Certain foods create perfect pairings—bacon and eggs, seafood and lemon, apples and cinnamon AND pears and blue cheese. This Blue Cheese and Pear Salad is the ultimate cool weather side dish featuring fresh Bartlett pears, blue cheese, candied pecans and a delightful maple vinaigrette.
This autumnal salad is definitely a welcome addition to any menu!
A Composed Blue Cheese and Pear Salad
When making salads for company, a composed salad creates an elegant presentation. A composed salad is basically an artfully arranged salad—whether the ingredients are aligned in rows, concentric circles or set in wedges as if divided by bicycle spokes. I selected an oval platter and lined the pecans, pears, lettuces and blue cheese up like soldiers. Just before serving, I drizzled with the maple vinaigrette. For a weeknight meal, I’d toss all the ingredients together in a salad bowl per usual.
With pears at the peak of their season, this salad is ideal in the fall or winter. When there’s nary a red tomato in sight, it’s time to focus on the season’s best and ripest. And a maple vinaigrette is the perfect salad dressing with a slight sweetness to play off the crisp, slightly bitter greens and tangy cheese.
Using real maple syrup is key. The mass marketed brands with artificial maple flavoring just won’t do. You can use baby spinach in place of the baby greens if you prefer, buy already candied nuts and use your favorite blue cheese. Custom make it to your liking!
Tips for Making a Composed Salad:
First, you may be wondering what constitutes a composed salad. A composed salad is arranged instead of tossed, making an impressive presentation. Here are a few tips for making the best composed salad.
- You need at least 3 different ingredients to make a composed salad. Note that if you have too many ingredients, you may have difficulty fitting them all on a platter.
- Pick out a platter that is big enough to hold all your ingredients arranged in sections versus tossed in a large bowl.
- Once you choose your platter, consider how you will arrange your ingredients. This Blue Cheese and Pear Salad is arranged in linear sections, but you can also arrange in piles or even like bicycle spokes.
- Look at the colors of your ingredients and make a plan. Alternate darker and lighter ingredients, keep same colored ingredients apart, and be mindful of separating similar shaped ingredients.
- Do not add dressing, but instead pass the dressing with the salad.
- Serve with a salad fork and spoon or salad tongs, so diners can pick and choose the ingredients they want on their salad.
More Winter Salads from My Bloggers Friends:
- Amish Ham Salad from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Arugula, Butternut & White Bean Salad with Maple Vinaigrette from Pook’s Pantry
- Arugula Salad with Maple Vinaigrette from Cooking Chat
- Beet Terrine from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Blood Orange and Salmon Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Blood Orange, Beet, and Apple Salad with Goat Cheese and Citrus Honey Vinaigrette from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Blue Cheese and Pear Salad from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Breakfast Salad from Our Good Life
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with White Bean Dressing and Pecan Crisps from Beauty and the Beets
- Chill Chasing Matchstick Vegetable Pasta Salad from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chopped Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables and Bacon from MyGourmetConnection
- Citrus Salad from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cobb Salad from Palatable Pastime
- Colorful Veggie Filled Quinoa with a Ginger-Lemon Dressing from Positively Stacy
- Crunchy Beet & Arugula Salad from The Crumby Cupcake
- Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing from The Texan New Yorker
- Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Radicchio and Lemon-Tahini Dressing from Caroline’s Cooking
- Grilled Chicken Salad from Real Food Real Deals
- Kale Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing from My Life Cookbook
- Lemony Couscous Lentil Salad from Magnolia Days
- Low-Carb Spinach Breakfast Salad from Life Tastes Good
- Mandarin Tossed Salad from Meal Planning Magic
- Orange and Walnut Baby Spinach Salad w/ Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette from The Freshman Cook
- Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pecans and Dried Cranberries from The Chef Next Door
- Radicchio Pear Walnut Salad from The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
- Roasted Butternut Squash Pearl Couscous Salad from Mysavoryspoon
- Roasted Savoy Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Bacon Dressing from Food Lust People Love
- Shredded Beet Salad from Wholistic Woman
- Simple Spinach Cobb Salad With Lardons from And She Cooks
- Spinach Citrus Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette from From Gate to Plate
- Warm Balsamic Steak Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing from Momma’s Meals
- Warm Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese from Nik Snacks
- Warm Cauliflower Spinach Salad with Pancetta from Taste and See
- Warm Potato and Broccoli Buffalo Salad from Sweet Mornings
- Warm Potato Salad with Arugula, Bacon and Brown Butter from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Warm Steak Tomato and Mozzarella Salad from Family Foodie
- Wilted Lettuce Salad from Confessions of a Cooking Diva
- Winter BLT Panzanella Salad from Hardly a Goddess
- Winter Citrus and Endive Salad from An Appealing Plan
- Winter Fruit Salad from Pies and Plots
- Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad from Moore or Less Cooking
- Winter Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Winter Salad with Fennel, Apple, Goat Cheese and Radishes from Delaware Girl Eats
- Winter Squash Quinoa Salad from Kitchen Gidget
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Salad plus more Winter Salad Recipes #SundaySupper from Sunday Supper Movement
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 5-ounce bag of mixed baby greens
- 2 large, ripe Bartlett pears, halved cored and sliced thinly
- 1 cup cubed or crumbled blue cheese (I used Maytag)
- 1 cup candied pecan halves*
- To make salad dressing, whisk mayonnaise, syrup, vinegar and sugar. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking continuously. Set aside while preparing the salad.
- For a composed salad, arrange ingredients as desired. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve.
- *To make one cup of candied pecans, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pecans and toss to coat. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cook and stir till sugar melts and caramelizes. Remove to a sheet of parchment paper or non-stick foil to cool.
Pears will discolor after they are cut, so save this step until close to serving time. Alternatively, coat the pears with a little dressing to slow the oxidation.