Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in | 14 Comments

This salad is bursting with new fall produce for a deliciously fun cold weather comfort salad.  Spice roasted butternut squash, juicy pears, buttery pecans, salty blue cheese, dried cherries, and pomegranate seeds mingle together in an easy Maple-Cider vinaigrette.

Choose ripe Comice or Anjou pears for this salad.  For a variation on pear slicing, set the pear on its side and make thin slices all the way down to the root, leaving off the root so the pear has an even base to balance on.  Turn it back up, place it in the center of the salad, then fan the slices slightly apart from one another until it looks like edible art.

All the flavors pair well with one another and although there are many sweet ingredients, the salad holds a very savory quality because of the blue cheese, nuts, and butternut squash.  It is a great salad if you are a fan of salty and sweet!

Fall Harvest Salad

2 main course or 4 side dish servings 

1/2 cup whole pecans

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and sliced into bite-sized half moon shapes

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon chili powder

4 tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries

2-4 ripe pears (comice or anjou)

1 pomegranate, seeds removed (optional)

1/4-1/3 cup mild blue cheese (Amish Blue or Stella), goat cheese, or no cheese

1 5 ounce box heirloom lettuces or other delicate leaf lettuce (delicate mixed greens better than romaine or iceberg here)

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette, recipe below

Turn oven to 400.  Place butternut squash on rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, spices, salt, and pepper.  Roast 10 minutes, or until squash pieces are mostly tender.  Stir the squash around and add the pecans to the sheet.  Roast another 5 minutes, until pecans are fragrant and squash is cooked through.

Meanwhile make the dressing, recipe below, and prepare the other ingredients by slicing the pears, crumbling the cheese, and removing the seeds from the pomegranate fruit.

Toss lettuce with 3/4 of dressing and a sprinkle of salt.  Divide among plates.  Place a pear in the center of the salad and slightly fan out the layers.  Drizzle a small amount of dressing over the top of the pear.  Nestle warm butternut squash, toasty whole pecans, large chunks of cheese, pomegranate seeds, and dried berries decoratively around the pear and over the lettuce.  Serve immediately.

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon grainy dijon mustard

1-2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup (1 tablespoon tastes good if you are watching sugar but 2 gives more maple flavor)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

pinch of salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a small glass jar (I like jam jars) with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.




  1. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake
    October 23, 2012

    I really need to buy some blue cheese, been dying to put it in my dishes lately…it looks fantastic in this salad!

    • Jessie
      October 24, 2012

      Thanks! Normally I am not a huge blue cheese fan but I love the mild Stella brand, especially in this salad with the roasted pecans and dried cranberry combo. :)

  2. Kankana
    November 1, 2012

    Oh my! The pear. It makes me wanna grab a bite :)

    • Jessie
      November 1, 2012

      Then the photo is working! Yay! ;)

  3. @serenablanca
    November 18, 2012

    I made this beautiful salad for my BFF last night. Used the goat cheese, and honey instead of maple syrup. It was was warm and crunchy and everything you want from a tastey salad. Best part: all ingrediant are in season and therefore cheap! You can check your local farmers market and buy local. Also, instead of buying prepackaged peacans or craisins utilized the despencers in stores like Whole Foods and just get what ya need!!! I’ll be checking out your site for more fabulous!!! Check out my photo of this amazing salad on twitter @serenablanca

    • Planet Earth Catering
      September 10, 2014

      This is one of the nicest looking salads I’ve ever seen. Just insanely beautiful! Nicely done and photographed!

  4. Halloween Countdown Day 9: Fall HarvestFan of Stuff
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    […] The maple cider vinaigrette brings the flavors of butternut squash, pecans, blue cheese, pear, and pomegranate together. Recipe here. […]

  6. saltandserenity
    October 27, 2014

    Oh my! I am just loving the food styling in the first shot. That pear is just unbelievably gorgeous. Your styling and photography skills are wonderful.

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  9. jeanne butler
    December 24, 2014

    what a beautiful salad and so good to eat! What a pleasure this salad brings!! Thanks!

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    […] Fall Harvest Salad from Jessie Monds […]

  11. suzanne
    January 22, 2015

    Hi Jessie,
    I am a high school culinary arts teacher and we want to use your recipe in our competition for our salad entry (crediting you as our source for the recipe, on our paperwork). My questions are:
    1. My understanding is that the pear is just as fresh pear and not poached or prepared in any way. What do you think about poaching the pear and then cutting it?
    2. Sorry I don’t understand your explanation for turning the pear on its’ side and cutting it. Can you clarify this for me please?
    3. How did you actually handle the pear while you were cutting it as shown above?
    The students will be judged on their knife skills and safety with the chef knife, so I was hoping you could further explain exactly how you mastered this beautiful cut in the photo.
    You are talented and love your presentation.


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