Gluten-Free Blue Cheese and Pear Salad Recipe

Pear and Endive Salad
I found one of the most difficult things when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease was sorting through the various sources of information to determine the veracity of each. I quickly discovered that the resources I was initially given were out of date, questioning the status of items that are indeed gluten-free. While it has long been established that distillation removes gluten from most vinegars and alcohols, there remains some debate about the presence of gluten in blue cheese. Some blue cheeses are started on a bread mold, but most are not. While the question remains open about whether or not any gluten remains from the bread mold, there are plenty of options available to satisfy your gluten-free blue cheese cravings.

After my gluten-free trip to Paris, I put my obsession with cheese and all things French to work in the kitchen with this gluten-free blue cheese and pear salad. If you have never made your own dressing for a salad, I highly recommend giving it a try. It’s surprisingly simple, and the results are far superior to any store bought salad dressings. I used pecans in this recipe because my dinner guest preferred them over walnuts, but either work beautifully. Just toast them in the oven for 8 minutes at 325 degrees to heighten their flavor – it’s worth the extra effort.

I served this salad as a starter for a dinner with my Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Gluten-Free Blue Cheese and Pear Salad Recipe (adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten)

4-6 heads of endive
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 ripe pears, halved, cored, and sliced (I used Bosc but Bartlett would work well also)
1/4 pound good gluten-free blue cheese
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves

Trim off the core end of each head of endive and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut out the cores, separate the leaves, and place 1 1/2 to 2 heads of endive on each plate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Toss the pears with half of the vinaigrette and place on the endive. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the endive leaves to moisten them. Crumble the gluten-free blue cheese onto the endive. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and serve.

To read more:
Cassandra at Delightfully Gluten-Free debunks some of the long-standing gluten-free myths.
Allison at Surefoods Living did a great analysis of gluten-free blue cheese options.

If you are gluten-free, what has your experience been with blue cheese?

Pin It

Lynn Barry said,

April 13, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

Since I don’t do dairy I can still use everything else in this salad and have a wonderful salad combo too…Lovely…HUGS

Cassandra said,

April 13, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

You know, I just can’t bring myself to eat blue cheese. It’s moldy, for goodness sake! LOL.

Sheri said,

April 14, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

One of my allergies is mold, so that leaves blue cheese out for me. The few times I ate it before the allergy testing left me cold anyway – something about the mouth feel, I think.

jill said,

April 15, 2008 @ 2:10 am

I only eat Rosenborg brand blue cheese, I don’t trust any other types as none I have found can tell me that they are gluten free. Rosenborg is a decent cheese and very readily available.

Natalie said,

April 15, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

Thanks for all the great info. What an elegant recipe! I am going to have to try it!

Karen said,

April 20, 2008 @ 2:06 am

Amazing photo- I love it! I also like the format of your new site. It is easy to explore and the colors are very nice.

I haven’t has blue cheese in ages- maybe I should give it a whirl!


Gluten Free Menu Swap- May 5, 2008 : Gluten Free Mommy said,

May 5, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

[…] Friday: Simply Recipes’ Blue Cheese Burgers Low Carb Style (these are awesome!) See Gluten Free Guide’s note on the gluten-free status of blue cheese. […]

Ginger said,

May 9, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

I just read the label. Since labeling laws are so much better than they were even two years ago, it is easy to determine. If the blue cheese ingredients say wheat on it, then I avoid it. If not, I buy it. Saga’s used to say that (I think it was their brand) and now they don’t, so I tried some with no problems. It seems that the French and Italian brands (Gorgonzola loves me)never use bread mold – it must be an American short cut. So, when in doubt, I buy the European blue cheese.

Ginger said,

May 9, 2008 @ 7:32 pm

After checking out another blog site:, the one you mentioned above , it stated that Saga was verified by email that it contains wheat, whoops! The one I bought two weeks ago had no wheat mentioned on the label and I didn’t react, so maybe they made a change. I will just count myself lucky.

RSS feed for comments on this post