Pear, Blue Cheese, Walnut and Bacon Salad

December 13, 2010 · 24 comments

filed in: Dairy,Fruit,Gluten-Free,Main Courses,Salads,Vegetables,Vegetarian/Vegetarian Option

Pear, Blue Cheese, Walnut and Bacon Salad

Fall and winter always seem to bring on a craving for slow cooked comfort foods, including soups, stews, casseroles, and other similar hearty fare. But even in the chilly months, the fresh taste and crunch of a simple, seasonal salad is a welcome change of pace.

This recipe, which provides a vegetarian option, pairs the classic flavor combination of fresh pears, blue cheese, lightly caramelized walnuts, and bacon with greens from my own fall garden in a mustard vinaigrette. I love the way these contrasting flavors — the sweetness of the fruit, the mellow depth of the cheese, the crispness of the nuts, the smokiness of the bacon, the slight bitterness of the greens, and the zesty dressing — come together here. Please note that this recipe can easily be scaled up to become a main course salad by adding sliced leftover chicken or beef.


For the vinaigrette:

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon or whole grain prepared mustard
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons finely minced green onions (white and light green parts only)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the walnuts:

1 cup walnut halves
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
A dash of cayenne or hot smoked paprika

For the salad:

1/2 pound arugula (I prefer its peppery flavor for this salad), mesclun, romaine, mache (corn salad), or spinach, according to your preference
3 very firm Bartlett pears (not peeled), cored and sliced into very thin wedges
4 ounces blue cheese, gorgonzola, or Stilton, crumbled
(Optional) 2 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and well drained
(Optional) 1/2 – 1 pound cooked sliced chicken (or beef)


  1. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
  2. In a small frying pan set on a medium heat burner, melt the butter, stir in the maple syrup or honey, and then stir in the walnuts. Continue to heat the walnuts, stirring continuously, for approximately 2-3 minutes, or until they are fragrant, caramelized, and lightly browned. Remove from the burner and set aside.
  3. Place the greens in a large salad bowl or, if individual servings are preferred, distribute them equally among 6 salad plates. Sprinkle on, in order, the pears, optional bacon (if used), blue cheese, and walnuts. Drizzle on the salad dressing and toss the salad. If preparing this as a main course salad, position sliced, cooked chicken or beef along the side of the salad. Serves 6 as a side salad or 4 as a main course salad.

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Leave a Comment

{ 24 them below or add one }

lacey October 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Exactly the recipe I am looking for to use up what I got in my organic CSA box this week. Can’t wait to make it tonight for the family.


Karine April 5, 2011 at 8:28 am

How long can this vinaigrette be stored in the fridge in an airtight container?


Barbara April 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

It should be good to go for about a week.


Delishhh December 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Goregous salad. Also some of my favorite ingredients. Nice work!


Megan December 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Blue cheese and pear with any kind of spiced nut are my favorites in a green salad. Love it!


SMITH BITES December 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

This is a standard in our house – just fantastic flavors, colors & textures all the way around! And as usual, beautiful photos!


sara December 14, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Mmmmm, this salad look so good – especially those walnuts. Yum!


Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog December 14, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Really this salad has all the beautiful ingredients I love blue cheese, walnut and bacon. I don’t know if the soft flavor of the pear could be unnoticed. Green apple could match also. Cheers, Gera


Barbara December 15, 2010 at 6:48 am

Many thanks, Gera. It’s important to pick pears that are still very firm and crisp for this salad to provide structure and crunch. Their flavor does come through. But I agree that nice tart apples, which I occasionally use here, would work very well too.


Suzanne December 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Most fabulous! Just got a box of pears from a friend and they are delicious! Perfect timing!


marla December 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Barbara, this is the perfect seasonal salad. Love that maple & mustard dressing with the buttery nuts. Think I will need to get started on this asap. Those toasted nuts must smell amazing. xo


A Canadian Foodie December 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I love this combination – I have made it many times – similar – but without the bacon. Love that idea… I will have to try yours, next time. I even make a pizza with all of these ingredients (sans bacon) that is deadly delicious. (search for pear pizza on my website, if you are interested. I love to make it and just tear the arugula from the bes in the garden to top it off. This is a great winter salad, too – as the cheese is hearty and pears are still in season here… well – firmly stored and still available. Thanks so much for the reminder and the new take on an old favourite. YUMMMM! Valerie


Barbara December 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I’m checking out your pizza now. Sounds excellent!


Dawn Hutchins December 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm

The mixture with the walnuts sounds SO good.


Lazaro December 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Fantastic well balanced and flavorful salad. Stilton would work like a charm here. Your photos are lovely, bright and vibrant.

Thanks for the kind words on my post. Look forward to following your kitchen adventures here. Be well


Faith December 14, 2010 at 10:40 am

What a great looking salad Barb! It looks heavenly. I love all the combination in this one. Would make a perfect side dish for dinner.


Amanda December 14, 2010 at 8:26 am

What a lovely salad Barbara. I think in the winter months we just don’t get enough salad, thanks for the inspiration!


Beth December 14, 2010 at 4:56 am

This salad looks great. I’m bookmarking it and will make it over the holidays. Thanks!


Heather Davis December 14, 2010 at 4:02 am

Gorgeous Barbara. Some lovely taste combinations. Great alternative to the winter comfort foods!


Cookin' Canuck December 14, 2010 at 12:09 am

No vegetarian option required here. The bacon, paired with the sweetness of the pears and pungency of the blue cheese is perfect!


Barbara Bakes December 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Now I’m craving salad. This looks fabulous!


HoneyB December 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm

This salad looks delicious! Grumpy would love it too! He is a big fan of pears!


Michelle December 13, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I make a similar salad and it is out of this world delicious! And that says a lot coming from a non-salad person!


Mags December 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Beautiful, beautiful salad. I love the combination of flavors.


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