Friday, November 25, 2011

Pears and Blue Cheese in Rice Salad

So now we’re in that little lull between the big Thanksgiving dinner and the next wave of holiday gatherings. If you’re like me, you’ve still got to eat something. I suppose it would be best if that something had a high Whole Food Quotient (WFQ), some whole grain energy and an antioxidant or two. There’s a lot to do and some unhealthy treats between now and the end of the year, and we might as well be nutritionally geared up for that. Of course, it would be nice if it also tasted good too.

Here’s a recipe I think I might be using to fill the gap between cookie snacks and big dinners. It’s a brown rice salad that’s light and refreshing as well as flavorful and nutritious, and it’s got some seasonal ingredients as well. It’s got pears and walnuts and cranberries, and a good punch of blue cheese. I found the original version in an advertisement for a particular brand of brown rice. Since pears are pretty abundant and I had some blue cheese left over from making this pasta dish, I gave it a try.

I couldn’t remember if I’d ever eaten pears and blue cheese together, but it seems to be a fairly popular combination. I have to say I liked it here, even though blue cheese is not my favorite flavor in the world. I think you could also use something else if you don’t like the blue vein-y stuff, like feta or goat cheese or even something milder. I also think you could use apples in place of the pears, dried cherries or even raisins instead of the dried cranberries, and pecans or hazelnuts instead of the walnuts. You could even continue to morph this salad or others like it to match the season as desired.

All I know is that with all the shopping, traveling and cookies I see in my near future, I think I’m going to need a few dishes like this high WFQ salad to keep me going in the right direction.

Brown Rice Salad with Walnuts, Pears and Blue Cheese
Adapted from Lundberg Family Farms

3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 large pear, cored and finely chopped
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used a domestic Gorgonzola-style cheese)
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Vigorously whisk together until well-combined.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the rice, pear, walnuts, blue cheese and dried cranberries. Pour the lemon juice mixture and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt over and stir until the salad is well combined and the ingredients are well-coated with the dressing. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes about 6 servings.

Other recipes like this one: Barley and Wild Rice Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette, Chicken and Rice Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing


  1. My husband and I had this tonight It was great! We tweaked it a little, subbed sunflower seeds for walnuts (b/c I'm allergic) and only used two tablespoons of olive oil. Thanks! This recipe is going in to my "winner" file!

  2. Sunflower seeds sound great. Glad you liked the salad!

  3. having a 50th birthday bash for my sister n law this weekend..I'm going to make this it sounds delicious!!! I'll let you know.I'm in Bonnie scotland,and the sun is shining...

    1. Fabulous! Happy Birthday to your sis-in-law!