Butter Lettuce Salad with Pears, Buttermilk–Blue Cheese Dressing, and Candied Walnuts

delicious gluten free salad

This simple, impossibly delicious gluten free salad is from executive chefs Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal of San Francisco’s Town Hall restaurant.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Asian Pears, Buttermilk–Blue Cheese Dressing, and Candied Walnuts Gluten-Free Recipe

Dairy free? Try a DF ranch dressing: skip the cheese, replace the buttermilk with soy or coconut milk, season the dressing with garlic and onion powders, more lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste, then stir in some fresh chopped chives.

Servings 6
Author Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 pound crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 3 small heads butter lettuce
  • 1 Asian pear halved, cored, and cut into matchsticks or thin slices
  • 6 radishes trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 recipe Candied Walnuts (below)


  1. Make the dressing: In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, blue cheese, buttermilk, cream, and lemon juice until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Make the salad: Remove and save the larger outer leaves of the butter lettuce for another use. Remove, wash, and dry the medium leaves, keeping the small, tight, inner parts of the heads intact and rinsing and drying them. Halve the small, inner lettuce heads. Layer a few of the medium leaves on each of 6 salad plates. Top each with one of the halved inner lettuce heads. Drizzle with the dressing, garnish with pear matchsticks, radishes, blue cheese, and candied walnuts, and serve.

Candied Walnuts

MAKES 1 CUP Double the batch and store extras in an airtight container for Candied Walnuts anytime.


  • Canola oil for deep-frying
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup walnut halves


  1. Pour 1-1/2 inches of oil into a deep, heavy pot. Heat over medium heat to 350°F.
  2. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, put the sugar in a bowl, and bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil.
  3. Add the nuts to the boiling water and blanch, 1 minute. Using a wire skimmer or strainer, scoop out the nuts, shake off the excess water, and add the nuts to the sugar. Toss to coat completely and create a light sugar paste over the nuts.
  4. Working in batches, carefully spoon the nuts into the hot oil, spreading them out so they don’t stick together; fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan, spreading them in a single layer. Let cool completely.

Photography Nader Khouri

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