This Pear & Blue Cheese Salad with Glazed Honey Walnuts is a delicious side salad to any meal, and perfect for the holidays! It’s loaded with that sweet and savory fruit-nut-cheese combination, with sharp blue cheese balancing tart pomegranate seeds, sweet pear slices and amazing honey glazed walnuts!
What’s to love about this salad?
- Candied Walnuts – Honey Glazed, Need I Say More!? – In less than 3 minutes walnuts go from raw to toasty, honey coated perfection! They are incredibly delicious, a bite of sweetness and a serious wow factor to this simple salad!
- It’s fast and easy! – It looks beautiful, but this is such an easy salad! Not much for chopping or prep work, just a quick saute of the walnuts, shake the dressing together in a jar, and build your salad right on a serving platter. A few simple ingredients and ready in under 15 minutes!
- The portion is easily adjustable and perfect for holiday parties! – I used one 4 oz box of pre washed salad greens to serve about 4 to 6 people. But since the ingredient amounts don’t really need to be exact, it’s easy to adjust this amount for any number of people. Toss the ingredients in a small bowl for 2 on a weeknight, or make a large platter to bring to a holiday party!
- If you love this recipe, be sure to check out my simple holiday appetizers, Cranberry Honey Baked Brie and my easy Goat Cheese Dip with Raisins and Pine Nuts!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Walnuts – This Pear Blue Cheese Salad is made extra special by giving the walnuts a little extra attention! Toasted to bring out their nutty oils and then tossed with honey, salt and pepper, they are that perfect combination of salty and sweet! The nuts toast in just 2 minutes so don’t walk away, they can burn fast! Use whole raw walnuts or pecans for this recipe. If you are using nuts that are already roasted and salted, just warm them in a pan for 30 seconds and toss in the honey to coat them.
- Honey – Honey is the star of this recipe, giving those nuts a sweet glaze making each bite so delicious! You could use maple syrup or a spoonful of brown sugar if you don’t have honey.
- Salad Greens – Use any type of lettuce you like! I used one 4 oz box of pre-washed greens to serve 4 to 6 people.
- Blue Cheese – A little tub of crumbled blue cheese or gorganzola is great for this recipe, or go fancy and pick a blue cheese from the cheese counter. While blue cheese gives a nice sharp contrast to the sweet elements of the salad, feta or Parmesan cheese could be substituted.
- Pomegranate Seeds – Seasonal in the winter months, pomegranate seeds give a bright burst of holiday color! You can however, make this salad year round. If pomegranates aren’t available, try using golden raisins, dried sliced apricots or cranberries, or a handful of fresh blueberries or blackberries.
- Pears – Set your pear on the counter for a day or two before using to let it ripen. It’s best to slice your pear just before serving the salad to keep it from browning. Sliced apple would be a fine substitute.
- Quick Homemade Dressing – Made and shaken in a jar, homemade salad dressing just takes a few minutes to put together. Extra keeps for weeks in the fridge and is great to pull out for any salad! Just a quick mix of dijon mustard, honey (or maple syrup), salt, pepper, white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar or lemon juice could be subbed) and olive oil.
Step 1 – Start by making the walnuts. Add them to a dry pan over medium high and allow them to toast, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Set a timer and don’t walk away, nuts can burn fast! Turn the heat off and add the honey, salt and pepper and toss and stir them in the hot pan. The honey will sizzle and liquify so toss and stir to coat the nuts completely. Set aside to cool slightly.
Step 2 – Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a small jar with a lid and shake it well to combine. This can be done in advance, a jar of salad dressing will keep for weeks in the fridge.
Step 3 – Assemble your salad on a large platter with the greens, blue cheese, pomegranate seeds and sliced pears. Slice the pears just before serving so they don’t brown. Top it with the walnuts and dressing. Salad can be tossed with tongs before serving.
What to Serve with this Salad
This simple fruit-nut-cheese salad combination is great for so many occasions! Beautiful enough for special holidays and gatherings, but quick and easy enough for and weeknight!
- Weeknight Side Dish – Serve it as a simple side dish for any weeknight meal! Pairs great with Creamy Farfalle Pasta, Easy French Dip Sandwiches or my Whole Roasted Chicken.
- Holidays and Special Occasions – Those pomegranates and honey glazed walnuts make this salad fancy enough for the holidays! Perfect served alongside the turkey at Thanksgiving, or Roasted Salmon, Oven-Braised Beef Roast, Easter ham or New Year’s Eve steaks!
- Brunch – This salad goes perfectly with my Sausage and Spinach Quiche and a Platter of Fruit. Serve it for holiday mornings, baby showers or Mother’s Day brunch!
- Don’t walk away when toasting the walnuts! – The glazed honey walnuts only take 2 minutes to toast so don’t walk away from the hot pan, nuts can burn very quickly! When they begin to toast, you’ll be able to smell them. Turn the heat off and add the honey, salt and pepper. The honey will liquify and glaze the nuts as you toss them in the hot pan. The whole process takes about 3 minutes and is so deliciously worth the effort!
- Slice pears just before serving so they don’t brown. – If you are taking this salad to a party or making it up earlier in the day, wait to slice the pear.
- You won’t need all the dressing for this salad – Your extra homemade salad dressing in the jar keeps in the fridge for up to a month or more. Just set it on the counter a half hour or so before adding to any salad to let the oil come to room temperature. Shake well!
Can I Make This Salad Ahead of Time or Bring it to a Party?
Yes! The salad dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for weeks. You can also assemble the salad with the greens, blue cheese and pomegranate seeds the day of and keep it covered in the fridge, but wait to slice the pears and add the dressing until just before serving. The walnuts can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container on the counter. Careful, the honey walnuts are delicious just eaten alone as a snack, you probably can’t eat just one!
Are walnuts gluten-free?
Yes! Raw walnuts are gluten-free making this salad a completely gluten-free option!
Can I make this salad vegan?
Yes! Just substitute a vegan cheese or omit the blue cheese. Also use maple syrup in place of the honey and this salad is super healthy and a great vegan option.
More Favorite Salad Recipes!
- Maple Butternut Fall Harvest Salad
- Chopped Dinner Salad with Roasted Potatoes
- Easy Vinaigrette in a Jar
- Broccoli Salad
Did You Make This Recipe?
I’d love to hear what you think! Hit the share buttons and leave a star rating and a comment below, or tag me in a pic @sungrown_kitchen!
Pear & Blue Cheese Salad with Honey Glazed Walnuts
For the Salad
- 1 cup walnuts (whole, raw)
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 grinds fresh black pepper
- 4 oz salad greens, spinach, or spring mix
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (or feta)
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 pear (or apple) sliced last to keep from browning
For the Dressing
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- Toast walnuts in a dry pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes (set a timer!), stirring frequently. Don't walk away, nuts burn quickly! Turn heat off and toss with honey, salt and pepper in the hot pan. The honey will sizzle and liquify so toss and stir to coat the nuts completely. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Add all ingredients for the dressing to a jar with a lid and shake well to combine.
- Assemble your salad on a large platter with the greens, blue cheese, pomegranate seeds and sliced pears. Top it with the walnuts and dressing. Salad can be tossed with tongs before serving.
- Don’t burn the nuts! Toast raw nuts for just 2 minutes before adding the honey.
- If you are using nuts that are already roasted and salted, just warm them for 30 seconds in a pan and then add the honey. The honey needs the warmth of the pan to liquify and glaze and adhere to the nuts.
- Slice the pears just before serving so they don’t brown.
- Ingredient amounts don’t need to be exact and can be adjusted up or down to serve any amount of people.
- Dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge, keeps for up to a month.