With fall officially in full swing, I know everyone is all “ZOMG pumpkin spice everything!” Usually I’m there along with you, but this year I’ve only made one pumpkin thing thus far. Instead I’m aaalll about apples. Last week we made fab muffins with them, this week it’s this salad, and my favorite baked oatmeal is on the books for this weekend, along with about 20 other ideas I’m mulling over in my mind. I first made a version of this salad a few years ago and we make it often, but over time it has morphed bit by bit, as favorite recipes sometimes do. I thought I would share this updated version because we love it so much.

We love grilled chicken on salads, and a touch of herbes de provence goes perfectly with the other flavors in this meal. I usually make an extra piece of chicken so I can make another salad as a lunch later in the week, and it’s a lunch hour I definitely look forward to. I’m sure we’ll be enjoying this salad all through the rest of apple season, all while I’m plotting my next apple dessert…


For the dressing: 

  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pecans: 

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the salad: 

  • 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp. herbes de provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour*
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10-12 oz. baby spinach and/or salad greens
  • 1-2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese


  • 01

    To make the dressing, combine the vinegars, sesame seeds, paprika, honey, and olive oil. Whisk thoroughly until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • 02

    To make the candied pecans, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat with the sugar, salt, and cayenne. Add the chopped pecans to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and well coated in the sugar mixture. Remove from the pan and let cool.

  • 03

    Season both sides of the chicken pieces with the herbes de provence as well as salt and pepper.  Place the flour in a shallow bowl, and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off the excess.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute until lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes per side, and an instant-read thermometer reads 160˚ F in the thickest part of the chicken.  (Keep in mind that pieces of different sizes will finish cooking at different times to avoid overcooking.)  Remove the chicken pieces to a plate or cutting board and let rest a few minutes before slicing.

  • 04

    Divide the salad greens between serving plates. Top with apple slices, crumbled feta, candied pecans, and a piece of the grilled chicken.  Drizzle lightly with the dressing and serve immediately.

  • 05

    *Note: For a gluten free option, try almond meal for coating the chicken. 


  • Oh yum, I love this! No boring salads here! :)

  • I love apples on my salads and I love how you did the chicken. I am so trying this recipe.

  • Can we talk about that purple background?! My goodness that’s gorgeous.

  • Emily

    YUM! This looks so incredible

  • cookie_o_clock

    I love the combination of pecans, apples and cheese on a salad. A restaurant near me does a salad like this but with grilled apples instead. Maybe I can attempt this one at home after being inspired by you!

  • Liz N.

    I’m in love with this salad! This looks delicious!

  • I promised my kids I’d take them apple picking soon, so I’m collecting apple recipes. This one looks fantastic. Anything with candied nuts tempts me! :)

  • Katie

    I made this tonight without the chicken and served it with your Ham & Apple Butter Panini (our favorite! We made it all the time last fall/winter) and small bowls of potato & leek soup to use up some of my CSA produce. Thanks! The dressing was really good with the apples.

  • Yum! This looks like it would make a great lunch. I can see why you look forward to it. :)

  • walnuts and apple pair so well in this salad.

  • I want those pecans in every salad I make from here on out! Paired with the apples they sound pretty perfect.

  • Liz @ FloatingKitchen

    I’ll take apples any day over pumpkin! Love this beautiful fall salad!

  • This is my perfect fall salad! Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to try the dressing.