This is the best salad I've ever eaten and I make it all the time. It is tangy from the blue cheese, fruity from the pears, and crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The mustard vinaigrette pulls it all together.

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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.

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  • For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.

  • In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.

Nutrition Facts

426 calories; 31.6 g total fat; 21 mg cholesterol; 654 mg sodium. 33.1 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (1476)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/14/2006
Awesome! Have made this several times now since I found it almost a year ago, and it never fails to get rave reviews, out of the 80 or so recipes I have tried off of this site, this has been by far the most successful! Instead of tossing the salad, I layer it as pictured on a large serving plate, b/c I think it looks so striking that way. FYI - Roquefort is a type of blue cheese, so it can be easily substituted with your favorite blue. I buy a good Danish Blue from Trader Joes. For lettuce I use 1 and 1/2 of the 10 oz. size bags of mixed greens...perfect amt. of lettuce. I use bosc pears, I find that they have good crunch that compliments the rest of the salad. Use red onion instead of green for color. I omit the avocado, unneccesary and browns fast, which isn't helpful if you are traveling with this salad. The dressing...is absolutely amazing. I always use dijon mustard for extra "tang". Double the dressing, and please use the red wine vinegar, as the recipe states! Don't sub in balsamic, it is much stronger than red wine and the taste would be off. The only other thing I do differently is add more carmelized pecans. BIGGEST CRUCIAL TIP: To properly carmelize your pecans, add 1-2 Tbsp. water to the pecans and sugar. This helps melt the sugar evenly over the pecans. If you do not add the water, the sugar may burn, or you will end up with rock hard sugar pieces that will break your teeth! Enjoy, if a salad can be considered phenomenal, this is it! Read More
(1247)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
01/09/2012
I very strongly disliked the flavor of mustard with pear. This salad would be great with a non-mustardy dressing or if the pears were substituted out with something less disgusting with mustard on it. Cucumbers maybe. I served this with "Famous Butter Chicken" from this site and rather liked dipping my chicken in the dressing but I wish my pears had just been in a dish on the side! Thanks for sharing -- if we all had the exact same tastes the world would be dull! Read More
(16)
2082 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1858
  • 4 star values: 175
  • 3 star values: 34
  • 2 star values: 10
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
12/14/2006
Awesome! Have made this several times now since I found it almost a year ago, and it never fails to get rave reviews, out of the 80 or so recipes I have tried off of this site, this has been by far the most successful! Instead of tossing the salad, I layer it as pictured on a large serving plate, b/c I think it looks so striking that way. FYI - Roquefort is a type of blue cheese, so it can be easily substituted with your favorite blue. I buy a good Danish Blue from Trader Joes. For lettuce I use 1 and 1/2 of the 10 oz. size bags of mixed greens...perfect amt. of lettuce. I use bosc pears, I find that they have good crunch that compliments the rest of the salad. Use red onion instead of green for color. I omit the avocado, unneccesary and browns fast, which isn't helpful if you are traveling with this salad. The dressing...is absolutely amazing. I always use dijon mustard for extra "tang". Double the dressing, and please use the red wine vinegar, as the recipe states! Don't sub in balsamic, it is much stronger than red wine and the taste would be off. The only other thing I do differently is add more carmelized pecans. BIGGEST CRUCIAL TIP: To properly carmelize your pecans, add 1-2 Tbsp. water to the pecans and sugar. This helps melt the sugar evenly over the pecans. If you do not add the water, the sugar may burn, or you will end up with rock hard sugar pieces that will break your teeth! Enjoy, if a salad can be considered phenomenal, this is it! Read More
(1247)
Rating: 5 stars
12/14/2006
Awesome! Have made this several times now since I found it almost a year ago, and it never fails to get rave reviews, out of the 80 or so recipes I have tried off of this site, this has been by far the most successful! Instead of tossing the salad, I layer it as pictured on a large serving plate, b/c I think it looks so striking that way. FYI - Roquefort is a type of blue cheese, so it can be easily substituted with your favorite blue. I buy a good Danish Blue from Trader Joes. For lettuce I use 1 and 1/2 of the 10 oz. size bags of mixed greens...perfect amt. of lettuce. I use bosc pears, I find that they have good crunch that compliments the rest of the salad. Use red onion instead of green for color. I omit the avocado, unneccesary and browns fast, which isn't helpful if you are traveling with this salad. The dressing...is absolutely amazing. I always use dijon mustard for extra "tang". Double the dressing, and please use the red wine vinegar, as the recipe states! Don't sub in balsamic, it is much stronger than red wine and the taste would be off. The only other thing I do differently is add more carmelized pecans. BIGGEST CRUCIAL TIP: To properly carmelize your pecans, add 1-2 Tbsp. water to the pecans and sugar. This helps melt the sugar evenly over the pecans. If you do not add the water, the sugar may burn, or you will end up with rock hard sugar pieces that will break your teeth! Enjoy, if a salad can be considered phenomenal, this is it! Read More
(1247)
Rating: 5 stars
05/22/2007
I was fully expecting to be disappointed just because of all the excellent reviews this recipe has gotten but it was fantastic. The combination of creaminess (cheese avocado) sweetness (pear nuts) crunchiness (nuts) and the tangy dressing really deliver. I did not think it was possible to crave a salad but I was wrong!! Thank you Thank you Thank you! NOTE: I have made this recipe a few times now. I decided to try someone else's advice to add water when caramelizing the pecans to cut down on the time and I very much regretted doing that. You end up with sugar coated pecans rather then caramelized ones. Not at all the same taste and texture. Read More
(408)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/09/2005
This salad is fabulous... got raves at my holiday brunch. I definitely recommend doubling the dressing recipe, as well as making it the nite before as it really allows the flavors to blend. Don't skimp out on the avocado... the creamy texture is a wonderful addition!! Read More
(309)
Rating: 5 stars
05/04/2006
I've probably made this 10 times since trying it a couple of months ago! It's THAT good! I use romaine lettuce and sweet Mayan onion. I doubled all the dressing ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil (still emulsifies just fine), and used dijon mustard. When making the candied nuts, I did 2 or 3 times the amounts listed and put the extra in a container - that way I could have the salad again without taking the time to do the nuts! Also, when the nuts were ALMOST done, I sprinkled a small amount of salt over them to balance against all the sugar. This is my all-time favorite salad! Even people who don't like blue cheese (I used to be one of them) like a small amount of it in this salad with all its other ingredients! Read More
(167)
Rating: 5 stars
10/07/2004
I made this recipe and it was DELICIOUS! I substituted the blue cheese with gorgonzola cheese (its a little milder in my opinion) I would also recommend spraying the wax paper with PAM because it was hard to get the wax paper off the nuts. Read More
(126)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/01/2006
Awesome! I've made this salad for 4 different holiday events and it was always the first thing to go everyone keeps asking me for the recipe! I did make a few changes though I omitted the avocado as I'm not a hige fan I also used mixed greens instead of leaf lettuce I used thinly sliced red onion for color I used walnuts intstead of pecans only because it's what I had and since my husband doesn't care for blue cheese I used gorgonzola. I made it this way each time and each time i got asked to bring it to another party! I put the ingredients in baggies and toss right before serving. YUM! Read More
(115)
Rating: 5 stars
04/23/2006
I loved this salad...although I thought the recipe did not make enough dressing. I would definitely double that! Read More
(81)
Rating: 5 stars
11/08/2005
This was excellent. I made it for a dinner party and it was gone. I'm a big fan of the Harvest Vine salad (on allrecipes too) and this hit that same nice flavor. I used walnuts instead and next time I will just toast them (or maybe just use a bit less sugar). I also used walnut oil insteead of olive oil. It complimented the salad very well. (If you use hazelnuts you might want to consider hazelnut oil). I omitted the avocado and think next time I make it (and there will be a next time!) I might sprinkle some dried cranberries on top for some added color. Besides these small changes I think the recipe is great and is sure to impress the fam and/or company! Read More
(68)
Rating: 5 stars
11/08/2005
The best salad I have ever had! I made it for a dinner party and everyone loved it! I followed to directions exactly. It is perfection! Read More
(53)
Rating: 3 stars
01/09/2012
I very strongly disliked the flavor of mustard with pear. This salad would be great with a non-mustardy dressing or if the pears were substituted out with something less disgusting with mustard on it. Cucumbers maybe. I served this with "Famous Butter Chicken" from this site and rather liked dipping my chicken in the dressing but I wish my pears had just been in a dish on the side! Thanks for sharing -- if we all had the exact same tastes the world would be dull! Read More
(16)