I was never much one for fruit on salads, mostly because that fruit was usually raisins or craisins, options to which I inherited an aversion from my father. I had a bag of pecans sitting in my pantry and a request to bring a salad to the dinner party I was attending that night, but I knew I needed just a few other ingredients to round out the recipe. Musing through the different options, I finally hit upon the combination found here, and it turned out better than I could have imagined. It’s a salad that includes all my favorite things! The tart apples were the perfect complement to the sweet glazed pecans, and the larger pieces of sliced fruit provided a much better ratio and texture to the greens than craisins would have. I added cheese to round the topping trio out, choosing goat cheese over feta for its creamier texture which pairs perfectly with apples. Once I had all these ingredients, I couldn’t just throw ranch over the top, so I mixed up this apple vinaigrette to match the existing flavors. The layered ingredients combine to give the salad a fresh, fall theme, perfect for an Autumn dinner party. Altogether, the salad is both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat—the perfect combination.Print
Apple Pecan Salad
2 cups halved pecans
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp apple juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp poppy seeds
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
Your desired amount of mixed kale and spinach
- To make the glazed pecans: Melt the water and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until just bubbling. Add the pecans and stir until the nuts are covered in the sugar and caramelized, but don’t burn. Place the nuts on a piece of wax paper to harden until completely cool, about two hours.
- To make the vinaigrette: place the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, Dijon mustard, and poppy seeds into a jar with a tight lid and shake until combined. Wait to pour the dressing over the salad until just before serving.
- Wash the apples and slice them into thin slices. Wash and dry the spinach and kale mixture.
- When ready to serve, top the salad with the glazed pecans, goat cheese, and sliced apples. Pour the vinaigrette over top and toss lightly.