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.

  • Yield about 4 servings


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.