Roquefort Pear or Apple Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
This family favorite salad is sweet and tangy from the fruit, sharp and salty from the blue cheese, and delightfully crunchy from the caramelized pecans. The easy vinaigrette pulls it all together and can be kept on hand for healthy, satisfying salads at a moment's notice.

For the salad:

  • 5-6 ounces (about 5-6 cups) mixed greens or baby spinach
  • 1 large apple or pear, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) Roquefort or blue cheese of choice, crumbled
  • ½ an avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • ¼ of a small red onion, thinly sliced (may substitute 2-3 thinly sliced green onions)
  • ⅓-½ cup candied pecans (store-bought or homemade: I like this Spiced Pecan recipe or the quick option below)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries

For the vinaigrette:

  • ⅓ cup (74 grams) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) red wine vinegar*
  • 1½ teaspoons white sugar*
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced (I omit when in a hurry)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of the pepper mill


  1. For the vinaigrette: add the oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to a jar, and shake well to emulsify. Prep ahead tip: The dressing may be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and shake well before using.

    To a large salad bowl, add the lettuce, pear or apple, blue cheese, avocado, onions, pecans and cranberries. Drizzle the dressing over salad - start with ¼ to ⅓ cup or so - and toss to evenly coat the leaves. Add more to taste, and refrigerate leftover dressing for future use.


I have substituted apple cider vinegar for the red wine vinegar and maple syrup for the sugar with excellent results. My personal favorite by a smidge is the red wine vinegar; it’s difficult to discern a difference between the sugar and maple syrup.

1 tablespoon (15g) butter
¼ cup (50g) light brown sugar
1 cup (100g) walnut halves or whole pecans (raw)
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. (You’ll need this when it’s time to cool the nuts.) Melt the butter and sugar together in a small skillet over low heat. Add the nuts and the salt. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, about 1 minute. Continue to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. (Quick tip: Resist the urge to sneak a bite; the sugar is very hot and you could burn your tongue.) Spread the nuts out on the lined tray. The glaze will set as the nuts cool.

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