Apple Salad is a must-make fall salad recipe featuring juicy apples, bold red onions, sweet candied pecans, pomegranate seeds, gorgonzola cheese, and crunchy pumpkin seeds. All served atop a bed of nutritious baby spinach with apple cider vinaigrette!
Perfect Fall Salad
Even though stores like Target and Homegoods have already declared it’s Christmas, I’m still reveling in the last few weeks of fall! Enjoy the best flavors of this waning season by tossing together this unforgettable good Apple Salad. It features all of the best fall staple ingredients like apples, candied pecans, pumpkin seeds and more all served with fresh baby spinach.
While the term “salad” in general is often met with a groan, this one might just change your perspective. It’s got plenty of sweet ingredients to satisfy your sugary craving and pairs well with plenty of different proteins to help keep you full. While I usually like it best with chicken or shrimp, you can opt for any other protein.
In the end, what bring all of these flavorful ingredients together is the homemade apple cider vinaigrette! The key ingredients you’ll taste in it are the apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. It lends an incredible amount of flavor to an already bountiful salad.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
You’ll love the medley of real fall flavor that comes from each ingredient listed here.
For the salad:
- Baby Spinach – You can swap this for another leafy green if you’d like. However, I’ve found that spinach best compliments the vinaigrette.
- Apple – Use a sweet apple like Honeycrisp, Gala, Pink Lady, etc. I don’t recommend using tart Granny Smith apples.
- Red Onion – The bold onion flavor contrasts perfectly with the sweet apples and add a nice color.
- Candied Pecans – Candied walnuts also work. Add more or less of this sweet ingredient to control the level of sweetness and crunch in your salad. I usually toss a little extra in mine!
- Pomegranate Seeds – Have any extras? Use them to make the festive Holiday Crostini!
- Gorgonzola Cheese – Blue cheese crumbles are a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on gorgonzola.
- Pumpkin Seeds – if you can’t find any peeled pumpkin seeds, you can use sunflower seeds.
For The Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Olive oil – choose extra virgin but mild tasting olive oil or avocado oil.
- Dijon mustard – make sure to use Dijon mustards not yellow mustard.
- Garlic – make sure to use fresh garlic clove and press it.
- Salt and pepper
This fall flavored apple salad is easy to make and even easier to eat! Toss it all together and enjoy every fruity, tangy, autumnal bite of this delicious salad complete with homemade vinaigrette.
Make the dressing.
Measure all of the ingredients with care and combine them in a dressing shaker or glass jar with a lid. Shake until fully combined.
You can make the dressing ahead of time or double it as needed.
Assemble the salad.
Divide the spinach evenly between two bowls.
Divide all of the ingredients evenly on top of the salad and serve with vinaigrette on the side or drizzle it right on top. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
In an airtight container in the fridge, apple cider vinaigrette will stay fresh for 3-4 days. It’s great to make in advance and keep on hand so it’s ready when you need it.
It’s up to you! You can serve this salad with whole spinach leaves or chop them into smaller bites. I do recommend that you use baby spinach though!
Yes, but I don’t recommend adding any vinaigrette to the salad until you’re ready to eat it. Feel free to assemble the salads and cover them with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge about a day. When you’re ready to serve the salad, then drizzle it with vinaigrette and enjoy immediately. Remember though, if the salad is prepped ahead, apple will start to turn brown from oxidation, and spinach and onion will start to wilt.
For the Salad:
- 5 oz baby spinach
- 1 sweet apple
- 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup candied pecans
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- coarse or sea salt
- black pepper
For the dressing:
- Combine all of the ingredients into the dressing shaker (or a small mason jar with an lid) and shake vigorously for a 15-20 seconds. Note: the dressing will be enough for 2-4 salads, depending on how much you add per salad.
- Divide the spinach among two bowls. (You can choose to leave the spinach whole or chop it up. )
- Divide all other ingredients for the salad among the two salad bowls and add as much dressing as you'd like.