Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

Salad seems to take such a back seat at so many meals, especially during the Holidays. I think that sometimes we serve it to assuage any lingering guilt associated with the mostly justifiable gluttony present at a holiday meal such as…ohhhh…let’s say Thanksgiving.

What? That’s not why you serve salad at Thanksgiving?  That’s the only reason I serve salad at Thanksgiving. Seriously, beyond the requisite turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, stuffing, and a couple of vegetables, the salad is completely superfluous. If you are arguing with me on this point, I can’t hear you because 1) you are talking to your computer screen and, 2) I have my fingers in my ears.

HOWEVER, if this year you are determined to make the salad a serious part of the meal, as am I, please consider this Spinach-Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette for your gustatory buds’ indulgence. (Get your mind out of the gutter. Gustatory buds are your taste buds. Now go wash your mind out with soap and water. Shame on you.) It has everything you need for a beautiful salad experience of color and taste.

Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

Recipe adapted from My Recipes


    For the Sugared Curried Pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the Maple Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • For the Salad
  • 1 (10 ounce) package fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed and patted dry or spun dry in a salad spinner
  • 1 Gala apple, small diced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces grated gruyere cheese, or cheese of choice


    For the pecans:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, toss the pecans in melted butter. Set aside.
  2. Stir together sugar, ginger, curry, salt, and cinnamon. Add the pecans, tossing to coat.
  3. Spread in a single layer in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted.
  4. Set pan on a wire rack to cool pecans for about 20 minutes. If needed, separate pecans gently with a fork.
  5. For the vinaigrette:
  6. In a blender, put the red wine vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  7. With the blender lid in place and the blender turned on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. This should form an emulsion which will not easily separate.
  8. For the salad:
  9. Combine spinach, apple, onion, and cheese in a serving bowl or prepare individual salads on salad plates.
  10. Serve with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette on the side or dress the salad with desired amount of the vinaigrette dressing and toss salad to coat.
  11. Sprinkle with pecans. (Do not toss salad with pecans because the moisture from the salad will remove the sugar coating from the pecans.) Serve salad with any remaining vinaigrette.


Make ahead notes: Pecans may be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in an airtight container. Vinaigrette may be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and chilled until ready to serve.




  1. says

    OH my goodness… I think it’s a Thanksgiving miracle that I have all the ingredients for this as we speak (er… as I type?). I’m going to make this THIS WEEK! Thanks and “I love you” from the three of us 🙂

  2. says

    This is a great recipe Teri. I eat a salad every single day – gotta have my veggies. But the one thing I have to have in it is something sweet. I will be making this salad.

  3. says

    Dawnye–I agree with you. I love something sweet in my salads, too. This salad has a lot of flavors and somehow they all work together. The sweetness of the apples and the hint of maple seem to be the ties that bind everything into one great salad.

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