Apple season in the Heartland is now in full swing and I want to take advantage of the abundance of these fresh juicy apples!
Today’s recipe makes an excellent side salad for an formal dinner or an easy supper dish when paired with a fall soup such as my Chicken Butternut Squash soup. I chose this Cranberry Vinaigrette recipe to accent the fruity taste as well as the inviting color!
I gathered my ingredients for the dressing. I always gather my ingredients before I start preparation, it helps me not to forget or omit an ingredient. The recipe called for plain balsamic vinegar, but I only had the raspberry flavor in the cupboard.
Place onion, cranberries, sugar, mustard, vinegar and oil in blender. Blend, but don’t puree, I like the little red cranberry flecks in the dressing.
One of my favorite kitchen items, is my Pampered Chef “Measure, Mix & Pour”. Four recipes are printed right on the container. Simply measure ingredients, mix with the plunger and pour homemade dressing on your salad. I like it so much I ordered a second one, and both are usually occupied in my fridge.
Next toast the walnuts. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently. You can also cook them on top the stove by placing walnuts in a skillet at medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Walnuts release their own natural oils and sweeteners, but you can add a little brown sugar or maple syrup if you prefer them candied.
Slice apple an apple in half and cut out the core. Slice into very thin slices and place in bowl of lemon juice. Toss, to keep from turning brown.
Place spinach on a salad plate and arrange thinly sliced apples around the perimeter. Sprinkle with walnuts and feta cheese and place some dried cranberries in the center. Drizzle with Cranberry Vinaigrette and serve.
Apple Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, toasted 1/4 c. dried cranberries 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar 1/2 c. red onion, chopped 1 T. white sugar 1 T. Dijon-style prepared mustard 1 c. light olive oil salt and pepper to taste fresh spinach leaves, with tails removed 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced crumbled Feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly toasted. In a food processor, combine the cranberries, vinegar, onion, sugar, and mustard, vinegar and oil. Blend, but don’t puree. Salt and pepper to taste.