Follow Me on Pinterest Pin It!

Pear, Walnut and Bleu Cheese Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing from Nordstrom’s Cafe

Pear, Walnut and Gorgonzola salad with Maple Dijon Dressing

by Barbara Kiebel on January 10, 2011

I first posted this recipe almost 2 years ago, when I was using a camera on the verge of dying and when I had to use pecans in lieu of my beloved walnuts. So it seemed appropriate when I made it again this past week that I do a re-posting. I absolutely love the pear and bleu cheese salad at Nordstrom’s Cafe so decided to try making something similar at home. Their salad is simple; pear, bleu cheese, and candied walnuts served over mixed greens; I don’t recall if the red onions were their idea or mine but no matter, they are a perfect complement both in taste and color. The dressing served with the salad at the cafe, while good, was their bottled Champagne vinaigrette and I just wanted something a bit different and love the maple syrup dressing with Dijon mustard that I found online.

My daughter worked at the local Nordstrom’s cafe in high school, interned there after college and is now one of their Visual team members so she has a long history there. They’ve always been happy to share recipes with me so I’m lucky to have the real deal for the Champagne vinaigrette. The manager of the Cafe recently told me that if I get requests from readers for a certain recipe that they would like to try recreating at home to let them know and they’ll be happy to accommodate me if they can. Let me know if there is something you’ve enjoyed there that you would like to try at home and I’ll see what I can do!

I actually used Gorgonzola when I made it this week in lieu of bleu cheese. I prefer the milder taste and more often have it on hand. Though my original post had pecans in lieu of walnuts because they are what was available in my pantry, my latest effort included a surprise gift of walnuts from my @CAWalnuts friend Sara on Twitter ( I’m having a walnut sort of year. You know; sometimes you do just feel like a nut and the nut I’m feeling  most like is toasted walnuts!

I was also so lucky to receive some amazing maple syrup from another Twitter friend in Canada, Paula at @vanillabeanbake (, and I wanted to use it for this salad. Doesn’t it just look so, well, authentic?! It was fun making something with gifts from friends; the only thing that could beat that is if they were here enjoying this salad with me. Thank you so much Sara and Paula! I love this dressing; using real Canadian maple syrup just raises it another notch!

This dressing is a perfect combination of olive oil, Dijon mustard and maple syrup with candied walnuts. We originally enjoyed it on Mother’s Day last year but it’s equally good now, after so many holiday indulgences when we are craving something lighter but still bursting with flavor. Although I served it with salmon on both occasions, I know it would also be wonderful with grilled chicken.

Pear, Walnut and Bleu Cheese Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing from Nordstrom’s Cafe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Pear, Walnut and Bleu Cheese Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing from Nordstrom’s Cafe


    For the Salad:
  • Mesclun greens, 4-6 cups
  • 2 pears, peeled and chopped (toss with some lemon juice to keep them from discoloring if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion rings, halved
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2/3 cup Maple Candied Walnuts or Pecans (in a pinch, just toast some nuts), roughly chopped
  • For the Maple Candied Walnuts or Pecans:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves
  • For Maple Dijon Vinaigrette:
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • pepper to taste
  • For Nordstrom's Champagne Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Champagne wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups salad oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper


    To Make Candied Walnuts:
  1. Melt the butter in a pan
  2. Mix in the maple syrup and pepper
  3. Add the pecans and toss to coat
  4. Cook on medium low heat about 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
  5. Turn out on aluminum foil and let cool for 5 minutes; break apart if necessary.
  6. To Make either Dressing:
  7. Mix all ingredients in bowl using wire whisk. Place greens on individual plates. Sprinkle chopped pears, nuts and gorgonzola on top of salad greens. Drizzle dressing over salad or serve on the side to suit individual tastes. Beautiful and delicious.


I like to include the old picture on posts I redo. So you can laugh…or maybe gain some encouragement that practice, while not necessarily meaning perfect, can certainly see a road to improvement!




Thanks for visiting...I would love to hear from you!

CommentLuv badge

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Draven May 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

My gf absolutely loves the salmon nicoise salad from nordstrom cafe. If its no trouble i’d like the recipe to make for her on her birthday which is readily coming up. :D Cheers! :D


2 Creative Culinary May 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I have not had the time to break it down from the restaurant portions but I’ve got the original files from Nordstrom’s I’ll send to your email if you want to try and fiddle with those figures yourself…hope that helps!


3 Tonna Gartrell May 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Hello. I love this salad thank you very much for sharing. I will be trying it soon. Also, you mentioned that you are able to get other recipes and I absolutely love their carrot cake. If you are able to get it I would love to make it. Thank you very much!


4 jen staffeldt January 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Hello – love your site! You wouldn’t happen to also have the recipe for Nordstrom’s creamy garlic vinaigrette, too? I had their shrimp salad with this dressing and warm polenta croutons and cannot find a recipe anywhere.


5 Creative Culinary January 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I don’t Jen and ‘normally’ I might suggest I would try to get it for you but I’m literally buried in work getting my home ready to go on sale. Cleaning, packing, pitching to the nth degree…if you remind me sometime down the road I’ll see what I can do.


6 Eleanor Gomes January 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Made this salad tonight and it was delicious. My husband and granddaughter absolutely loved it. This recipe was a real find. Would like the recipe for the Nicoise salad also.


7 Creative Culinary January 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

So glad you enjoyed it Eleanor; it’s been a favorite of mine for a long time. I don’t know if their renovated places even have it…I’m afraid to find out. I’ve not broken down the info for the Nicoise that they provided, they’re restaurant portions. I can send those if you want?


8 Eleanor Gomes January 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

Would love to have it. I’ve been working with recipes for many years so I’m sure I could work it out. Appreciate any help..thanks


9 Creative Culinary January 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

OK…sent via email. Enjoy!


10 Prena September 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Could you kindly please share the Nordie nicoise salad recipe. My husband and I absolutely love it. Thank you in advance.:))


11 Jennifer July 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

Could I get a copy of the nicoise salad? My husband is addicted to it and they make their salmon perfectly!! Thanks!


12 jenny July 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm

are you still able to share the salmon nicoise salad from nordstrom cafe? i would love tthe recipe!


13 Creative Culinary July 15, 2012 at 10:21 am

I had misplaced it but now it’s found! It is in proportions they use so you’ll have to break it down, but it’s been sent via email.


14 Carol February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

do you have the recipe for nordstrom cafe’s honey dijon dressing?


15 Creative Culinary February 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I do not Carol and the local store’s kitchen has closed for remodeling. I would suggest you substitute the maple syrup in the dijon dressing with honey in this recipe?


16 Wendy (The Local Cook) January 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

the maple Dijon vinaigrette sounds heavenly. A perfect balance to the pear, cheese, and candied nuts. Thank you so much for linking up to the salad recipe roundup.
Wendy (The Local Cook) Most Recent Post: Four Essential Sauces


17 Creative Culinary January 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

It is Wendy; this is seriously one of my most favorite salads…I always have good intentions but it’s what I order each and every time I visit the Cafe too.


18 Jill September 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

Hi! Is it too late to get a copy of the Salmon Nicoise salad from Nordstrom’s cafe? Thank you so much for sharing the other recipe here. I’m making it tonight. Thanks!


19 Creative Culinary September 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Glad I could help Jill…let me know if you make the Salad Nicoise and how it turns out…I might bug you for the revision to ‘family’ portions.


20 Lori January 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Could I PLEASE get the recipe for Nordstrom Nicoise Salmon Salad. It is my favorite.!!!!Could you e-mail me your recipe?
Many thanks!


21 Creative Culinary January 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

On it’s way…well, their version is. I have yet to break it down so you’ll have to fiddle with the recipe a bit if that’s OK.

And now I’ve spent 20 minutes trying to locate the file folder with the recipe pages without success. I have to leave…maybe it will magically come to me later; I’ll send them when I can find them or ask Nordstrom’s to send me copies again. But me if you need to; I’ve got a lot on my plate right now!


22 Stacey February 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I would love a copy of the salmon nicoise recipe. Someone below mentioned having it at the Park Meadows location. In case you havn’t heard they closed the cafe last Sunday for remodeling and the nicoise salad will NOT be on the new menu!!! I ate it everyday last week :(


23 Creative Culinary February 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I had a reader ask for it recently and I’ve searched everywhere for it. They are typically pretty good about sharing…I would have to contact the staff at Park Meadows but they’re not there during the renovation…could you contact the staff at the Cherry Creek store and see if they’ll provide that for you?


24 Lynn June 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I can’t stay away from the Nordstrom Nicoise Salmon Salad whenever I’m at Park Meadows. It is my favorite. Could you e-mail me your recipe.
Thanks bunches…


25 Creative Culinary June 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Lynn, I have that recipe already if you’re prepared to knock it down from restaurant portions. I’ll have to search for it now but it’s around somewhere!


26 Dee January 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

The Nordstrom Salad Nicoise with dijon balsamic is my very favorite! Would you mind please forwarding me the recipe?

Many thanks!

Dee in VA


27 Creative Culinary January 30, 2011 at 7:22 am

Dee, hope you’ll let me know how it turns out and have fun with those restaurant proportions!


28 foodwanderings January 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

How did I miss this? I Love, LOVE Love, Nordstrom Cafe and addicted to their salads!! Been a fan for years!! Love this salad, of course and your touch of using milder cheese and maple gift, which makes it the more special!! Drooling here too!!


29 Creative Culinary January 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Well, let’s meet there for lunch soon, how’s that?


30 Lemons and Anchovies January 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

One of the nicest things about shopping at Nordstrom is the lunch break I take in their cafe. I usually get a salad–this or their Salmon Nicoise. Thanks for sharing the recipe. That first picture has me thinking of lunch before I’ve even had breakfast!


31 Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks January 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Barb. Great new picture – the colors and textures inviting. I’m going to ask to see your new camera the next time I see you. I also like this salad with manchego cheese.


32 Creative Culinary January 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I’ll be happy to show you my new baby. I have yet to figure it all out so guess it’s a good thing it’s not a real baby or there would be big trouble!


33 Nancy/SpicieFoodie January 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

What a scrumptious salad! Your photo makes me want to dig right in. All of the ingredients sound so great that the salad just sounds like a winner all around. By the way, it’s my first time here and you have great recipes and photography. Have a great day!


34 Creative Culinary January 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Thank you Nancy…I guess that’s what we really hope for; to make the dish look as good as it tastes!


35 Amelia from Z Tasty Life January 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

wow…every element in this recipe is amazing and so well paired: the pear-blue-cheese combination, the maple candied walnuts, the champagne vinaigrette… this is a winner for any dinner (not only for a ladies’ lunch)


36 Creative Culinary January 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

My absolute favorite I must admit! Wish I had a pear tree.


37 Elizabeth January 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

Oh yes, one of my most favourite of salads! And wow does that dressing sound good. Dijon is like water in my house…it’s in everything!


38 Creative Culinary January 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I would probably have it a LOT if not for the fact that finding good pears is not that easy. Buying them hard as a rock does not spell good results for me!


39 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen January 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I agree with you, walnuts are the best. I’d choose those over pecans any day. Candied walnuts are dangerous to have around though, as I’m afraid most would end up in my stomach before they would make it into the salad!


40 Creative Culinary January 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I didn’t used to be that way…but toasting or cooking walnuts in any way changes the way they taste so much for me…it’s elevated them above the ‘p’ word now!


41 shayma January 13, 2011 at 8:29 am

this is so lovely- this is a salad that reminds me of mother-daughter time. it’s my mum’s favourite salad and we go to Nordstrom whenever i am visiting her in Potomac, Maryland. it’s wonderful to see that there are others who love it and have shared the recipe. x shayma


42 Creative Culinary January 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Nice…now you could make it for your mum? Bet she would love that; I know I would.


43 RJ Flamingo January 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I have had this salad on the brain for the last 2 days! Finally went to the store today to get pears. I still haven’t unpacked the groceries, but threw this baby together as soon as I walked in the door! Both me and my husband loved it! But really? how can you go wrong? And in 20 minutes, I had the walnuts glazed and toasted, the maple dijon vinaigrette shaken up in a well-sealed container, pears chopped & eating! Yum!


44 Renee (Kudos Kitchen) January 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

I do believe I could dive head first in this salad and never have to come up for air! Love everything about it!!! Nice.


45 Andra@FrenchPressMemos January 11, 2011 at 11:35 pm

There is something great about a nice pear and gorgonzola salad this time of the year. We know we should have a salad but it is winter- this hits the spot. And good job on the new and improved pictures!


46 Creative Culinary January 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

I do eat a lot of salads this time of year after holiday indulgences but I don’t skimp either. I watch breakfast and lunch carefully so that my dinner salad can have meat or cheese and even ‘real’ dressing in moderation but is still a lean course and filling. More to come!


47 Nancy@acommunaltable January 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

Guess what I am now making for dinner??? Brain isn’t firing on all cylinders and the answer to my question of what to make for dinner just appeared – this fabulous salad!!

I love that you posted your original photo – look how far you have come!!!!!! (Take that TS and FG!!).


48 Creative Culinary January 12, 2011 at 11:24 am

Too much partying can lead to that you know? Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


49 SMITH BITES January 11, 2011 at 11:17 am

yes, this is one of the very first salads we tried when we veered away from ‘packaged salad mixes’ many, MANY moons ago, thank God!! i do remember taking that first bite and silence – we both looked at each other, eyes wides – you’d thought we’d just discovered America!


50 Lea Ann January 11, 2011 at 5:59 am

Beautiful salad Barb. Love having this dressing recipe, thanks for posting it and thanks to Nordstrom for sharing. Now I’m really looking forward to a trip to the cafe.


51 Jennifer January 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

This looks soooo yummy. And it’s nice to see how things have progressed on your site. I do like the original picture, but have to say your new photo looks amazing.


52 Dinners & Dreams January 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Pear, blue cheese and walnuts add the crunch and flavor salads sometimes lack. The dressing is wonderful too.



53 Creative Culinary January 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

You are so right…it’s hearty enough for me that I can eat it for dinner as a main course; and I would tonight but just used up my last pear. Sad :(


54 Chris January 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

This is my kind of salad! If I had all the ingredients, and wasn’t snowed in…I would be all over it. :) Have the pears, and the cheese, not lettuce, or most everything else. LOL Oh well. Next trip to the store….list will be with me. Yum!


55 Creative Culinary January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I know that feeling; pretty well stocked but want to make a dish in the issue of Food and Wine that showed up today. Red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and pine nuts. Hmm…guessing it will be cabbage-less!


56 Kim January 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Barb – delicious! Love that you shared with us Nordstrom’s salad. Used to frequent cafe often when I worked near one. Now, not so much.

Oh, and I love that you’re keeping the old picture – what a great way to show how far your photog skills have advanced!!



57 Creative Culinary January 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I haven’t been in awhile but every time I go I am determined to try something new. I fail; I get this salad.


58 Boulder Locavore January 10, 2011 at 11:07 am

This looks and sounds delicious. I love the idea of maple syrup and dijon in the dressing at this time of year. And nothing is more fabulous than incorporating gifts into the making. I really DO think it makes it more special. BTW your first photo is not bad!


59 Creative Culinary January 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I just love it; sometimes wonder why I don’t do it more often but it’s all dependent on getting good pears!


60 My Kitchen in the Rockies January 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

This is my kind of salad and I have a very similar recipe. It is with baked and spiced pecans. I like the improved picture you took with your new camera. Are you happy with your new camera? I got a new one, too and like it a lot.
Whenever my mother in law is in town she has to stop at the Nordstrom Cafe.


61 Brian @ A Thought For Food January 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

I used to go with my mom to the Nordstrom’s Cafe at the Short Hills Mall in NJ. They had the most wonderful salads (and some awesome popovers too). Love all of the ingredients here… but that dressing is the real star in my opinion.


62 Paula January 10, 2011 at 7:56 am

It would be awesome to be able to sit together and share some conversation and this salad with you Barb, especially since your changed up the bleu cheese for Gorgonzola (not a big fan of bleu) LOL! This is the first recipe I’ve seen for salad dressing using maple syrup and I will definitely try it as I will Nordstrom’s Champagne Vinaigrette. Thanks for posting this again and thank you for the mention. I’m happy you are enjoying a little bit of Canada in Colorado!


63 Debbie June 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Would love to get the recipe for Nordstrom’s Nicoise Salad with Salmon – get it every time I go there!!


64 Kathy Persinger May 3, 2010 at 8:08 am

I love the Nicoise salad with salmon with the dijon balsamic vinaigrette. We live over an hour from the nearest Nordstrom cafe so I don’ get it very often. Did your daughter happen to get the recipe for that dressing?


65 Creative Culinary May 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Kathy…I’ll ask my daughter; she’s actually back working on the Visual Team with Nordstrom’s so is there every day. I had heard that they were no longer giving out printed recipes but no harm in asking. I’ll let you know.


66 Pauline Gerali June 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Could I get the recipe for the Nordstrom’s Nicoise Salad with Salmon?

Thank you so much!


67 Creative Culinary May 6, 2010 at 10:02 am

Kathy, made a call, getting the recipe emailed to me…helps to have them know my daughter, but they also understand it’s good for them to have a blogger espousing their fabulous food! I’ll let you know again when it’s up; could you go to contact form and send me an email address?


68 Emily May 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Tried this tonight…. absolutely delicious! Crisp pears and tangy cheese blended with the maple/dijon dressing were perfect. A must try!


{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: