Our favorite Spinach Salad with spinach, crunchy apples, tart red onion, sweetened dried cranberries, savory feta cheese, crumbled crisp bacon, candied honey pecans is tossed with an incredible apple-Dijon vinaigrette that takes minutes to assemble.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Keyword spinach salad
Prep Time 30minutes
Total Time 30minutes
Servings 4-6 servings
6cups (163g, 5.5 oz)baby spinach
2large apples(See Note 1)
1/2of 1 small red onion(See Note 2)
1cup (112g)candied or honey-roasted pecans(See Note 3)
2/3cup (87g)dried sweetened cranberries
1/4cupcrumbled feta cheese
2tablespoonsapple cider vinegar
1/4cup (51g)extra virgin olive oil
1tablespoonpure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
PREP: Cook the bacon and chop into small pieces. Thinly slice or chop the apples and red onion.
PREPARE THE DRESSING: Add all ingredients to a Mason jar, cover with the lid, and vigorously shake to combine. Taste and adjust for personal preference on seasonings (salt and pepper). Refrigerate until ready to eat and shake once more before dressing the salad.
SALAD ASSEMBLY: Add spinach, apples, red onion, pecans, and dried cranberries to a large salad bowl.
DRESS THE SALAD: Drizzle the dressing only on what will be enjoyed the same day. (Once dressed, this salad doesn't sit well.) Toss salad to coat in dressing. Add the feta cheese (add more to personal preference) and chopped bacon. Toss once more and serve salad immediately.
MAKE AHEAD/STORAGE: If you want to prepare this salad in advance or store leftovers, I recommend measuring out and then storing ingredients separately in plastic bags or small containers and tossing them together right before serving. The one ingredient I don't recommend preparing more than an hour ahead of time is the apples. The dressing can be made (and stored) in a Mason jar 2-3 days in advance. Shake up to re-combine before topping the salad. (If the dressing hardens or clumps, this is totally normal -- it's just the olive oil solidifying at cold temperatures. Let the dressing stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes and then shake it up and it's ready to go!)
Note 1: Core the apples and thinly slice or chop them into small pieces. I use 1 Fuji or Honeycrisp apple and 1 Granny Smith apple, but any variety of apples will do. It's a nice flavor variation to add two different types of apples.Note 2: You can dice the onion or thinly slice. To take away the "bite" of the red onion (make it milder): submerge the sliced or chopped onions in a bowl of cold or ice water. Let them sit for at least ten minutes, stirring 2-3 times, and then drain and use in this salad.Note 3: Typically I buy pre-made honey roasted pecan pieces that are "ready for salads" (made by Fresh Gourmet). You can also roast your own nuts or add them in plain!