Walnut Pear Salad–Our Thanksgiving Tradition

This has been our Thanksgiving Salad for many, many years. It was shared with us by a dear friend who is a master chef. Because it is a little more complex, we have featured it at more special occasions--where it has made a lasting impression on many dear friends and dinner guests.

Walnut Pear Salad

We love the candied walnuts and bleu cheese in this recipe!


  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 box spinach
  • 1/2 box mesculin greens
  • 1/2 red onion (quartered and thinly sliced)
  • 2 pears (thinly sliced (hold in lemon water))
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups candied walnuts ((see recipe below))
  • crumbled bleu cheese

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/2 cup olive oil (infuse with garlic)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar ((can also use red wine vinegar))
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/5 Tbsp pepper

Spiced Candied Walnuts/Pecans

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar ((we've also used honey))
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar ((we've also used coconut sugar))
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract

For Candied Walnuts/Pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. In a bowl mix together the sugar, spices, and zest.

  3. Bring a saucepan of water to boil and add orange extract and nuts.

  4. Blanch for 3 minutes, then drain well and immediately roll the nuts in the sugar mixture until thoroughly coated. The sugar will melt slightly. If you used honey, it will look different.

  5. Transfer nuts to a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 8-10 mins. Watch carefully--sugar can burn easily.

  6. Let cool completely before serving.

For Salad

  1. Toss salad ingredients together, except for pears.

  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together.

  3. Just before serving, add pears and toss with dressing.

bleu cheese, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, mesculin greens, pears

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