Recipe: Pear, Walnut & Gorgonzola Salad

Salad Recipes, Side Dish Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

By: Deborah Murphy, MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

This pretty pear, walnut, and gorgonzola salad looks impressive but it is incredibly simple to throw together. It is perfect for a healthy side dish for a weeknight meal of roasted salmon and baked sweet potato. 

This pear, walnut & gorgonzola salad recipe is the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and salty. We paired fresh pears with arugula, fennel, black berries, and fennel. YUM! Depending on the season, you can easily swap some of the ingredients to fit what you have on hand. 


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    Table of contents

    Why You’ll Love this Recipe

    • Simple to Make: this flavorful pear salad recipe comes together quickly; the homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette mixes up in less than 5 minutes and is delicious on a variety of salads and other dishes. 
    • Easily Customizable: in this post, we’ll share some simple ingredient swaps so you can easily customize this salad recipe to your liking. 
    • Diet and Allergen Friendly: this gorgonzola and pear salad is vegetarian and gluten free as written. Make it vegan and dairy free by using a vegan feta cheese instead of the gorgonzola. You can also easily make it nut free by leaving off the walnuts.

    Ingredients You’ll Need

    • Arugula: the peppery flavor of arugula pairs well with the sweetness of the pears and blackberries in this salad. If you don’t like baby arugula, we suggest using finely chopped and massaged baby kale, little gem lettuce, or baby spinach. 
    • Pears: sweet pears are a delicious addition to this salad with peppery arugula. You’ll want to use pears that retain their shape well even when they are ripe such as: Bosc pears, Anjou, or Concorde pears. 
    • Fennel: we love the subtle licorice flavor of fresh fennel and it also adds a delicious crunch to this salad. If you don’t like fennel, you can leave it out or substitute with some thinly sliced celery or red onion.
    • Walnuts: these heart healthy nuts add tons of lovely crunch to this simple salad. Instead of walnuts, you could also make this salad with pistachios or pecans. If you want to add a little more sweetness, you could use candied pecans instead. 
    • Gorgonzola cheese: the tangy, earthy flavor of a creamy gorgonzola (which is a type of blue cheese) is a great accompaniment to the juicy pear and blackberries. Blue cheese, goat cheese, or feta cheese are good options for swapping out the gorgonzola.  
    • Blackberries: these delicious berries add a pretty pop of color to this salad. If you can’t get your hands on blackberries, you can use pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries in this salad. 
    • Balsamic Vinaigrette: you are going to love the easy healthy balsamic vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey (or maple syrup), and olive oil included in this recipe. Season with a little sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.


    • Add Protein: both cooked chicken or salmon would be a delicious addition to this healthy pear salad so that it can be served as a main dish.
    • Add Quinoa: add some plant-based protein by adding about ¾ cup cooked quinoa to this delicious salad and make it into a light lunch. (Allow quinoa to cool before adding to the salad.)

    How to Make this Salad

    • Prep the salad ingredients: this salad comes together really quickly since you only need to chop the walnuts and slice up the fennel and pears. Wash your arugula if needed. (We love this salad spinner!) Add all of your salad ingredients to a large salad bowl and set aside while you make the vinaigrette.
    • Make the dressing: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to combine. You can also whisk everything together in a small bowl. 
    • Toss and serve: Add the salad dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Serve! (These gorgeous salad bowls would be perfect.)

    Best Dressing for Pear Salad

    We think the best dressing for pear salad is our healthy balsamic vinaigrette recipe which is just 4 ingredients plus salt and pepper. The sweetness of balsamic vinegar varies by brand, so you may want to slightly adjust the honey in the recipe below. In addition to dressing salad, you can also use this vinaigrette as a marinade for chicken or fish. 

    salad dressing being poured onto a pear arugula salad.

    What Nuts go Well with Pears?

    Pears can be paired with a few different nuts for salads. We used walnuts with the pear in this salad, but pistachios, pecans, and almonds also complement pears well. Roast your nuts in the oven before tossing in this salad to bring out even more flavor. 

    What to Serve with Pear Arugula Salad

    This arugula pear salad is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of proteins from chicken to salmon to steak. We love serving this pear gorgonzola salad with our grilled turkey, slow cooker BBQ pork sandwiches, grilled kabobs (3 ways!), or spicy grilled pork tenderloin. If you are looking for a great side for a holiday meal, this salad is fancy enough to serve on Thanksgiving or a special occasion.

    For even more salad recipes, be sure to check out our healthy salad recipe archives.

    Total Time: 15 minutes


    • For the Salad
    • 5 ounces baby arugula
    • 2 small pears
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
    • 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese
    • 1/3 cup blackberries
    • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    • For the Dressing
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)
    • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    • Dash of sea salt & ground black pepper


    1. Add dressing ingredients to a jar and shake well to combine.
    2. In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over top and then toss to coat everything evenly in the dressing. Serve!

    Nutrition Information Per Serving

    Calories: 252

    Protein: 5 gram(s)

    Fat: 23 gram(s)

    Carbohydrates: 9 gram(s)

    Fiber: 2 gram(s)

    Sugar: 6 gram(s)

    *Balsamic vinaigrette can be prepped 3-4 days in advance and stored in the fridge in a jar or airtight container until ready to use.

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    1 Comment

    on Reply

    Really excited to try this recipe! How many people does it serve?

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