pear, blue cheese and walnut salad with a maple syrup vinaigrette

by Sam on May 9, 2011

pear and blue cheese salad with a maple vinaigrette

This post has become my most well read post on Drizzle and Dip, and I simply could not leave it out of my cookbook which was published last year. This image is the image from the book.

Here is the post as it was originally published:

pear, blue cheese and walnut salad with a maple syrup vinaigrette

I would like to take this opportunity to honour the person that invented this salad, whoever you may be, because it is just perfect in its simplicity. I tried to google the origin of it, but was swamped with hundreds of recipes.

I had the pears, the walnuts and a lump of beautiful blue cheese and wanted to make something a bit different based on the fact that this is not new, and has been somewhat overdone, but it really is difficult to alter a dish that is already a symphony of flavour with lovely textural, crunchy bits.

beautiful crunchy texture in amongst salty and sweet

I decided to try a quick tortilla pizza bianco using these ingredients to see how that would work. And work, it most certainly did.

But I was in the mood for the ‘classic’ salad. So being in a ‘maple syrup’ frame of mind recently, and having thrown it over my oats with apple and pear  the other day, I made up a vinaigrette dressing with it to give the salad the sweetness I felt it needed.

Make the salad up using any nice lettuce leaves that you prefer.  I think rocket (arugula) works wonderfully here as this adds a nice peppery dimension to the sweet and salty. Slices of fresh pear, chunks of blue cheese and a sprinkling of raw walnuts and there you have it.

pear, blue cheese and walnut salad with a maple syrup vinaigrette


  • 2 generous handfuls rocket (leaves of your choice)
  • 2 pears, sliced
  • 150g blue cheese, broken into chunks
  • 50g crushed walnuts for sprinkling
  • dressing
  • 60ml olive oil (4 Tbs)
  • 30 ml red wine vinegar (2 Tbs)
  • 20ml maple syrup (1 Tbs and 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt


  1. Place the salad ingredients in a bowl or arrange on a platter.
  2. Mix the vinaigrette dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well before drizzling over the salad.


Its best to make the salad just before serving as the pears go brown very quickly

a classic

it definitely has a bit of the X factor

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Leave a Comment

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula at Dishing The Divine May 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm

For a minute there, I was wondering what “dijon mustard maple syrup” was and wondered where I’d get that. Then I realized it was a problem with a line break. :)

This salad looks delish! I’ve been making a similar salad LOTS lately. It’s similar to yours, except that the nuts are heated with sugar so that they become candied. *Huge* fan of those. :)

Michael May 10, 2011 at 7:17 am


What ingredient is the 3rd item in vinaigrette recipe – 20ml ?

Sam May 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

Oh thanks so much for catching that Michael, *oops* its the maple syrup.

Sam May 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

Thank you Paula for picking up my typo there (the joys of editing your own work), Your salad with oranges sounded quite interesting.

Nicole May 11, 2011 at 12:18 am

The salad looks amazing, but I am really wondering where you got that super cute bowl?

Charissa May 11, 2011 at 1:45 am

Oh my! This really tickles my fancy right now…I’m not a big fan of blue cheese though, but I think goat cheese would be a terrific addition. Love your site!!! (found you via Foodgawker!)

Sam May 11, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hi Nicole, I bought it at a logal interior shop. I love in Cape Town, South Africa and I see you are in Alaska. A part of the world I have always wanted to visit.

Sam May 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

Hi Charissa, I think goats cheese will work out just as well. Enjoy!

Joyce van Kampen August 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Try the blue cheese and pear salad with caramelized pecan nuts and home made croutons, I have made it several times now and my guests thought it was a world class salad! Just melt brown sugar on low heat until it is starting to melt, then add the pecan nuts and stir for a few minutes ( take it of the heat if necessary) . Croutons: cut a french baguette, put olive oil on it and rub the garlic in, place it in the oven (180 degr.) and bake it until golden brown, crunch it into smaller pieces and drizzle over the salad.

Sam August 22, 2011 at 7:11 am

Wow Joyce your additions sound delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Kasey February 9, 2012 at 2:51 am

Thank you so much for sharing this. I made this tonight and it was wonderful. Especially the dressing. It feels so good to eat a salad dressing that I know exactly how it was made and what’s in it.

Sam February 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

Hi Kasey, glad you enjoyed the recipe, it adds just a touch of sweetness :-)

Steph @ Crafting in the Rain February 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

Yum! I make something similar with apples.
I’ll have to try it with pears one of these days!

Dena March 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I’ve eaten this 2 days in a row now and it is delicious! I used feta instead of blue cheese, and 100% pure maple syrup. Thanks so much for the great recipe!!!!

Sam March 7, 2012 at 6:53 am

Awesome Dena, glad you like. I made mine with maple syrup too.

Joni July 12, 2012 at 8:05 am

I plan on making this for a bridal shower, but I was wondering, how many people do you think the recipe would feed in the above quantities of ingredients?

Thanks so much!

Sam July 12, 2012 at 8:25 am

Hi Joni – work on the following quantity to serve 4:
2 generous handfuls of rocket (arugula) or other leaves
2 pears sliced (so roughly 1/2 a pear per person)
150g blue cheese (so around 30 – 40g) per person
50g of crushed walnuts for sprinkling

But add or subtract whatever you want to use more or less of.

Enjoy and I hope the party goes well

Jodi October 5, 2012 at 12:54 am

I made this salad and salad dressing tonight and it was fabulous!! I will be making it again for sure!! Thank you!!

Sam October 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Glad you enjoyed Jodi, thanks for leaving a message :-)

Pattie March 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I found this on pinterest. I had it for lunch, it was wonderful. I didn’t have any blue cheese, so I added feta instead. Thank you for sharing

Jan February 15, 2014 at 5:05 am

I just made this for lunch – it was sensational and the MOTH is raving about it. I used Pecans from the Tweed Valley just down the road, our own lettuce and new season pears from Stanthorpe! The cheese was a Shropshire Blue – rich, yellow and creamy. The dressing was wonderful! Thank you!

Sam February 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Hi Jan- all those ingredients sound amazing. Glad you liked

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