When it’s 90 degrees outside and the humidity is over 50%, heating up the kitchen or firing up the grill to make a hot meal just doesn’t cut it. Instead of digging into a heavy meat and potato meal, a light and refreshing salad is the perfect solution for these muggy summer nights.
And forget those boring lettuce and tomato salads that are served with a heavy dose of dressing. Various varieties of apples are available year-round, and apples are the perfect addition to add crunch, texture and a bit of sweetness to a dull, everyday salad.
Apples pair well with spinach, fresh romaine, various cheeses, nuts, celery, cucumbers, bacon and grilled chicken. Instead of a heavy dressing, dress up an apple salad with a vinaigrette - either a store bought bottle or whip one up quickly with ingredients that are no doubt in the kitchen pantry.
Making an apple salad doesn’t require a recipe. Just pick your favorite salad greens, add apples, chunks of cheese, thinly sliced red onions, some celery or cucumbers and top with a vinaigrette. When deciding on an apple variety, generally stick with a sweet and crisp variety - Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango or Pink Lady work well.
Several recipes call for feta cheese. Feta is sold in small blocks and has what many chefs call a unique flavor. But it is also a flavor that many people don’t particularly care for. So while experimenting with recipes, I swapped the feta for mozzarella and the result was a mouth-watering creation.
A salad might not be as appetizing as freshly baked cookies or a thick milkshake, but it will provide your family with a flavorful and nutritious meal while beating the heat. Happy Eating!
Apple Spinach Salad
- 5 ounces baby spinach (or other salad greens)
- 1 large apple, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Grilled chicken, if desired
- Apple cider vinaigrette or store bought vinaigrette
Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
To make the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or large measuring cup. Taste. If it isn't sweet enough, add a small amount of additional honey. Place into a container with a tight-fitting lid. It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Place all salad ingredients, except chicken, in a medium sized bowl and toss lightly. Place salad on to individual plates, top with chicken and drizzle vinaigrette over the top.
Apple Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Adapted from https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/
- 6 to 8 cups mixed salad greens
- 2 medium sized apples, Pink Lady, Fuji or Honeycrisp, cored and chopped
- ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced celery
- ½ cup pecan halves or chopped pecans
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
Add the pecans, sugar and cinnamon to a small-medium pan or skillet. Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just until the sugar melts and nuts are coated. Transfer to a plate covered with a paper towel.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together all of the dressing ingredients. Place in a container with a lid and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Place the salad greens, apples and celery in a large serving bowl. Toss until mixed. Add the cheese, nuts, onion and cranberries. Toss lightly.
Place large amounts of salad onto individual serving plates. Drizzle the dressing over the top.