve immediately.

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