Spinach Apple Pecan Salad

By Rena |

This Apple Pecan Salad with Maple vinaigrette is delightfully sweet with savory cubes of cheddar cheese! Fresh spinach, crisp apples, and crunchy roasted pecans are tossed together to create a delicious cranberry pecan salad that is vegetarian and healthy.

white bowl filled with apple pecan salad ingredients

This fresh spinach salad is bursting with flavors from cranberries, fresh apples, and a citrus-based homemade dressing that is bright and a little bit sweet.

This apple spinach salad recipe is so easy to make and is a great healthy side dish for weeknight dinners or the holidays. Smooth cheddar cheese gives this pecan salad some extra protein which makes it perfect for whenever you are in need of something filling!

The sweet maple vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for pecans and apples. Whenever you are craving something sweet and savory, you will the flavors from this cranberry salad!

Pair this spinach salad recipe with any main course such as Ground Turkey Meatloaf, Chicken Parmesan Pasta, and even this Shepherd’s Pie.

WHY THIS APPLE CRANBERRY and spinch SALAD IS THE BEST

  • Quick: This salad is ready in minutes! It doesn’t take long to assemble this easy apple pecan salad recipe. Make this salad whenever you are looking for something simple and quick.
  • Healthy: Fresh spinach leaves are loaded with iron and fiber and are paired with healthy pecans and fresh apples. This salad is filled with nutrient-dense foods that will keep you going throughout your day!
  • Vegetarian: Enjoy this salad whenever you are looking to eat a little more plant-based and want to keep things meat-free.
  • Perfect Side Dish: Serve this salad alongside soups, casseroles, pasta recipes, proteins, etc. This recipe is a great way to add some color to the dinner plate.
  • Serve as a Meal: You can even enjoy this salad all by itself since it is made with wholesome ingredients and protein. This salad is so delicious that it can be the main focus!
one white bowl with apple pecan salad and homemade vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS FOR APPLE SALAD WITH PECANS

Below is simple a list of ingredients that we used to make this apple and spinach salad. The full measurements are listed further down below.

for the spinach salad Dressing

  • Olive Oil– I like to use olive oil because it is rich in flavor especially if you use a high quality brand. A good olive oil has a delicious flavor and aroma to it. Of course, you can use any neutral vegetable oil.
  • Lemon– Fresh lemon juice is squeezed into the vinaigrette to make sure it is bright and flavorful. The zest is also used for an extra hint of citrus.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar– ACV gives this homemade dressing all the flavor it needs! You can find apple cider vinegar in the vinegar aisles at most grocery stores.
  • Mustard– Dijon mustard is tangy and sharp with a mild spice. Mustard gives the maple vinaigrette plenty of tanginess!
  • Maple Syrup– Sticky and smooth maple syrup rounds all of the acidic flavors out and makes this a sweet and savory dressing.
  • Salt and Pepper– Kosher salt and pepper is used to make sure the dressing is nothing short of flavor!
apples, cranberries, pecans, spinach dijon mustard, cheddar, lemon, salt, pepper, maple syrup, olive oil

for the Salad

  • Spinach– Fresh baby spinach is a tender leafy green that is packed with iron and fresh flavors! Use organic spinach if you can. If you don’t like spinach, use any other greens.
  • Apples– Any kind of fresh apples will work for this recipe. Just make sure you have two. Some apple options include Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, etc. Cut the apples into cubes.
  • Cheddar Cheese– You can use either white or yellow cheddar cheese for this recipe. I like to use both! Cut your blocks of cheese into small cubes to mix throughout the salad.
  • Pecans– Roasted pecans are nutty and sweet and add the perfect amount of crunch to this salad.
  • Cranberries– Dried cranberries provide extra sweet flavors and are so pleasant with the pecans!
apple pecan salad with cheddar cheese, vinaigrette, and cranberries

HOW TO MAKE this APPLE PECAN SALAD

  • Make the dressing: First, in a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper together until fully emulsified and blended. Set the dressing aside.
  • Assemble the salad: Next, in a large bowl, combine the fresh spinach, cubes apples with lemon juice, cheddar cubes, pecans, and dried cranberries.
  • Toss with dressing: Finally, drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and toss the ingredients to combine everything. Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator to chill.
bowl of rinsed spinach
drizzling maple vinaigrette over bowl of spinach salad with apples and pecans

RECIPE NOTES, TIPS, AND SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Use any kind of fresh greens instead of spinach such as arugula, spring mix, romaine, etc.
  • Make this a vegan salad by omitting the cheese.
  • Add more protein: consider adding some grilled chicken breast, salmon, and shrimp to this spinach salad.
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the dressing ahead of time and store it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Use pears instead of apples.
  • Instead of cheddar cheese, crumble the salad with goat, feta, or blue cheese.
  • Use agave nectar or honey instead of maple syrup.
top view of spinach salad with pecans and cranberries

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is the apple pecan salad healthy?

Yes, this salad is healthy and full of fresh ingredients! Nuts, fruits, and leafy greens are great foods to eat for a plant-based diet! Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

How do you make a simple fruit salad?

If you have an abundance of fruit to use up, just dice it up into cubes and toss in a salad with a light vinaigrette and fresh greens!

How long will salad last in the fridge?

Homemade fruit and greens salad will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

What goes best in a salad?

The base of your salad should be a green leafy vegetable like romaine lettuce, spinach, and so on. All the other add on are based on things you like such as nuts, fruits, and other veggies like onions, tomatoes cucumber, and the list goes on. Salad toppings include fruits, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, beans, tortilla chips, cheese, and olives.

one bowl filled with apple pecan salad and cheddar cheese cubes

More Salad Recipes You Will Love

Chickpea and Avocado Salad

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad

What to serve with apple pecan salad

one bowl of apple pecan salad with cheddar cheese cubes and dried cranberries

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white bowl with apple pecan salad with cranberries and vinagirette

Apple Pecan and Spinach Salad

This Apple Pecan Salad with maple vinaigrette is delightfully sweet with savory cubes of cheddar cheese! Fresh spinach, crisp apples, and crunchy roasted pecans are tossed together to create a delicious cranberry pecan salad that is vegetarian and healthy.
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 524kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

Maple Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced and zested
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper to taste

Salad Base

  • 6 cups baby spinach packed
  • 2 apples large; cut into medium cubes and drizzled with lemon juice
  • 4 ounces cheddar aged white or yellow; cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup pecans roasted
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, put all the ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until emulsified then set aside.
  • Add the spinach, apple, cheddar cubes, pecans, and cranberries in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes

Tips
  • Use any kind of fresh greens instead of spinach such as arugula, spring mix, romaine, etc.
  • Make this a vegan salad by omitting the cheese.
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the dressing ahead of time and store it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Use pears instead of apples.
  • Instead of cheddar cheese, crumble the salad with goat, feta, or blue cheese.
  • Use agave nectar or honey instead of maple syrup.

Nutrition

Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 548mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 4576IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 294mg | Iron: 3mg
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