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Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans

Our traditional Thanksgiving menu, overloaded with mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, and syrupy sweet potatoes, begged for something else. I wanted to add a salad, and lucky for me, my mother-in-law understood and found this recipe for romaine salad with pears, blue cheese and pecans.

ingredients for Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans

This salad delivers, with enough self-confidence and poise to hold its own on any table, and balance out all that starch. Now, a big bowl of green crisp romaine lettuce, with blue cheese crumbles, perfectly ripe pears and crunchy sweet pecans, is an official and welcome side at our Thanksgiving feast. For this I am thankful.

There’s another tradition I treasure–the grateful alphabet game. Once we are all seated, our plates full and grace said, we go around the table. Grandpa starts with A. He says, “I am grateful for…art.” Whoever sits next to him, B, says, “I am are grateful for…balloons!” Next, C, says, “um…colors!” We go around, and everyone has their chance to be grateful, more than once. We get to Z and the last person says they are grateful for zebras… or zippers…or zee wonderful food.

Make this romaine salad with pears, blue cheese and pecans—when the letters, S, P, or B come around they will be grateful for salad, pears or pecans and blue cheese.

ingredients for Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans

Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans recipe details:

  • You can wash and tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces earlier in the day or the day before. Wrap the leaves in a tea towel and tuck into a resealable plastic bag. Keep refrigerated.
  • Be gentle with the lettuce–tear it with your fingers, instead of chopping with a knife—torn lettuce looks and keeps better.

lettuce for Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans

  • Prepare the vinaigrette ahead too, but make sure it’s at room temperature when you toss it with the lettuce–you want to coat the lettuce lightly and that’s not easy with congealed olive oil.
  • Crumble your blue cheese from a block–the quality and flavor is generally better than the crumbles that come n a plastic container. I used a Wisconsin blue cheese from Costco.
  • If you wish, serve this salad on individual chilled plates. Place a mound of dressed lettuce on each plate, and then garnish with the pear slices, the blue cheese and lastly the pecans.
  • A lettuce spinner is the kitchen tool we use almost every day. If you don’t already own one, hint around and you might get one for Christmas. (Amazon link.)
  • If you can get your hands on Slide Ridge Honey Wine Vinegar—hold on tight. It has the most amazing flavor and takes this salad up a notch. It’s available online via my Amazon link.
  • You might also like this Wilted Spinach Salad with Green Lentils and Pecans.

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ingredients for Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans

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ingredients for Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans
Romaine Salad with Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Make this winner of a salad a holiday tradition that everyone remembers. You can prep everything ahead and put it together at the last minute. This recipe yields more dressing than needed for the salad. Save the rest for later.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings.
Author: Letty Flatt | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons honey wine vinegar (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 2 barely ripe pears (I used Bartletts)
  • 4 ounces (¾ cup) blue cheese crumbles
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
Instructions
  1. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. (see note)
  2. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, about a teaspoon at a time, whisking all the time, to make a smooth dressing.
  3. Wash the lettuce leaves, dry well. Tear into bite-size pieces.
  4. Just before serving, put about half of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Add the lettuce and toss to coat the leaves lightly. Toss in a little more dressing if you think it’s needed, keeping in mind the lettuce should be lightly coated, not weighed down in oil.
  5. Build the salad in two layers: Transfer half of the dressed lettuce to a serving bowl. Core and slice the first pear and arrange it over the lettuce. Sprinkle with half of the blue cheese and half of the toasted pecans. Repeat with a second layer.
Recipe Notes
  • If you don’t have honey wine vinegar, substitute apple cider vinegar plus 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • The mustard provides flavor bite and acts as an emulsifier—to keep the vinegar and oil from separating. Add the oil slowly so the mustard can do its emulsify thing.

9 comments

  • Yes! My mom made this salad or something similar. It was a regular tradition in our house (even beyond T-Gives), though it never included a round of the alphabet game. I’d love to learn all the rules. GREG Reply · 20 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Hey Greg–thanks for the note. No rules to the game–except make sure you keep going until you get to Z. And let a guest of honor or the matriarch of the gathering be the “A” grateful letter. Reply · 21 November, 2014

  • This salad looks delicious! I love sweet pears with salty taste of blue cheese…thanks for sharing Reply · 21 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Jodee! Reply · 21 November, 2014

  • sandy

    Hi Letty,
    We made this salad for Amy’s house concert. It was easy to make and delicious, great dressing. People loved it. Thanks. Reply · 24 November, 2014

    • Letty

      How cool is that? Thanks for letting me know about your success!! Reply · 25 November, 2014

  • Bobbie

    Planning on taking this to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house who is vegetarian. Paring it with roasted butternut squash and apple soup! Reply · 24 November, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Bobbie,
      Sounds like a great pairing…. Reply · 25 November, 2014

  • […] for a green Thanksgiving salad? This salad with pears, blue cheese, and pecans always gets rave […] Reply · 12 November, 2015

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