Candied Pecan, Apple, and Gorgonzola Salad

I’m guilty of picking out the marshmallows of the Lucky Charms cereal, for licking just the frosting off a slice of cake, and for eating just the pepperonis off the pizza. I’m a topping picker. So sue me. Or just don’t share anything with me. That would be no fun…for you.

Salads are no exception. By the time I’m done eating a salad, all of the goodies are gone with just a bunch of lettuce left.

Last time I was visiting Arizona my sister made this salad for our Sunday dinner and I fell in love with it. Although it does have a lot of toppings for me to pick off, I enjoy the whole salad. The apples and gorgonzola cheese are the perfect compliment to each other. Recently I was in charge of making the salad for over 200 women for a church event. This is the salad I made because I knew it would be a hit.

Who are we kidding?
You know I put twice as many toppings on my own salad but here’s what a normal person salad would look like.
The hardest part about this salad is the candied pecans. They definitely make the salad so you can’t skip them. Just make sure you give them a good 5-7 minutes of your undivided attention. You can do it. The key is to keep stirring continuously so that your sugar and pecans don’t burn.
I know that that’s a whole lot of apple and Gorgonzola below, but remember I was making this salad for 200 women. This is actually just half of the ingredients I prepared. Keep the skins on your apples for some color.You can buy Gorgonzola pre-crumbled or buy it in a chunk and chop it yourself. You want small pieces because a little of this cheese goes a long way.
I usually use half Brianna’s Poppy seed dressing and half Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette when I make this salad. For my church event I bought some of Brianna’s dressing and then realized it could get costly so I made my own vinaigrette for some of the salad to cut costs.

Candied Pecan, Apple, and Gorgonzola Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 cups of Romaine lettuce or other mixed greens
  • 1 large or 2 small apples, cored and diced (I like to use Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Gala)
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
  • Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing(see Note):
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Instructions

  1. To make the candied pecans, pour the sugar in a small skillet and pour the pecans on top. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns a caramel color stirring constantly so that the nuts and sugar do not burn. Be patient! It takes a while for the sugar to start melting. Once the sugar turns a caramel color coat keep stirring to coat the pecans with it. Pour pecans onto greased wax paper or aluminum foil to cool. Once pecans are cooled, break them into pieces.
  2. Note: If you happen to get to a point where your sugar will not melt and is just clumping, a quick fix is to add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan over the heat to get the sugar liquefied. Your pecans will not be as crisp but still taste yummy. Trust me, I made about 20 batches of these pecans and I got a little distracted during a couple of batches and wasn't stirring like I should.
  3. Place lettuce in a serving bowl and add apples, Gorgonzola cheese, and pecans. Toss with dressing right before serving or let people add their own dressing.
  4. For the dressing: In a blender, combine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place lid on blender and blend on high. While blender is running, add oil in a steady stream. Store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. Shake well before serving.

Notes

I like to use half Brianna's Poppyseed dressing and half Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette but any vinaigrette will due. This Red Wine Vinaigrette from Our Best Bites is good alternative too if you want to make your own.

Salad from my sister Susan; Dressing from Our Best Bites

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Comments

  1. Salad for 200?!? Must be Mormon.

  2. Wow, love it! The Mr will flip for that dressing!

  3. This looks delicious! Perfect for a spring baby shower! Thanks SO much!! :)

  4. Oh yum! Every bit of this salad sounds amazing!

  5. that is something i NEED to make for dinner someday

  6. This is such a lovely salad! I especially like those pecans!

  7. Look tasty and healthy. Great recipe.Thanks for sharing.

  8. MMM, this looks so good! I am also guilty of eating all the good stuff off the salad and leaving the greens!

  9. I can’t wait to eat this tonight! I’m a topping girl too. Thanks lady!

  10. I think that looks delicious! I love pecans in salads! And kudos to you for pulling off a side dish for that many people!!

  11. That most exquisite salad, I took the recipe to make it as I can. Greetings and happy 2012

  12. Ooooh… yum. This would be worthy of a cheat-day on my diet.

  13. Double the toppings sounds good to me, especially if it’s candied pecans!

  14. Guess what I’m making today!?! I even blogged about your lovely recipe! Come check it out!

    -Simone
    busyasahoneybee.blogspot.com

  15. This has become one of my go-to salads when hosting or needing to bring a salad somewhere. I often have all of the ingredients on hand and make small side salads for many of our dinners. Thanks!

  16. Does this recipe serve 4?

  17. Love this salad! I make it all the time with regular pecans. Will try making them candied next time. I also add dried cranberries to my salad. In the summer you can use sliced strawberries and pineapple pieces.

  18. I found this while looking for how to make candied pecans ~ thank you for this. We get a very similar salad at a restaurant called Johnny Carino’s. Along with the lettuce, gorgonzola and candied pecans they top it with crumbled bacon, small diced tomatoes and julienne apples (Granny Smith’s I think) that are soaked in lemon juice. They serve all that over a lettuce wedge and top it with a garlic ranch. Very tasty.