When I see recipes with pears, walnuts and cheese I usually associate them with the fall, but I felt compelled to make this recipe right now, smack dab in the middle of summer. And you know what? It’s perfect for summer. The quinoa is light; the pears are sweet and juicy; the walnuts, crunchy; and the blue cheese and thyme add the right amount of rich earthiness to create a wonderfully balanced salad that is excellent for a summer picnic or a light lunch on the deck. I would serve this salad with some spicy chicken kabobs and a crisp glass of Pinot Gris. Wow, summer never tasted so good! And for anyone who thinks they may hold off till the fall to make this salad? Well hey; like the song says, ♪ It’s five o’clock fall somewhere ♪.
I am bringing a huge platter of these radicchio cups over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday tonight and I am really hoping that everyone will love them as much as my hubby and I did! I am also excited to tell you that my lovely, earthy friend, Hilda, of Along the Grapevine, and I are thrilled to by co-hosting Fiesta Friday tonight. Look out because Hilda and I have co-hosted this awesome virtual soirée together before, and we are on top of it! We may just know a few bits of gossip or where to find Angie’s secret stash of select cocktails!. Let us know what you need, because we are here to help you. I may be a bit late to the party tonight, but don’t despair, I promise I will be catching up with all of you as soon as I can get there!
For any of you who are completely new to Fiesta Friday, we welcome you! Joining this virtual party is a wonderful way to meet new blogger friends and to gain exposure and views. I suggest that you read these guidelines to get an overview of how the party works. Just be sure to link your post to Angie’s blog, as well as mine, or Hilda’s so that we know you have arrived. All you have to do is click on the button below. Happy Fiesta Friday!
I found this recipe in “Quinoa Revolution”, by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. My one comment is that if you put all of the salad dressing on this amount of salad, it will become very soggy. I suggest that you pour the dressing on sparingly and taste it until you think you have the right balance. Also, separating the radicchio leaves to make the cups is finicky. You could just shred the lettuce and serve the salad on top if you are in a hurry; however, the presentation won’t be as attractive.
Quinoa, Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad in Radicchio Cups
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cup quinoa
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 ripe pears (Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou)
¼ cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup sliced green onions
1 head radicchio
Combine the water, quinoa and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow to stand on the element, covered for 5 minutes. Remove from the element, and gently fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the apple juice, vinegar, oil, thyme and salt. Set aside.
In a small skillet, gently toast the walnuts until they become fragrant.
Peel the pears if the skin is thick. Core and dice the pears to make 1 ½ cups. Add the pears to the dressing and gently toss to coat completely. Add the cooled quinoa, walnuts, blue cheese and green onions. Toss gently.
Just before serving, separate the radicchio leaves by cutting at the base of the head. Leaves that are 3 ½ to 4 inches across are the perfect size. Place one leaf on each plate and divide the salad between the lettuce cups. Serve immediately.