Want a really simple Christmas starter that takes virtually no effort and doesn’t fill you up too much before the main event? Why not try this delicious Roasted Pear, Stilton and Walnut Salad?
Roasted Pear, Stilton and Walnut Salad
Quick, simple and full of Christmas flavours, this fab Roasted Pear, Stilton and Walnut Salad makes the perfect Christmas starter. Sweet caramelised pears match beautifully with the tangy, salty, umami deliciousness of stilton and the rich, nutty flavour of roasted walnuts.
Best of all, this salad is incredibly easy to make… Simply roast the sliced pears, adding the walnuts to the roasting tray for the last 5 minutes. Meanwhile make a simple vinaigrette-style dressing in a jam jar. Then divide the watercress between 4 plates, crumble the stilton over the top, add the roasted pears and walnuts and drizzle with the dressing. Easy peasy!
Not a fan of stilton?
Then we can’t be friends.
Seriously, if you find stilton a bit strong, try dolcelatte which is milder and creamier. Or, if you are not a fan of blue cheese, try goats cheese or feta. Or leave the cheese out altogether – it will still taste good!
Make it your own
This easy Christmas starter is incredibly easy to adapt, you could…
- Use cashew nuts or hazelnuts instead of walnuts
- Use apples instead of pears
- Use any kind of salad leaf instead of watercress
- Use dolcelatte, feta or goats cheese instead of stilton
- Use maple syrup instead of honey
- Use regular Dijon mustard instead of wholegrain
(If you adapt this recipe, do let me know what combination you tried and how it turned out in the comments below!)
Not just for Christmas…
While this salad makes a fab starter on Christmas Day, it is a real crowd pleaser and so a great option for all sorts of other occasions… especially dinner parties.
Can you make this salad ahead of time?
This salad is most definitely best eaten freshly made. However, you can certainly prepare some or all of the individual elements ahead of time, if you want to. For example, you can make the dressing, crumble up the stilton and roast the pears/walnuts earlier in the day, then simply assemble the salad at the last moment.
What to drink with Roasted Pear, Stilton and Walnut Salad
If you are anything like me then you get very excited about choosing the perfect wines for Christmas Day. Personally, with this salad, I would go with Champagne. Not only does it go surprisingly well, but also… it’s Christmas! Alternatively, a crisp Italian white would also be a good match here.
If you are willing to go a bit off piste, then why not try a medium-sweet or sweet Sherry? Sherry is definitely not old fashioned, it’s an amazing and woefully underrated wine and happens to go beautifully with blue cheese, pears, walnuts and honey… Just make sure you serve it chilled, like you would with a white wine!
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Roasted Pear, Stilton and Walnut Salad
- 4 pears
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons honey plus extra for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 100 g walnuts
- 100 g stilton
- 100 g watercress
- Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Cut the pears into eighths lengthways and remove the pips and core.
- Place on a non-stick baking tray and roast for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile make the dressing: mix 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of honey, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard in a jam jar.
- After 15 minutes, remove the pears from the oven, add the walnuts and a drizzle of honey over everything and roast for a further 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile divide the watercress between 4 plates, crumble the stilton and divide between the plates.
- Remove the pears and walnuts from the oven and divide between the 4 plates.
- Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.
- Not suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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