Baby Blue Salad

Homewood Gourmet’s Baby Blue Salad has been hailed by many as the best salad ever, and I agree. This is the perfect salad to place on your holiday table.

baby blue salad

The Baby Blue Salad is not only one of the most popular items on the menu at Homewood Gourmet, but it is also heralded by many as the best salad ever. Before the recipe was shared, the only way to get this salad was to order it at the restaurant. Many a busy cook would pick up catering size trays of this salad to serve at dinners and special events. Now that the recipe is common knowledge (it was featured in in 2004), cooks everywhere can make and serve this salad to their hearts’ content.

Although not at all difficult to make, this salad does require a bit of time and effort to make the sweet & spicy pecans and the balsamic vinaigrette. Thankfully, both of these can be made ahead. To cut down on prep time, I always make the dressing and nuts a few days ahead, and I wash/slice fruit earlier in the day. Just before dinner, all that’s left is throwing salad ingredients together and tossing with dressing just before serving.

A note on nuts: The nuts per this recipe are good, but I actually prefer these Sweet & Spicy Sugar Glazed Nuts. The former are a bit more spicy hot; the latter are more spicy sweet. Try both, and see which ones your family prefers. You can’t go wrong either way.

A note on balsamic vinegar: Where balsamic vinegar is concerned, supermarket offerings consist of the good, the bad, and the ugly. A poor quality balsamic vinegar can literally ruin a dressing (or anything else). I use Lucini Gran Riserva Balsamico, recommended by Cook’s Illustrated. An 8.5 oz bottle is $14.00, and I buy mine at The Fresh Market. Although this might seem expensive for a vinegar, I think that it is worth every penny.

I didn’t use strawberries for the salad pictured, as they were out of season and too expensive. Instead, I used raspberries and oranges, and the salad turned out beautifully. When oranges aren’t in season, I use mandarins; however, freshly peeled and diced oranges can’t be beat when in season.

Note: I much prefer using these Sugar & Spice Sugar Glazed Nuts for this salad, as I love the combo of honey & maple syrup, and they are super easy. You may want to experiment with both to see which is your fave.


Baby Blue Salad

This is one of the best salads you will ever make. Made famous at Franklin's Homewood Gourmet, it is now a favorite of cooks everywhere.

20 min

20 min

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  • SALAD:
  • 3/4 lb Mesclun or gourmet baby lettuce mix
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper


  • Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil until thoroughly blended.
  • Gradually whisk in olive oil; set aside. (Makes 1 2/3 cups dressing).
  • Stir together sugar and warm water until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add pecans to sugar water mixture; soak for 10 minutes.
  • Drain, discarding syrup.
  • Combine 2 T. sugar, chili powder, and pepper. Add pecans, tossing to coat.
  • Place pecans on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, stirring once.
  • In large bowl, place lettuces, fruits, nuts and cheese.
  • Add a small amount of balsamic; toss well, adding more balsamic if needed.
  • Arrange salad in bowls or on plates.
Recipe Type: salad

I hope your family enjoys this salad as much as mine does. Thanks so very much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!