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I really do not like pears. See, I have finally come out about it. I find them yukky. I don’t like them when they are hard or when they ripen and go all mushy. Mr G loves them when they are rock hard, so quite often I will buy some and find there are a few sad specimens staring at me from the fruit bowl.

I’m too mean to waste them, but what to do?

I could poach them in red wine and coat in chocolate. I’ve done that before, or mull them in red wine, but what about a savoury dish?

As I had cooked a box of quinoa at the weekend, I already had that in the ‘fridge. So I made this:

Ingredients:
Salad:
4 Cups of cooked Quinoa
1 Pack of cooked Black Beluga Lentils
1 Cup of broken Walnuts
1/4 Cup of Sunflower Seeds
2 Ribs of Celery finely chopped
1 Red Pepper (finely chopped)
1 Med Onion (Red or brown) finely chopped
1 Med Avocado (peeled and finely chopped) – Optional
1 Inch of Cucumber finely shopped
Salt or Herbamare and Pepper

Base:
1/2 a Bulb of Fennel

Dressing:
1/2 Cup of Nut Vinegar (Vinegre de Noix)
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Agave
2 x Tsp Dijon Mustard (I used a herb flavoured one – hence the dressing is green)
3 Cloves of Garlic (peeled)
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Tsp of Guar Gum (do not overdo this or it will over-thicken)
3-4 Pears peeled, cored and chopped
Salt or herbamare and pepper

Method:
In a small saucepan, gently roast the walnuts in a dry pan over a low heat for 10 minutes. Then add the sunflower seeds and roast together for another 10 mins on low. Be careful and patient as they will burn if you rush this.

Slice the base of the fennel bulb and either slice very thin slices across the base or use a mandolin.

Make the dressing:
In a blender or food processor add the ingredients and process until blended and creamy. Leave for 5 minutes to thicken.

Meanwhile assemble the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly to break up any clumps of quinoa or lentils. pour all but 2 Tblsp of the dressing into the salad and mix thoroughly. Ideally leave in the ‘fridge for an hour for the quinoa to soak up the dressing.

To assemble:
Place a layer of the shaved fennel on the plate and dress with the reserved dressing.
Pile the salad on top of the fennel and drizzle over any remaining dressing.

I have to say that I quite like the pears in this as there is lots of crunch and other texture. The sweetness of the pears kind of works with the flavour of the nuts.

Quinoa, Pear and Walnut Salad on Shaved Fennel with a Nut Dressing

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