Radicchio Salad with Pear, Walnut & Gorgonzola Dressing

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: July 9, 2023

My Italian radicchio salad has the perfect marriage of colour, texture and flavour. Sweet, bitter and salty are paired with all the crunch you could ask for. The Gorgonzola dressing is life changing stuff and applied liberally to this amazing platter of summer goodness.

A platter of radicchio salad with pears, walnuts, parsley and a gorgonzola dressing

I'm a big fan of radicchio, the bitter Italian leaves are an amazing addition to any salad, but in this dish they sit firmly centre stage.

The aim of this salad is harmony. The bitter magenta leaves are balanced with sweetness from juicy pears and then counterbalanced with the salty funkiness of Gorgonzola Dolce cheese. The whole affair is complimented with the crunchy nuttiness of walnuts. Perfection!

This radicchio salad is so easy and versatile. It's a great addition to any Italian dinner table and will pair with just about anything. The dressing is at home with fish and seafood as it is alongside meat and poultry or vegetarian options too.

It's a wonderful summery salad that has real eye-appeal as well as tasting sensational! Trust me, you won't be able to stop eating the delicious dressing, you'll want it slathered over everything!

A platter of radicchio salad with pears, walnuts, parsley and a gorgonzola dressing

What is Radicchio? What is Gorgonzola?

  • Radicchio - is a type of leafy vegetable that belongs to the chicory family. It is known for its distinctive bitter taste and vibrant red or purple color. Radicchio is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine and is commonly used in salads, grilled or roasted, and added to pasta dishes.
  • Gorgonzola - is a type of Italian blue cheese that is known for its creamy texture and distinctive sharp flavour. It is named after the town of Gorgonzola in Lombardy and is produced in two different varieties: Gorgonzola Dolce (sweet) and Gorgonzola Piccante (sharp). Gorgonzola Dolce is aged for a shorter period, typically around three months, resulting in a milder and creamier cheese with a less pronounced blue veining. Gorgonzola Piccante, on the other hand, is aged for a longer time, around six months or more, and has a stronger, sharper flavour with more prominent blue veining.

Why it works?

Harmony! - I love it when flavours and textures just work! This is a classic Italian combination and it's easy to see why. The sweet, salty and bitter flavours are pure heaven together and when combined with the freshest, crunchiest texture it makes for a very special salad!

The Gorgonzola dressing - Blue cheese is a polarising ingredient, but for me, the sweet mildness of Gorgonzola Dolce is one of life's greatest luxuries. This dressing is a creamy, dreamy life-changer! It's great on this salad, but I'll pour it over anything and everything! See below for some alternative uses.

A small glass bowl of gorgonzola cheese dressing with a spoon.

Stuff You'll Need

This salad is really quick and simple to make at home - here are the key ingredients.

  • Radicchio - use any variety you can get hold of. Some are more bitter than others. The variety I use mostly is 'Radicchio Rosso di Treviso Precoce', longer in shape with crunchy leaves. It's less bitter than many varieties. Read more about radicchio types here.
  • Pears - I like a ripe pear that's sweet and juicy. You can use any variety, but I can't look past my favourites 'Conference'
  • Gorgonzola Dolce - the sweet variety of Gorgonzola is younger in age and milder. You can substitute with any mild blue cheese, but honestly Gorgonzola dolce is spectacular!
  • Creme Fraiche - adds more creaminess to the dressing, you can substitute with sour cream or even mascarpone cheese mixed with a little milk.
  • Dijon mustard - brings a little sweet depth to the dressing
  • Garlic - for a little backbone.
  • Lemon - adds a citrus pop to the finished sauce to lighten it up a little.
  • Walnuts - the tried and tested trinity of radicchio, gorgonzola and walnuts is not to be trifled with in Italy - you'll see why.
  • Parsley - A light grassy herb note is sprinkled over at the last minute to compliment everything, and I think the green and pink contrast each other splendidly too.
the ingredients for a radicchio, pear, and walnut salad with gorgonzola dressing: radicchio, pears, oil, lemon, gorgonzola, mustard, parsley, walnuts, garlic and creme fraiche.

Step by Step

This salad couldn't be easier to make at home. There's minimal cooking and the whole thing is ready in under 30 minutes.

  1. Step 1 - Toast the walnuts in the oven. This will give a crunchier texture once they've cooled completely.
  2. Step 2 - Blitz all the dressing ingredients together in a blender until smooth. I often have to add a few drizzles of water to thin the sauce out to a pourable heavy cream consistency.
  3. Step 3 - Arrange your prepared vegetables and fruit on a large platter and then drizzle everything enthusiastically with the gorgonzola dressing. That's it!
A platter of radicchio salad with pears, walnuts, parsley and a gorgonzola dressing

Serving, Storage and Suggestions

I dress the salad with some of the gorgonzola dressing and then serve the rest alongside so that anyone who wants more can shamelessly drizzle as much as they want.

  • Storage - This dressing will stay good in a sealed jar or container for 3-4 days in the fridge. I don't recommend freezing. The salad itself, once dressed should be eaten right away.
  • Suggestions - as well as being the perfect salad dressing, the Gorgonzola sauce works excellently as a pour over sauce with meats, fish and cooked vegetables. I particularly LOVE it drizzled over hot salad potatoes. You can also try it as a simple sauce poured over poached eggs for an Italian twist on eggs benny. It makes for an excellent dip for raw vegetables too.
A platter of radicchio salad with pears, walnuts, parsley and a gorgonzola dressing

Ready to get going?

So, you can see just how delicious this salad looks. It's a real head turner, but the flavour more than matches the appearance, the combination of ingredients are a winner on every front. It's truly one of my most favourite salads to serve.

I love this salad all year round, but in summer it brings a whole level of sunshine to the table. We eat with our eyes and this radicchio salad is literally screaming mange mange mange! I hope you enjoy.

A platter of radicchio salad with pears, walnuts, parsley and a gorgonzola dressing

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about this radicchio salad? Let me know in the comments.

What is Radicchio?
Radicchio is a type of leafy vegetable that belongs to the chicory family. It is known for its vibrant red or purple leaves, which have a slightly bitter taste. Radicchio is native to Italy and is commonly used in Italian cuisine, particularly in salads and as a grilled or roasted vegetable.

What is Gorgonzola?
Gorgonzola is a type of Italian blue cheese renowned for its distinct flavor and creamy texture. It is named after the town of Gorgonzola in the Lombardy region of Italy, where it was originally produced. Made from cow's milk, Gorgonzola cheese has a crumbly yet creamy consistency with characteristic blue-green veins running through it. It has a tangy and slightly salty taste that becomes more pungent and intense with age. Gorgonzola is often used in various culinary applications, including salads, sauces, pasta dishes, and as a flavorful addition to cheese boards.

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A platter of radicchio salad with pears, walnuts, parsley and a gorgonzola dressing

Radicchio Salad with Pear & Walnut & Gorgonzola Dressing

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
Recipe by Lee
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 328


For the Salad

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 pears peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 radicchio leaves separated and torn or left whole
  • 1 small bunch parsley roughly chopped

For the dressing


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC
  • Arrange the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 7 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

For the dressing

  • Using a food processor or blender, blend all the dressing ingredients together until smooth. You may need to water it down with a couple of tablespoons of until thick and creamy, like a whipping/double cream consistency.
    Set aside.

Arranging the salad

  • Strip the radicchio leaves and either leave whole or cut or tear into pieces.
    Peel the pears and remove the core. Cut into thin slices.
    Arrange the radicchio in a layer on a large platter. Place slices of the pear all around and then scatter over the whole walnuts. Lastly scatter over some of the parsley leaves.
  • Drizzle the salad generously with the gorgonzola dressing and serve.
    Serve the remaining dressing on the table so that people can add more if they like (they will!).


  • Serving: I generously coat the salad with a portion of the dressing and offer the remaining amount separately, allowing anyone to freely add as much as they desire.
  • Storage: You can store this dressing in a sealed jar or container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezing is not recommended.
  • Suggestions: Apart from being an ideal salad dressing, the Gorgonzola sauce is superb as a topping for meats, fish, and cooked vegetables. It adds an exquisite touch when drizzled over steaming salad potatoes. For an Italian twist on eggs benedict, you can also try it as a delightful sauce poured over poached eggs.
  • Instead of gorgonzola, use any mild blue cheese
  • Instead of creme fraiche, use sour cream or mascarpone diluted with a little milk.
  • Instead of walnuts use pecans, almonds, pistachio, pine nuts or even hazelnuts.
  • Instead of pears, try this salad with fresh figs, apple slices, fresh peaches or nectarines.


Calories: 328kcal (16%) | Carbohydrates: 19g (6%) | Protein: 9g (18%) | Fat: 26g (40%) | Saturated Fat: 9g (56%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 36mg (12%) | Sodium: 310mg (13%) | Potassium: 293mg (8%) | Fiber: 4g (17%) | Sugar: 11g (12%) | Vitamin A: 419IU (8%) | Vitamin C: 12mg (15%) | Calcium: 188mg (19%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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