This Pear and Blue Cheese Salad is fresh and light and comes with a retro origin story. This well-balanced salad features fresh pears with toasted slivered almonds, lettuce, and crumbled blue cheese topped with a light blue cheese dressing for a nice combination of sweet and savory flavors.
Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with new recipes to share. It’s something like having writer’s block. Except with pots and pans. A cooking block? So whenever that happens, I always try to think back to recipes that I loved as a child; those dishes that were special favorites and still make me smile today.
This recipe was inspired by one of those childhood favorites. A luscious pear salad.
I remember my mother saying she learned the original recipe in her high school Home Economics class. It was one of my favorite things that she put on the table during my childhood years.
The salad consisted of a halved pear topped with a little dollop of mayonnaise and plenty of grated cheddar cheese. Yum. So simple and so delicious. The contrast of the sweet pear with the smooth, creamy mayonnaise and the tangy cheddar cheese was just an unbeatable combination. I still serve that salad even after all these years and I never tire of it.
So I thought I’d do a little update on it. Not to make improvements really, just to put a different spin on it. That’s how this Pear and Blue Cheese Salad came to be. I used sliced, fresh pears topped with a lightened blue cheese dressing and toasted almonds for a little crunchy texture. And it is just divine.
One bite of this salad and I’m sure you’ll agree!
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Salad
- It’s delicious! The combination of sweet ripe pears with tangy blue cheese and crunchy almonds is a match made in heaven.
- It’s easy! It takes just a few minutes to make and even less if you skip toasting the almonds.
- It’s versatile. Customize the ingredients to suit you and your family. Swap out the fruit, use a different kind of cheese, or change the dressing. Turn it into your very own creation!
🍳 Tools You’ll Use
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🛒 Ingredient Notes
- Pears – There are many varieties of pears available year round including Anjou (green and red), Bartlett (green and red), and Bosc. My favorite are Bartlett. They’re juicy, sweet, and crisp.
- Almonds – Slivered almonds are found in your grocery store along with the other nuts and baking supplies. Chopped or sliced almonds will work just as well. I prefer to toast the nuts to bring out the flavor, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
- Lettuce – I typically use leaf lettuce for this salad. Any variety works fine.
- Blue cheese – Choosing a blue cheese is a bit like choosing wine. There is a wide range of flavors from mild to pungent. I tend to use a milder cheese so that it doesn’t overwhelm the other more delicate flavors in the salad.
- Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream – The dressing is made with a combination of Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream to keep the fat content low while still providing maximum flavor. However, you can use regular yogurt and sour cream if you prefer.
🔪 How to Make Pear Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Toast the Almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch carefully since they will burn easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
👉 PRO TIP: An alternative method for toasting the nuts is to cook them in a medium skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
Make the Dressing
Combine the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, blue cheese, salt, and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Stir together until well mixed. Stir in a little milk or cream until the mixture is the consistency you like for dressing. Set it aside.
Assemble the Salad
Halve the pears, remove the core, and slice crosswise.
Transfer each sliced pear to a lettuce-lined salad plate. Drizzle with dressing and top with toasted almonds. Add additional blue cheese crumbles if desired.
🔀 Recipe Variations
- Add some protein: Make this into a main dish salad by adding a protein like grilled chicken.
- Change the greens: Substitute a spring mix for the leaf lettuce. Or try butter lettuce, baby arugula, spinach, or romaine. A little bit of radicchio adds a nice peppery note.
- Swap out the fruit: While pears are the star of the recipe, you could easily use apples, peaches, or plums for a different twist. Select fruits that are in season and perfectly ripe for the best flavor. Raisins and dried cranberries are a nice addition to the fresh fruit in this recipe.
- Try a different cheese: Substitute the blue cheese with feta, goat cheese, or even shredded Parmesan.
- Use different nuts: Walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, and hazelnuts are all good choices.
- Change the dressing: Not a blue cheese fan? No problem! This salad is also delicious with almost any homemade salad dressing such as honey mustard, lemon vinaigrette, or balsamic vinaigrette.
🍽️ How to Serve
- As a side dish: This salad is a lovely side dish for grilled chicken or fish.
- For a light lunch: Add some crispy crackers on the side.
- Make it a meal: To serve as a meal, add a sliced grilled chicken breast or grilled shrimp skewer. For a vegetarian option, consider quinoa or farro for added protein. Warm bread with butter goes nicely on the side.
⏲️ Make it Ahead
To make it ahead, prepare all the individual components in advance and store them in the refrigerator. Assemble the salad when ready to serve. Be sure to toss the pear slices in lemon juice to prevent browning.
❓ Questions About Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Use canned pears if you like, but be sure to drain them very well. Be aware that they won’t be crisp like fresh pears are.
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Be sure to store the dressing and salad separately to prevent the lettuce from wilting.
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
I’d LOVE to know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked it!
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Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
- 4 fresh pears core removed, sliced
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
For the dressing:
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup low-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbled
- 4 tablespoons milk or cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toast the Almonds:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Check after about 6 minutes and watch closely to prevent burning.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Make the Dressing
- Combine the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, blue cheese, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Stir until well combined. Add enough milk or cream to create the consistency of dressing you prefer. Set aside.
Assemble the Salad:
- For each serving, place a sliced pear atop a lettuce-lined salad plate. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and additional crumbled blue cheese.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on April 10, 2012. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.