Fall Fest 2010: Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing

by Cate on October 5, 2010

Heaven on a Plate-1

When I saw that this week’s Fall Fest topic was calling for Fall Salads, I knew exactly the recipe to contribute.  This Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing has been in our Fall rotation (and really, all the other seasons too), for a few years, and the first time I heard about it was when someone on the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards dubbed it “heaven on a plate.”  He was not too far off!  I mentioned it to a friend of mine today and was promptly met by a chorus of “ewwws,” along with a very polite no thank you.  He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

The maple flavor definitely screams Fall, and with the addition of crumbled bleu cheese and some candied walnuts, it’s a wonderful salad that you can throw together in minutes, and I bet you have the dressing ingredients right in your cupboard now.  With dressing recipes like these, you can just skip that bottled salad dressing aisle in your local grocery store.  It’s pretty enough to use when you’re entertaining company, and simple enough that you can have it on a crazy sports-scheduled weeknight when time is short.

Perfect Fall Flavors-1

This Honey-Cinnamon Vinaigrette recipe from last week would be another wonderful Fall salad alternative.  Need more Fall Salad flavor options?  Go on and take a look at what my fellow Fall Festers are serving up tonight (more to come tomorrow):

Project 365
October 5, 2010, Photo #173

Good Times-1

With six kids crowded around the dining room table tonight, I just may need to lug the leaf and extra chairs up from the basement. The salad? Kid-approved. Even by the littlest at the head of the table.

A year ago todaythe end of Gourmet magazine.
Two years ago todayglittered skulls and a menu plan (those were the days!).
Three years ago todayan OMG recipe from The Neighbor Husband.
Four years ago todaycomfort food at its best.
Five years ago todaya picture of Nick and The Girlfriend at our first dinner together, and a bittersweet memory.

Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray.

1 10 oz. package of baby spinach
1/3 lb bleu cheese, crumbled
6 oz. walnut halves, toasted if desired (I used candied walnuts)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Place spinach on a large platter. Top with bleu cheese and walnuts. Warm maple syrup in a small saucepan. (I nuked in microwave) Pour vinegar into a small bowl. Whisk oil into the vinegar in a slow stream. Whisk maple syrup into dressing in a slow stream. Pour dressing over the salad platter and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne October 6, 2010 at 6:16 am

How could anyone say EWW to something like a maple infused dressing? To me that sounds like heaven on a plate. I bet it would be great with some winter squash and chickpeas for lunch!


Julie Church October 6, 2010 at 7:16 am

Here is one of my favorite fall salads.

Apple-Pear Salad


1 (16 oz.) package Romaine lettuce, washed and broken into bite-size pieces
1 (6 oz.) block Swiss cheese, grated
1 C cashews
1/2 C sweetened dried cranberries
1 large apple, chopped and rinsed in lemon water to keep from turning brown
1 large pear, chopped and rinsed in lemon water to keep from turning brown
Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (recipe below)


Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Poppy Seed Salad Dressing


1/2 C sugar
2/3 C oil
1/4 C vinegar
1 t mustard
1 t salt
1-2 t poppy seeds


Place in jar and shake to combine.


Kris #40 October 6, 2010 at 8:56 am

Looks yummy! Add some grilled chicken and it’s the perfect meal!

My favorite lately has been mixed greens with feta, dried cranberries, diced apple and candied walnuts or pecans and the bottled Panera Balsamic dressing.


sandhya@vegetarianirvana October 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

As a vegetarian that could be my complete meal, maybe add something carby like beets or potatoes and I would be done.
Some salad toppings are good to have in stand by mode to dress up any salad or even as munchies! Please check out here at


Ranjani October 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

This salad looks great! I bet that maple dressing is delicious, I’ll definitely have to try it.
This week I made a beet and apple salad:


Purple Cook October 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

For Fall Fest:
This simple Arugula and Mustard Salad captures the taste of fall.


Kathleen October 6, 2010 at 11:26 am

This salad is right for me, I think you may enjoy mine too. My fallfest salad contribution is a favorite I first had in Paris.


Sarah Caron October 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm

His loss! I will take his portion. That sounds (and looks) like something I could eat daily for weeks and weeks.


Rachel October 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Yum! I all made a salad for Fall Fest that has walnuts and blue cheese… well, it called for Stilton but I used Danish Blue instead.

Fall Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Stilton


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. October 7, 2010 at 11:35 am

I love blue cheese and walnuts. Yum. My post for Fall Fest is for http://www.ingredientsinc.net/2010/10/fall-fest-fall-salad-black-eyed-pea-salad-over-arugula/


Ramona October 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

It sounds good except for the blue cheese. Substitute it out for me!


Briana October 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Please try out my harvest orzo salad for a healthy and hearty fall entertaining dish: http://kitchenjourneys.com/2010/10/12/harvest-orzo-salad/


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