In the brisk fall months I naturally gravitate to warmer dishes (baked squashes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes) however, I still like to incorporate light, refreshing tastes of autumn, especially on the days with plenty of warm sunshine. This pear, walnut and gorgonzola cheese salad is a very popular seasonal salad and is so, so de-lici-ous!
It’s simple, elegant and definitely worth trying.
Walnuts, which are real brain food, are an excellent way to add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to this salad.
Organic greens (baby greens, spinach, romaine etc. or a mix of them; about 8 cups)
2 ripe pears, sliced
½ cup walnuts
½ cup cranberries
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp pure maple syrup
Himalayan sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1. Combine all dressing ingredients in glass jar and shake well. Set aside.
2. Wash and dry greens. Toss with ½ of dressing prior to serving. Put in 4 salad bowls.
3. Assemble salad: lay bed of greens, top with equal portions sliced pears and sprinkle with walnuts, cranberries and gorgonzola. Drizzle remaining dressing over pears.
Note: You can replace walnuts with pecans, slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds. If you are not a fan of blue cheese (this one is pretty mild), then use a soft cheese of your liking.
Walnuts are considered to be the oldest tree food known to man. The tree is known for its beauty. The walnut kernel consists of two bumpy lobes that look much like abstract butterflies or the half like a brain. The lobes are off white in color with a thin, light brown covering and are enclosed by a round or oblong hard shell.
Walnuts are extremely nutrient-dense. They are a wonderful source of antioxidants, vitamin E, C, A and B’s, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and monounsaturated fats. It also is one of the nuts that contain Omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (main plant source of the latter). They are a rich source of protein and dietary fiber. They have no dietary cholesterol.
Walnuts are considered food for the brain. When shelled walnuts look remarkably like the human cerebral cortex. The fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals nourish the nervous system.
Walnuts should be stored in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar or freezer as they are extremely perishable. You can tell if they are good by smelling them…..If they smell like paint, they have gone rancid and should be thrown away. They will also taste bitter at this point. As with almonds, soaking walnuts improves their nutrition and digestibility.
Walnuts are delicious with grains, stuffings, salads, stir-fries, in baking or on their own!