Baby spinach leaves tossed with green apples, dried cherries, feta cheese, and candied pecans – all drizzled with a sweet balsamic dressing!
I know it’s not Salad Monday but last Monday I shared a carbo-cheese loaded recipe that just couldn’t wait and now I’m craving salad so bad, I can’t hold off til tomorrow.
I know. No self control.
You know I adore salads. (hence the need for a Salad Monday.) And I definitely have my go-to favorites (hello my beloved strawberry poppyseed spinach salad) but I’ve been trying to diversify lately, as you may have noticed with that recent mandarin pasta spinach salad with addictive teriyaki dressing that changed my life forever.
This salad I’m sharing today is a brand spanking new one. One I invented last week just because I was dying for salad and something a little out of the ordinary. I swapped out the classic dried cranberries for dried cherries instead – so tart and flavorful!! I also candied the pecans which I, for some reason, had forgotten only takes about 3 minutes and adds so much goodness to a salad. And instead of honey crisp or fuji – my red apple variety of choice for salads – I went with a gorgeous green. Soooo glad I did.
What I really love though is that all of that tangy tartness from the green apples and the dried cherries gets perfectly balanced out with this amazing homemade sweet balsamic dressing. The flavor combination is absolutely de-lish.
The whole thing comes together in probably 10 minutes and if you wanted to get real crazy, you could always add chicken to turn this into a main course salad!
- 6-8 cups baby spinach leaves
- ⅓ cup dried cherries
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 large green apple, cored and thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 cup whole or halved pecans (such as Diamond of California Pecan Halves)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup oil
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake to combine. (store at room temperature up to 1 week)
- In a small sauce pan heat the ¼ cup sugar until it liquifies. As soon as it it starts to liquify, add pecans and stir until sugar is completely melted and nuts are coated. Stir 30 seconds longer over medium heat. transfer to a glass plate or a metal baking sheet to cool. When cooled (about 5 minutes) break apart and add to salad when ready.
- In a large bowl combine spinach, cherries, feta, apples, and candied pecans. Serve with sweet balsamic dressing (shake dressing immediately before serving).
A huge thanks to Diamond of California Nuts for sponsoring this awesome salad recipe!