Pear, Date & Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese

Goodness goodness, Lord. I am a particular type of insane if doing the same thing over and expecting different outcomes is the definition of insanity. I mean, I reasoned that maybe I could relocate and organize the contents of a whole house in a single day. My second bedroom still appears as though a picture studio burst inside three weeks later.

I had hoped to leave town for the weekend and return to work immediately, but yesterday didn’t go as planned. For the first time, the fire alarms went off in my new apartment complex, and I’m still reeling from the shock. I agree that fire alarms should be audible, but put away the defibrillator—these things may revive a corpse. The very thought of that makes my ears hurt.

To finish the cookbook edits last week, I also considered going without sleep for a night. I was successful in doing so, but I needed to catch up yesterday night, so I slept for a total of 14 hours. You suggest that I give myself extra time for healing and mitigating circumstances. Yes, I am aware of it. (By the way, you only have one day left to vote on the cover if you haven’t already!)

I’m also attempting to make up for all the fresh, nutritious food I neglected to consume while my kitchen was in disarray. I scored some extra points for this green salad. It comes from Jennifer Farley of Savory Simple’s brand-new guidebook, The Gourmet Kitchen, which features a selection of gourmet recipes made with seasonal ingredients.

You know me; I had to make changes to this recipe. Bacon-wrapped, blue cheese-stuffed dates, which I adored before I swore up bacon, served as the inspiration for Jennifer’s original recipe. Even without the two pieces of crisp, freshly fried bacon, I still really liked it. I also adjusted the quantities of blue cheese and walnuts (a little more walnuts, a little less cheese).

This salad is a tasty substitute for my preferred green salad. It would be a wonderful accent to your dinner table during the holidays or generally. It’s simple to overlook the greens with all the fatty meals and sweets being shared during the holidays.

Also read: Mexican(ish) Kale & Quinoa Salad



  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt
  • Several twists of freshly ground black pepper


  • ⅓ cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 5 to 6 ounces red leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces (about 5 to 6 cups), or spring mix
  • 7 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced thin
  • 2 Bosc* or Bartlett pears, unpeeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
  • ⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese (Jennifer used Roquefort; I used a more generic blue cheese option from Whole Foods but I think Gorgonzola would work well, too)


  1. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste, and adjust if necessary—I added some more mustard and another pinch of salt.
  2. To make the salad: First, toast the walnuts in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, stirring often, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium serving bowl, combine the greens, dates, pears and toasted walnuts. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle in some dressing (you won’t need all of it) and toss until the greens are lightly coated, adding more if necessary. Serve in individual bowls with blue cheese sprinkled on top.