San Diego, California (NAPSI) - Bring a sweet touch to your salads by adding fresh pears. In season nearly year-round, USA Pears make a great addition to salads at any meal. Their sweet flavor pairs well with other seasonal produce, and the classic combination of pears, nuts and cheese can improve any green salad.

An excellent source of fiber, pears are also a good source of vitamin C. Adding them to salads can help you pump up your meal’s nutrition content with one tasty ingredient.

To tell if a pear is ripe, simply check the neck. Apply gentle pressure to the stem end of the pear with your thumb. If it gives to pressure, then it’s ripe, sweet and juicy.

For more recipe ideas, visit www.usapears.org and follow USA Pears on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Pears and Creamy Cheddar Dressing

Yield: 6 servings

Salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

1 small head radicchio, chopped

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal

2 large USA Pears, such as Anjou, Bosc or Bartlett, cored and sliced

1 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts

Dressing:

5 tablespoons mayonnaise

¾ cup buttermilk

¾ cup finely grated vintage sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

½ teaspoon salt

Several turns of freshly

ground black pepper

Place the chopped lettuce and radicchio into a large bowl of ice water to crisp and set aside for 15 minutes. The dressing can be prepared in the meantime (see below). After 15 minutes, drain the lettuce and radicchio and spin in a salad spinner until dry. Add the sliced celery and pears and gently toss. Divide the salad among six plates and spoon the dressing over the top. Sprinkle each serving with the chopped hazelnuts.

For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a pint jar and shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.