Spinach, White Cheddar, Apple Salad with Nuts, Berries & A Honey-Cider Vinaigrette

While a few simple alterations and ingredient swaps could have this Spinach, White Cheddar, Apple Salad showing up in it’s Fall Sunday best, this version still says Spring to me– so that’s what I’m rolling with. Crisp, sliced apples, walnuts, berries, and shredded sharp white cheddar on a bed of fresh baby spinach. A homemade honey vinaigrette is drizzled over top and it’s all lovingly tossed together at the supper table into a complete meal in your salad bowl.

Spinach Salad with Apples, White Cheddar, Nuts & Berries with Honey Vinaigrette 4

A big bowl of fresh, leafy greens–anything of the lettuce or spinach variety, even a mixture– always seems simple to me and I find it incredibly refreshing. I can go minimalist with my meal or I can dress it up any darn way I please, even getting a bit fancy with it. Sems kind of ironic now that I think about it. I mean typically, we’re all about dressing down in the summer with less being more due to the heat but the opposite is true for this kind of meal. Everything is so cool and crisp that layering on the different textures and flavors doesn’t add up to heaviness, but to something that’s more robust and even more satisfying in it’s raw, uncooked simplicity.

Spinach Salad with Apples, White Cheddar, Nuts & Berries with Honey Vinaigrette 2

Like wise I didn’t bother weighing this salad down with any heavy, creamy, or leave me feeling greasy dressings. Just a simple sweet honey flavored vinaigrette. It’s also got a bit of tang from apple cider vinegar and a few spoonfuls of savory from your favorite mustard. The toppings follow along the same lines– loads of texture, and a mix of tantalizing flavors.

Spinach Salad with Apples, White Cheddar, Nuts & Berries with Honey Vinaigrette

Want to add in a little something extra to make it a heartier meal, or slightly more savory perhaps? Pulled rotisserie chicken fits right in with this cast of characters like it was meant to be written into the script. As the weather grows warmer, it just seems right that meals should head in the opposite direction. Who wants to sweat over the stove, or be stuck inside weighed down by heavy calories or in a carbohydrate induced fog? Salad suppers are a perfect solution and this one in particular satisfies on all fronts, especially with the one, two flavor and texture punch it’s packin’.

Spinach, White Cheddar, Apple Salad with Nuts, Berries, & A Honey-Cider Vinaigrette
A perfect dinner salad that's loaded with good for you ingredients that work together to create a bowl full of fresh, green, crunch goodness.
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Salad
  1. 5-6 cups of cleaned, fresh baby spinach
  2. 1 large Fuji apple, cored and thinly sliced (if you want something a bit sweeter you can sub a pear here)
  3. 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
  4. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/2 cup walnut pieces
Honey-Cider Vinaigrette
  1. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup honey
  3. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  5. salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl, in the order listed. Gently toss them to evenly combine and then set the salad aside.
  2. Add all the salad dressing ingredients to a small glass container or jar with a lid, such as a mason jar. Secure the lid, and shake well until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Taste the dressing and salt and pepper as desired.
  3. Using as much, or as little, dressing as desired-- pour the vinaigrette over the tossed salad, gently stirring a bit to spread it around, and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. I didn't include it in the ingredients, but I did mention using pulled rotisserie chicken in the post and how yummy it is in this dish. If you want to pack a little extra protein into your meal, I'd suggest adding a heaping cup of cold, pulled rotisserie chicken and then using just a bit more dressing when serving. Alternatively, you can make the salad and serve as is and top each individual serving with equal amounts of the cold, cooked chicken.
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Adapted from Averie Cooks
4 Sons 'R' Us http://4sonrus.com/

 

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