Honey Roasted Pear Salad

February 15, 2010


When I find myself in a bookstore – alone – I head straight for the cookbook section.  I pull down a few that pique my interest and get lost in the possibility of cooking wonderful things.  Sometimes, the book is so enticing that I have to buy it.  But because my collection is pretty large, a book has to be pretty special – and useful – for me to walk out of the store with it.

Several years ago, I was paging through a book and I found a recipe that sounded incredible.  Honey Roasted Pear Salad.  I loved everything about it and thought for a moment about buying the book.  I don’t for the life of me remember the title or the author but I do remember that there was a lot of meat in those pages and I realized that the salad was probably the only recipe I would use.  So what did I do?  I made a few quick notes on a piece of paper and left the book in the store.

Tell me I am not the only person who has done this.  I love books.  I love authors.  I love cookbooks.  I love cookbook authors.  I don’t want to take anything away from anyone.  I just couldn’t justify paying $35 for one recipe.

I do believe in karma and karma paid me back.  After making the recipe a few times (and loving it), I lost the slip of paper with my notes.  I went digging through my kitchen drawers yesterday trying to find it and it is gone.  So I re-created it.  I hadn’t made it in over a year (why, I don’t know) so what I came up with is really my own creation.  The one (ingenious) idea I kept is using the marinade for the pears as the dressing.

If you love pears in salad, I highly recommend you give this a try.  How often do we want to use pears and they are as hard as rocks?  In this version, because the pears are roasted, you will still get a delicious result with semi-ripe fruit.  This is a fairly sweet salad so you will want a nice salty cheese to balance it.  I used a Gorgonzola but Parmesan would be delicious here as well.   I cut the pears into 1 inch pieces but if you want a fancier presentation, you can just thinly slice them and roast them that way.

One Year Ago: Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes and Vegetarian Caesar Salad

Honey Roasted Pear Salad

Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

2 ripe (ideally) pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tbsp. white wine
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup walnuts, toasted and very coarsely chopped
3 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
½ cup dried cranberries
5 oz. salad greens

Preheat the oven to 425°F with the rack in the middle position.

In a large bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, white wine, sherry vinegar, and honey.  Sprinkle in a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and whisk again.  Taste for balance of flavor.  Add the pears and toss well to coat.  Let them sit for a few minutes then, using a spoon, transfer the pears to a baking sheet.  You will want to leave most of the liquid in the bowl.

Bake the pears for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and toss well.  Put the sheet back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the pears are lightly caramelized but not burned.  Remove and set aside.  Whisk the teaspoon of mustard into the pear marinade and again, taste for balance of flavor.  This will be your dressing.

Place the greens in a bowl and add the pears, walnuts, cranberries, and cheese.  Toss carefully with the dressing.


  1. yum, can’t wait to make this!

    Comment by mara — February 15, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  2. I have so done that before! Don’t laugh, but I’ve even copied down ideas from frozen entrees at the grocery store. The names and ingredients of some sound pretty good, but just need a homemade touch with fresh ingredients to taste good too.

    This salad looks excellent!

    Comment by Katie @ goodLife {eats} — February 15, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

  3. i completly agree with your thoughts on cookbook purchasing. I was at a bookstore last week and took about 25 pictures on my phone of recipe ideas that I could recreate without buying the pricey book :) no shame. This look great, Dana ~

    Comment by Sara — February 15, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

  4. Oh boy, that looks good. I haven’t had a salad with pears for ages, but you are right, they go beautifully with blue cheese. I think you were only sensible copying the recipe. I quite often order cookbooks from my library to try out and copy the recipes I want. Especially the ones, with lots of meat. I like to think I am promoting the books, if I blog about them. If it is a book I love, then I have to buy it.

    Comment by Jacqueline — February 15, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

  5. I too am guilty of writing a recipe down in a bookstore. Never hurt anyone! lol

    Comment by Leslie — February 15, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

  6. I make a similar salad, maybe I will make it tonight. I love fruit in my salads. Yours is gorgeous!

    Comment by Maria — February 15, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

  7. I think I can speak for all of us in saying thanks for borrowing this idea ;) lovely!

    Comment by The Ordinary Vegetarian — February 16, 2010 @ 1:05 am

  8. Roasted pears sound really good right now — especially with toasted walnuts and cheese. Yum.

    Comment by Beatrice — February 16, 2010 @ 3:00 am

  9. I did it too. And often I will borrow books from the library for recipes. I have so much cookbooks that I don’t justify buying too many more unless I love every recipes in that cookbook. Thanks for sharing your own creation.

    Comment by Hélène — February 16, 2010 @ 5:58 am

  10. I go weak at the knees for any combination of pears, Gorgonzola and walnuts… I love the idea of honeyed, sherried pears. Thanks for another mouthwatering recipe.

    Comment by Koek! — February 16, 2010 @ 10:07 am

  11. This is a perfect winter salad! This mix of ingredients is a lovely thing. Roasting the pears sounds delicious too.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — February 16, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  12. Yup I’ve totally done that. You never know where inspiration will strike! This looks terrific. Love pears in salad.

    Comment by fresh365 — February 16, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  13. You are not the only one who has done that! I’m also a big fan of taking library books to the office and photocopying the recipes I want to keep. I consider copyright infringement a form of flattery.

    Comment by Hilary — February 16, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

  14. I’ve done exactly what you describe… :)

    I love pears in salads, bookmarking this recipe!

    Comment by Natalie (The Sweets Life) — February 16, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  15. oh yes…do i ever love pears in my salads!! this one, i think, i could easily enjoy every night.

    Comment by my spatula — February 16, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

  16. holy smokes this sounds awesome! i’ll definitely be giving it a try!

    Comment by kelly — February 18, 2010 @ 4:01 am

  17. Ooo I know I’d love this with the roasted pears, Dijon, walnuts and cranberries. I think I’d have to use Parmesan cheese though instead of Gorgonzola.

    Comment by Ashley — February 26, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

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