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Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette

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A plate of pear salad with creamy walnut vinaigrette

My Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette is just about the first thing I make when gorgeous pears show up in my grocery store.   The star of this fall salad is a whole pear that’s been thinly sliced and stacked so you can still see the shape of the fruit; it’s beautiful enough for the holidays.

pear salad with walnut vinaigrette on a plate with fork

I love to serve pears this way in a salad because it retains their pretty shape, and makes such an elegant presentation. You can slice the pears with a very sharp knife and a steady hand, or you can do it the easy way, on a mandolin slicer.  What’s fun about the mandolin is that it will slice through the pear and the stem, so you get a great look to your salad.

Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette on a wooden table

An earthy walnut vinaigrette is a perfect match for creamy, mild pears.

Walnuts and blue cheese are classic pairings with pears, but I took it a step further with my creamy walnut vinaigrette.  I used walnut oil, which is so aromatic, and provides a nice change from the ubiquitous olive oil dressings.  This recipe becomes ‘creamy’ because the oil emulsifies with the mustard and vinegar in a small food processor.  I drizzle the oil in slowly while the machine is running which fuses everything together into a creamy dressing that will not separate.

Spooning dressing over Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette

Ingredient spotlight: Walnut Oil

Walnut oil is a super healthy oil that has a wonderful sophisticated flavor for salad dressings, and it makes such a welcome change of pace from olive oil.  Specialty oils can usually be found in the same section as the regular oils in your supermarket, just take a good look around, sometimes they’re on a high or low shelf.  Use walnut oil as a base for dressings, as a finishing oil, or drizzled on fish or pasta, etc.  (It makes a great base for pestos.)  I also love to use it as a dip for fresh crusty bread.

Walnut oil is best used raw because heating can alter its flavor.  Be sure to store nut oils in the refrigerator, they will spoil faster at room temperature.


A pear salad with creamy walnut vinaigrette on a wooden table with green pear

This pear and arugula salad is so easy to make, but really makes an impression on the table.  I served it on individual salad plates, but you could also arrange it a large platter, family style, with multiple pears.  I can’t imagine a more elegant way to showcase this wonderful fall fruit.

Pear salad with walnut vinaigrette on a patterned plate.

What type of pear work best for this salad?

I used Bartlett pears, one of the most common grocery store varieties.  Bartletts start out a pretty shade of medium green, and turn yellow as they ripen.  They become super juicy as they ripen, so it’s best to catch them when they are ripe, but still firm enough to slice.  Once they get to the yellow stage they’ll be too soft and juicy to slice thinly and neatly.

If you want to make this salad and your pears are ripening too quickly, just store them in the refrigerator, this will slow down the ripening process.

Bartlett pears for Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

How to keep sliced pears from turning brown ~

Pears, like apples, will turn brown soon after you’ve sliced them, it happens because of a chemical reaction between the cut flesh and the air, called oxidation.  Luckily you can slow that process way down and keep your sliced pears looking fresh by tossing them in lemon juice, or a solution of lemon juice and water.

Another one of my favorite autumnal salads is this Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing ~ it’s another example of how I always try to include a unique dressing with any of my salad recipes.  The cider poppy seed is another creamy dressing.

kale and fall fruit salad in a white bowl

This gorgeous Harvest Salad comes with one of my favorite dressings, Pomegranate Allspice ~ you’re going to want to file that recipe away for other salads, too, the flavor is totally unexpected and so good.

Autumnal Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing


A pear salad with creamy walnut vinaigrette on a wooden table with green pear
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3.39 from 76 votes

Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette

My Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette is a delightful fall salad made with a whole sliced pear. It's pretty enough for your Thanksgiving table.
Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2-3 ripe but firm pears
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 cups arugula or other baby lettuce
  • 4 Tbsp walnuts
  • 4-8 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese


  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  • To make the dressing put the mustard, walnuts, and vinegar in a small food processor. Process for about a minute, then, while the machine is running, drizzle in the oil (there should be a little hole in the top to allow the oil to drizzle slowly in.) When all the oil had been incorporated, scrape down the sides and process until everything is nice and creamy. The longer you process the smoother the consistency will be. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Slice the pear into 1/4 inch slices. I like to use a mandolin slicer for this. Sprinkle the cut slices with the lemon juice to prevent browning, making sure all surfaces are covered.
  • Arrange arugula on 4 salad plates and top each pear slices, stacked but fanned out slightly. Scatter the nuts and blue cheese over the plates. Drizzle with the dressing, and season with fresh cracked black pepper.


My Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2020 at 11:18 am

    4 stars
    I loved this dressing. I changed up the salad a bit but I like the dressing on a salad with pears and another with beets

  • Reply
    Young Paciello
    September 29, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    hey there. Just a note about keeping pears or apples from going brown: rather than lemon juice which adds more acidity to the dressing, dunk fruit in apple juice. I used to do this when I had a catering event and needed to peel fruit in advance.

    • Reply
      September 29, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      Thanks, didn’t know this!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Good stuff. Made it last night and it’s wonderful. Have this on my list a salads for the future. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    October 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    So gorgeous, this is the perfect taste of fall!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Thank you very much for this recipe, I appreciate your time and effort. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    September 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Sometimes the easiest recipes are the best Sue. This looks so perfect for fall.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    So refreshing, so appetizing! Thank you, Sue

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I love pears and bet they taste wonderful with the blue cheese and walnuts. So pretty too! Absolutely perfect for company 🙂

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

    A simple and wonderful fall salad! Love that creamy nutty dressing!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

    That looks amazing! I’m going to give that a whirl!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    September 18, 2018 at 6:43 am

    I am loving all the pears right now, so this salad is perfectly timed! Beautiful salad and I even have walnut oil already in my pantry 🙂

    • Reply
      September 18, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Thanks Jennifer…isn’t walnut oil wonderful? I used to use it a lot years ago, and then I forgot about it. I’m making up for lost time now, what great flavor.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    September 18, 2018 at 3:30 am

    Mmmm, this is a perfect fall salad. I think pears have such a beautiful shape and I love that you’ve kept that intact!

    • Reply
      September 18, 2018 at 8:45 am

      Thanks Chris, I had fun slicing the pears that way.