Pear and blue cheese kale salad is one of my favourite pizza toppings disguised as a kale salad. Pear and blue cheese are a real match made in heaven, they work so well together you can use them in any dish. So here they are gracefully topping a kale quinoa salad, together with some pecans and a mustard-based dressing.
Kale quinoa salad for the win
Kale quinoa salad is a fantastic salad base, especially for meal prep. You can keep this salad base in the fridge for a few days and unlike other green leaves it will not get mushy. Kale has some sturdy leaves, but this quality is not necessarily a bad thing. Massaging the leaves helps to soften them. So in this salad we massage them when adding the dressing, so as to properly distribute the dressing throughout all the salad ruffles while softening the salad leaves themselves.
The addition of cooked quinoa adds value in so many ways. Extra nutrition, as quinoa is one of those superfoods that are packed with nutrients. Extra colour, too – I have chosen red quinoa and it contrasts so beautifully with the green kale leaves, while also matching the colour of the pecans. Let’s not forget one more role the cooked quinoa plays: it adds extra texture, too! A great base that can only get better once you add some great toppings!
Another one with greens and quinoa: asparagus & halloumi salad.
Pear and blue cheese kale salad ingredients
Pear and blue cheese are a great combo, but we should not forget a third element that really fits in well in this equation: nuts. Walnuts would be a more Italian twist, often found on pear and blue cheese pizzas, for example. I went for the north American cousin: pecans!
Here is all you’re gonna need to recreate this lovely kale quinoa salad (quantities in the recipe card below):
- blue cheese
- olive oil
- maple syrup
Maple syrup may be omitted if using a sweet honey mustard, otherwise I really recommend using it to give the dressing some sweetness. You can choose any type of quinoa you like. Red is my favourite so I personally chose that colour. As for the blue cheese, being based in Sweden I used ädelost. Choose one that is crumbly in texture for easier use.
Pear and blue cheese are a great topping for a gourmet pizza bianca.
How to make this salad
- Add the quinoa to saucepan with 200 ml of water and set on medium heat, covered. When it comes to a boil, make a small aperture in the lid to let the steam escape and cook until all of the water has been absorbed. Place in a cold water bath and stir from time to time to speed up cooling time.
- Rinse the kale, remove the stem and drain using a salad spinner. Chop it thinly and add it to a bowl.
- In a small jar, combine the olive oil, mustard and syrup and shake. Pour mixture over the kale and massage it into the leaves to evenly distribute the condiment. Add cooled quinoa to the kale.
- Core the pear and cut into small pieces. You can choose to remove the skin or not, but remember that some pear types may get mushy if particularly ripe, so the skin helps the bits to stay in place. Add to the salad.
- Coarsely chop the pecans and add half of them to salad. Crumb half of the cheese, add to salad and toss to combine.
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and top with remaining pecans and crumbled blue cheese. Feel free to add more. In this recipe I am suggesting quantities that yield a balanced final salad, but if you want more pear, more cheese or more pcans, just add to your liking.
The same can be said about the dressing. I have fairly minimal quantities here, as it’s aimed to only work as condiment for the leaves alone, since a lot of flavour comes from the pears and cheese at every bite. Feel free to double the dressing amount if you want more of the dressing flavour overall.
Another fall favourite: spinach apple cheddar salad by Two Healthy Kitchens!
What to serve it with
This pear blue cheese kale salad is a great side dish, perfect for potlucks or family gatherings during the holidays or even in the summer. It goes particularly great with grilled meat, or pork roasts.
The deep flavour of the pear, blue cheese and pecan combination makes this salad an excellent main dish in itself. The quinoa, cheese and pecans give this salad the nutrition you need when you want a salad that will give you some energy. Serve it with a slice of toasted sourdough bread or some homemade grissini and you have a wonderful lunch.
Having a base made from sturdy kale leaves and cooked quinoa, this pear blue cheese kale salad keeps very well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Rather than going mushy, the dressing will instead soften the kale leaves to the point where they just get the perfect texture without ever losing their distinctive bite. If there is a salad that only gets better with time, it’s this one. And that’s not ususally a salad’s strongest quality.
More fruits and kale? Fruity kale salad with peaches and grapes!
Pin this pear blue cheese kale salad for later reference!
Pear blue cheese kale salad
Pear, blue cheese and pecans - a very classic combo - top a fluffy bed of kale and quinoa lightly dressed with olive oil and mustard.
- 100 g chopped kale
- 100 g red quinoa
- 1 pear
- 50 g blue cheese crumbly
- 40 g pecans
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
Rinse the kale, stem and drain using a salad spinner. Chop it and add it to a bowl.
Add the quinoa to saucepan with 200 ml of water and set on medium heat, covered. When it comes to a boil, make a small aperture in the lid to let the steam escape and cook until all of the water has been absorbed. Then place in a cold water bath to speed up cooling time.
In a small jar, combine the olive oil, mustard and syrup and shake. Pour mixture over the kale and massage it into the leaves to evenly distribute the condiment.
Core the pear and cut into small pieces. Add it to the salad. Coarsely chop the pecans and add half to salad. Toss to combine.
Crumb half of the cheese and toss to combine.
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and top with remaining pecans and crumbled blue cheese.