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Apple Spinach Salad

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This classic apple spinach salad is easy to make with fresh ingredients, tossed with a quick apple cider vinaigrette, and easy to customize with your favorite add-ins!

Apple Spinach Salad Recipe

Crisp fall days call for crisp fall salads like this one! ♡

I’ve been making some version of this apple spinach salad for over a decade now and it’s about as simple as it gets, yet somehow stands the test of time and still always tastes so comforting and delicious. It’s made with a base of tender baby spinach, crisp sliced apples, toasted crumbled walnuts, tangy goat cheese (or feta or gorgonzola), tart dried cranberries, sliced red onion, and a quick apple cider vinaigrette. Perfect served as a side salad, or it can also double easily as an entrée (especially if you toss in some grilled chicken or chewy farro to make it a bit more hearty).

Feel free, of course, to use whatever variety of tart or sweet fresh apples that you love best. And by all means, go ahead and swap in whatever kind of nuts, cheese, or dried fruit that you have on hand too. This recipe is endlessly flexible, so make it your own and enjoy, enjoy!

Apple Spinach Salad Ingredients

Apple Spinach Salad Ingredients

Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need to make this spinach apple salad recipe…

  • Spinach: I love using fresh baby spinach for this salad, but any of your favorite salad greens will work.
  • Apple: Feel free to use whatever variety of crisp apple that you love best! I typically use a combination of sweet Pink Lady and tart Granny Smith apples, which are some of our favorites this time of year.
  • Red onion: I also like to add in some very thinly sliced red onion to give the salad a bit of bite. However, feel free to briefly rinse the sliced onion in cold water before adding it to the salad, if you would like to mellow out its flavor a bit.
  • Walnuts: I typically make this salad with toasted walnuts or pecans. But just about any variety of nuts or seeds that you prefer will play well in this salad, preferably toasted (if they are not already) to bring out their best flavor.
  • Dried cranberries: A sprinkling of these always adds great color and a hint of extra sweetness.
  • Goat cheese: I love the flavor of tangy goat cheese in this recipe, but feel free to swap in crumbled feta, gorgonzola, or a shredded sharp cheddar if you prefer.
  • Apple cider vinaigrette: Quick and easy to make with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon, garlic, salt and pepper. I highly recommend making a double batch, while you’re at it, to use on another salad later in the week!

Bowl of apple cider vinaigrette

Possible Recipe Variations

As I mentioned above, this recipe is endlessly customizable. So please feel free to swap in whatever ingredients you love best and make it your own! For example, you could also…

  • Add farro: We sometimes cook a quick batch of chewy farro to toss into this salad to make it a bit more hearty.
  • Add a protein: Grilled or baked chicken, shrimp or crispy tofu would all be delicious additions to this salad.
  • Add sweet potato: Roasted diced sweet potato also pairs beautifully with this salad and is in season this time of year.
  • Use different fruit: This salad would also be wonderful made with fresh pears, mandarins, or pomegranate arils in place of (or combined with) the fresh apples.

Tossing Apple Spinach Salad in a mixing bowl

More Favorite Salad Recipes

Looking for more salad recipe inspiration? Check out our full collection of salad recipes here on Gimme Some Oven, or here are a few of my personal faves…

Apple Spinach Salad in Bowl with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

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Apple Spinach Salad Recipe

Apple Spinach Salad

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x

Description

This classic apple spinach salad is easy to make with fresh ingredients, tossed with a quick apple cider vinaigrette, and easy to customize with your favorite add-ins.


Ingredients

Scale

Apple Spinach Salad Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 small apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • half of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • a generous pinch of salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the vinaigrette. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and whisk vigorously (or shake them together in a mason jar) to combine.
  2. Toss the salad. Add spinach, apples, red onion, walnuts, dried cranberries, and half of the goat cheese to a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss to combine.
  3. Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining goat cheese, and enjoy!

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Recipe rating

134 comments on “Apple Spinach Salad”

  1. Before we left for a camping trip, I made the dressing using apple cider vinegar and added the optional maple syrup. Brought the dressing and other salad ingredients and prepared for an evening meal. Used Asiago cheese since that’s what I had and toasted pecans because my husband prefers them over walnuts. Also decreased the EVOO by half. Was a very delicious side dish! Will definitely make this again!

  2. So good and EASY – the colorful presentation wows guests. Thanksgiving crowd devoured this! Improvised a bit because I didn’t want to go to store. No red onion, used feta and praline pecans, added bacon bits, tossed with bottled Vidalia Onion Vinegarette.

  3. Did this dressing recipe change? I could’ve sworn it used to have lemon in it…

    • I saved this recipe in June 2021; the dressing in that version was very different. It used lemon juice, champagne vinegar, and maple syrup.

  4. LOVE the tart sweet creamy combo!!
    Didn’t have cranberries so used tart dried cherries.
    This is easy and delicious.
    Thanks!

  5. Very good and healthy salad. Love it.

  6. Very good salad recipe. Whole family enjoyed it.

  7. I made this salad for company in order to offer them something different than my usual tossed green salad. Everyone loved it. Gave the leftover salad to my son, and he said it was better than what he gets in a restaurant. I candied the walnuts and added more goat cheese, but, otherwise, followed the recipe as written. A salad to impress company, and so easy to prepare. Will definitely make it again.

  8. This is very good. I doubled dressing Amy because I was using kale instead of spinach. I rubbed SOME of the extra dressing into the kale about an hour before putting entire salad together. I used all the extras and think it’s easily adaptable to any combo of extra fixings. One guest asked for the dressing recipe..it’s really good.

  9. This salad is amazing. So very delicious, I couldn’t get enough of it. My husband doesn’t like goat cheese and he loved it. He is also allergic to walnuts so we used almonds.

  10. One of the best tasting salads I’ve ever eaten. Not difficult to make and super healthy and filling!

  11. loved it! easy and delicious!

  12. How do you cut your apples do thinly?

  13. Great version of spinach salad, dressing is wonderful, apples set it apart.

  14. I made this tonight. Best salad ever! I threw out four bottles of salad dressing after I tasted the dressing. I only used 1 t honey and 1/3 of a garlic clove.