Roquefort, pear and watercress salad

    15 min

    The ingredients of this fresh and vibrant salad, with contrasting colours, textures and flavours, are perfectly complemented by the subtle walnut oil dressing. The walnut flavour is strengthened by adding lightly toasted walnut pieces to the salad. Serve for a tempting lunch, accompanied by crusty wholegrain rolls or bread.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 55 g (2 oz) walnut pieces
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 3 large, ripe dessert pears, preferably red-skinned
    • 115 g (4 oz) watercress
    • 115 g (4 oz) Roquefort cheese, crumbled
    • pepper
    • Walnut and poppy seed dressing
    • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 1 tbsp walnut oil
    • 2 tsp poppy seeds

    Prep:15min  ›  Ready in:15min 

    1. First make the dressing. Stir the mustard and vinegar together in a salad bowl with pepper to taste, then gradually whisk in the sunflower and walnuts oils. Stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside while preparing the salad.
    2. Lightly toast the walnut pieces in a small frying pan, stirring them frequently. Leave to cool.
    3. Add the red onion to the salad bowl and mix with the dressing. Quarter, core and slice the pears, leaving the skins on. Add to the bowl and toss gently to coat with the dressing.
    4. Add the watercress and most of the cheese and walnuts to the pears. Toss together gently, then scatter over the remaining cheese and nuts, and serve immediately.

    Some more ideas

    Other blue cheese, such as Stilton or Danish blue, works equally well here. As most blue cheeses are fairly salty, it isn't necessary to season the dressing with salt. * For a ricotta and chicory salad, separate the leaves of 2 small heads of chicory, about 170 g (6 oz) in total. Cut each leaf in half lengthways and arrange on a serving platter. In a small jug, mix together 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp orange juice, ½ tsp finely grated orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in 1 tbsp sunflower oil and 1 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil to make a creamy dressing. Cook 170 g (6 oz) sugarsnap peas in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until just tender, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Put into a mixing bowl and add 2 avocados, sliced horizontally into half moons, 4 plum tomatoes, cut into very thin wedges, and 75 g (2½ oz) toasted pecan nut halves. Drizzle over the dressing and toss gently to coat. Spoon on top of the chicory, dot spoonfuls of 200 g (7 oz) ricotta cheese over the surface, and serve.

    Plus points

    Cheese contains valuable nutrients, so it is well worth including it in a well-balanced diet. Those cheeses that are high in fat, such as strongly flavoured Roquefort, need only be used in small quantities to contribute taste as well as their health benefits. * Watercress is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. It also contains a compound that has been shown to have antibiotic properties. * When ripe, pears have a high natural sugar content. They are also a good source of potassium, which is needed to help regulate blood pressure.

    Each serving provides

    A, C, E, calcium, copper * B1, B2, B6, niacin, iron, potassium, zinc

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