As much as I enjoy a well composed salad in a restaurant, it’s not often I take the time to make them at home.  Sure, we eat salad a lot, but it’s usually just a simple tossed salad with mixed veggies over romaine.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s generally something I prefer more as a side than a main dish.  This harvest apple salad has the perfect balance of components that make it completely respectable as a light lunch or great starting salad course.  I still had some stray apples hanging around after making applesauce, so this salad was a nice way to use them up.  A bed of baby spinach is topped with crisp apple slices, buttered almonds (yum), a simple vinaigrette with sweet onion and sesame seeds, and a bit of crumbled feta.  As a bonus, once all the components are made, it’s a very easy healthy meal to pack up and take to work for lunch.  Gotta love that!  To make it into more of a hearty main dish salad, I think this would be spectacular topped with some herbed grilled chicken pieces.  In fact, I think that just made my dinner menu for next week.


For the dressing:
¼ cup finely minced sweet onion
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
Pinch of paprika
2 tbsp. sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the almonds:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 tbsp. sugar

For the salad:
10 oz. baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese


  • 01

    To make the vinaigrette, combine the onion, vinegars, sesame seeds, paprika, and sugar in a small bowl or jar.  Whisk to combine.  Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until well emulsified.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  (If the dressing has separated, whisk or shake to blend again.)

  • 02

    To make the buttered almonds, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally until toasted and lightly browned.  Stir in the sugar and cook just until melted and well incorporated.  Set aside to cool.

  • 03

    Plate portions of the baby spinach leaves.  Top with apple slices, crumbled feta, and the buttered almonds.  Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.


  • This looks delicious. I may have to pack this for lunch today… yum!

  • I love a good spinach salad. This one looks mighty tasty, especially with the feta cheese.

  • I love a spinach salad. This one looks mighty tasty, especially with the feta cheese.

  • This sounds lovely! Great way to use up apples!

  • This looks delicious! I love finding recipes for homemade salad dressings, can’t wait to give it a try!

  • The picture are STUNNING!

  • I’m the same way! I hardly ever make a huge effort for a salad- generally just tossed veggies.

    But with those ingredients and some grilled chicken? This could be a perfect lunch to take to work!

  • Gorgeous salad. I want this for lunch today! Yummy.

  • Gosh, Annie, this looks so good!! Stunning photos! I’m definitely in need of new salad ideas, so thank you. Glad you’re making the most of your lovely fall season. :)

  • Looks so delicious. I am inspired for dinner tonight!

  • Such a beautiful salad Annie. Great for a light dinner.

  • Great way to take a salad to the next level! That vinaigrette sounds amazing– I love apple cider vinegar. Seems to be a perfect pairing with the sliced apples on top!

  • Renee

    I made almost the ecaxt same thing but it had a maple-cider vinagrette. I added bacon and it had curry spiced pecans. It is so yummy! Such a nice change from the usual.

  • This salad looks so delicious. I love apples and feta cheese in my salad!

  • That’s a salad that makes me want to dive in and enjoy! I need to make pretty salads at home more often, too!

  • Patti T,

    I love salads with fruits and nuts, I don’t know why I never thought of apples. This salad looks fantastic.

  • This look soooooooo yummy! I wish I could snag it right off my computer screen and eat it for dinner. Needless to say, I’ll be throwing this in my mix ASAP!

  • I always love a good simple salad. We will be trying this!

  • That looks like a great salad! So healthy, too!

  • I’m eating this right now for dinner and it’s amazing! I love it!

  • Thank you for another fabulous recipe, Annie! It’s on my blog tonight – and I wish it was on my dinner table too :-)

  • Netgrl22

    Thank you for another wonderful recipe! I’ve never liked any homemade salad dressing recipes until this one. I will definitely be adding this to the rotation.

  • janna@littlemagnoliakitchen

    Oh my…I was reading your post today for the Roasted Berry and Brie Salad and you referred to this salad! This looks so good and the dressing sounds so simple and perfect for this salad! Looks like I will be eating more salad this week so I owe you a big “thank you”!!