Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

There are so many things to love about fall, but one of the best parts (in my food world at least) is that honeycrisp apples are once again available.  Cultivated by the University of Minnesota, honeycrisp apples are the best apples.  That’s not just an opinion, it is a fact.

A great way to feature these apples is in a salad.  In addition to the bacon quiche with cheesy grits crust I made for brunch a few weeks ago, I also made this spinach salad that was chock full of delicious goodies.  It had slices of crisp, tart-but-sweet honeycrisp apples, crumbled bacon, chunks of blue cheese, chopped pecans, slightly sweet dried cranberries, and a little bite from sliced red onions.

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

The apple slices help cut through the richness of other ingredients, like the bacon and cheese.  I cored and thinly sliced a honeycrisp for this salad, and tossed all the fixings together with a leafy “power blend” of baby spinach, baby kale, and baby chard.

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

The salad blend was a lovely, hearty mix that stood up fantastically with the other ingredients.  And let’s face it, having all those healthy greens makes it a little easier to justify adding bacon and blue cheese to a salad!

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

The dressing for the salad is a quick, simple maple cider vinaigrette.  There is a smoky sweetness from maple syrup (please do yourself a favor and use real maple syrup for this vinaigrette, not the imitation kind in the plastic microwaveable bottles), and the acid base of the dressing is tangy apple cider vinegar.  I used to be extremely impressed and mesmerized by vinaigrettes, the word just sounds fancy!  Truth is, they could not be easier to make – simply dump all the ingredients into a mason jar, shake, and pour over your salad.

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

In terms of brunch, this salad definitely makes up the the “lunch” portion, and it was the perfect accompaniment to the quiche “breakfast” component.  I would confidently call this restaurant worthy, and I am pretty sure I have paid $12-$15 for a similar salad before.  The best part about it is that it’s so simple you can make it too!

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

This weekend would be the perfect time to stop at an apple orchard, pick up some apples, and toss together this salad!

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Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
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Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes (plus time to cook the bacon)
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes (plus time to cook the bacon)
Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes (plus time to cook the bacon)
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes (plus time to cook the bacon)
Ingredients
Spinach Apple Salad
  • 10 oz baby spinach if you can find a power greens blend, use that
  • 1 medium honeycrisp apple cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 oz blue cheese crumbled
  • 12 oz bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced, see note below
Maple Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
Spinach Apple Salad
  1. In a large bowl combine spinach/greens with the rest of the salad ingredients (apple slices, pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese, bacon and red onions)
  2. Drizzle salad ingredients with desired amount of dressing (I used about half of the dressing). Gently toss to evenly coat.
Maple Vinaigrette
  1. Add all the dressing ingredients into a medium mason jar, cover with lid and shake vigorously to blend well.
  2. The salad dressing can also be made by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Recipe Notes

**Cardinal Rule** To take a little of the bite out of the onion that can be off-putting to some people, place the sliced onions in a small bowl and cover with warm (not hot) water.  Soak onions for 30 seconds, drain, and repeat 2-3 times.  This helps mellow out the strong flavor of the onions.

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

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