Apple Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette – an easy fall salad with sweet red apples, crunchy candied pecans, feta cheese, and a quick maple vinaigrette dressing you will love!
This. This right here. This is Fall in it’s truest, most wonderfully salad-y form. It combines so many of my favorite Fall-time flavors in one place.
sweet red apples + tangy cranberries + crunchy candied cinnamon pecans + sharp feta cheese + seriously the best maple vinaigrette dressing this world has to offer
= FALL GOODNESS.
I’ll burn a candle all. day. long. if my husband doesn’t extinguish it while my back is turned. In his defense, I have left a candle burning when I left the house one or five times before. So he’s really just looking out for our safety I guess.
But back to the best Fall salad you’ll ever eat. There are two things about this salad that really put it over the top on the flavor scale. The nuts, and the dressing.
The pecans are candied. Don’t let that scare you off because it takes about 5 minutes and three ingredients to candy your pecans —> BEYOND worth it. Stop it. I know what you’re going to ask – can’t I just throw some un-candied pecans into the salad?? Yesssssss, you can. Technically. But it’ll break my heart a little bit.
And the dressing. THE DRESSING. It’s a maple vinaigrette. Does that sound weird? It did to me the first time I ordered a salad from one of my favorite soup-n’-sandwich shops boasting a sweet maple vinaigrette. But, I instantly became a huge fan and this is my little homemade re-creation of it. You will go crazy for this stuff, I can almost guarantee it. Unless you’re allergic to maple or something like that. Then all bets are off.
- 6-8 cups mixed greens
- 2 small-medium fuji or gala apples, chopped
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup shelled pecan halves or chopped pecans (I used Diamond of California)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- optional: ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup oil
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (may sub white vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add pecans, sugar, and cinnamon to a small-medium pan or skillet. Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until sugar melts and nuts are coated. Transfer to a plate or foil-lined baking pan to cool.
- Stir together all salad dressing ingredients and chill until ready to serve.
- In a large serving bowl toss together greens, apples, onions, candied pecans, feta cheese, and cranberries. When ready to serve, toss with dressing.