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Blue Cheese and Pear Salad - A perfect fall or winter salad with candied pecans and a maple vinaigrette

Blue Cheese and Pear Salad

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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!

Blue Cheese and Pear Salad composed in layers on a white, oval platter

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.

Blue Cheese and Pear Salad on a white, oval ceramic plate
Winter Flavors

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:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Salad plus more Winter Salad Recipes #SundaySupper from Sunday Supper Movement

Yield: 4 servings

Blue Cheese and Pear Salad

Blue Cheese and Pear Salad

A lovely autumnal salad with pears, blue cheese, candied pecans and a maple vinaigrette

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


Maple Vinaigrette

  • 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*


  1. To make salad dressing, whisk mayonnaise, syrup, vinegar and sugar. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking continuously. Set aside while preparing the salad.
  2. For a composed salad, arrange ingredients as desired. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve.
  3. *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.


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33 comments on “Blue Cheese and Pear Salad”

  1. February is always the month where I feel lacking in veggies. This Sunday’s menu is perfect. Bring on the salads.

  2. I think pears and blue cheese are perfect. I like to serve composed salads to guests as well as they can omit the items that are not to their liking.

  3. Pears and blue cheese are so good together. The dressing sounds delicious as well.

  4. This is a great flavor combo! YUMMO!

  5. What a delicious combination! I love the addition of blue cheese in a salad!

  6. You are so right about pears and blue cheese! This is a perfect salad!

  7. I love the creamy blue cheese paired with crispy fresh winter pears . . . such a great flavor combination Liz!

  8. This is so my kind of salad! I love the combination of pears, nuts, and cheese. And yes to real maple syrup. I left the fake stuff behind when I was 5 🙂

  9. Blue cheese or Gorgonzola, here in Itlay is my favourite cheese.
    The combo with pears is delicious!
    Have a nice Sunday

  10. Beautiful salad! Loving the summer like ingredients. On my list to try!

  11. Hi Liz, pears and blue cheese are a match made in heaven, beautiful, beautiful salad!

  12. Oooo – I know the farmer would LOVE this salad. The vinaigrette sounds amazing!

  13. Youu are so right about certain food pairings being just perfect. This is one of the most divinely inspired. This salad looks great.

  14. Pears and blue cheese are a match made in heaven and that creamy maple dressing sounds amazing.

  15. This is a fantastic salad combination. Pear and blue cheese are so good together. This would make a perfect light lunch for me!

  16. This combination of flavours is definitely a favourite and we often have it on a pizza! Sadly we’re back from Arizona to about 6″ of snow, what a rude awakening! Fortunately, we’ve had sun most days since our return and I do hope it continues, I just can’t stand that gloom. Congrats on your son getting into Med school, following in your footsteps! You must be so proud.

  17. I love all of these ingredients, especially the candied pecans, once I start eating them, oh no, can’t stop! Nettie

  18. I love blue cheese with pears, what a pretty composed salad!

  19. Great pick & everything’s so pretty! xoxo

  20. Simple, healthy, and perfectly balanced. This is my kind of spread!

  21. I agree, pears and blue cheese go wonderful together. Lovely salad, Liz!

  22. This is my favorite salad! I can’t wait to try it with the Maple Vinaigrette. Love the way you plated this. It’s so elegant.

  23. I totally agree with you on food pairings and blue cheese & pear is a combination to die for! Looking forward to trying out this salad Liz 🙂

  24. This is a perfect pairing with pears! I love these flavors together, and the salad looks lovely on the platter. Wish this could be my lunch right now!

  25. We love pears and I’m a recent blue cheese convert and this sounds delicious.

  26. Your gourmet composition of your winter salad wins me over! Love the combo of blue cheese and pears and pecans. Pinning =)

  27. Tried the blue cheese and pear salad tonight. Loved it! Will make it again.

  28. I love the way this is plated up!

  29. I love adding fruit to salads! I’m really enjoying pears lately, so this caught my eye.

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