Gimme Some Oven

My Favorite Apple Spinach Salad

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My favorite Apple Spinach Salad is made with tons of baby spinach and crisp apples, toasted nuts, soft cheese, and a zippy vinaigrette. Perfect for autumn, and so easy to make! |

Last Monday night, I decided it was time to buy Barclay a “sharp” little present.

I had taken off work a few hours early that day to head over to his place and cook up a big “family dinner” for all seven of his bandmates (and their significant others) to share together after rehearsal. And I was totally looking forward to the dinner! But I was a little apprehensive about the idea of cooking for a dozen+ people in his kitchen. Because the process of actually cooking in there can sometimes be…well, how might we say…its own kind of improvisation.

Basically, it’s a total bachelor’s kitchen. He and his roommate shop exclusively (I’m not kidding) at their neighborhood Costco. So the fridge is stocked with a half dozen cartons of almond milk, dozens of eggs, huge blocks of cheese, tubs of mixed greens, beer (of course)…and that’s about it. Their pantry has a collection of random spices, Barc’s beloved oatmeal squares in bulk, some Costco-sized jars of coconut oil and olive oil and balsamic…and that’s about it. Then they have a set of cookware, two small mixing bowls, and a handful of kitchen tools…but that’s about it. Oh, and the microwave is in the basement, and the oven doesn’t work. (<– A little ironic for dating the Gimme Some Oven girl.)  ;)

Don’t get me wrong, ha, I totally love it. It’s a cute little kitchen, and extra-cute when he’s there. ;)  And for two bachelors who rarely cook — well, beyond making a bowl of “squares” for breakfast, or a big salad for lunch, or packing a big picnic (Barc’s specialty, which I love) for dinner — it totally works for them. But cooking anything beyond that generally requires grocery bags full of ingredients be hauled over to his place, and a fair share of “improvising” happen with the random ingredients or cookware that I inevitably always forget.

On Monday night, for example, I realized he didn’t have any large serving dishes, so I improvised and served salad for a dozen people in an enormous stockpot. I also forgot he didn’t own a ladle, so we served up the butternut squash soup with a measuring cup. Then in lieu of a full oven, I put his little toaster oven to work, roasting trays upon trays upon trays of veggies. But the one thing I’ve learned that I can’t “improvise” my way around in his kitchen is working with knives that are — shall we say — less than sharp. There just don’t seem to be many ways to get around that. And sure enough, as I was standing there in the kitchen on Monday night, listening to the band practice in the other room, working on making a triple batch of this salad, and trying to thinly-slice a half dozen apples with a dull knife, and then watching said knife instead slip right off that apple and slice right through my finger — yet again — I decided it was time for a little gift-giving. ;)

I realize that it may now be the only thing in his kitchen now that’s not from Costco. (Amazon Prime for the win!)  But I’m happy to say that Barclay’s kitchen is now the proud new owner of his first very sharp knife!

And I, for one, couldn’t be happier. ;)

My favorite Apple Spinach Salad is made with tons of baby spinach and crisp apples, toasted nuts, soft cheese, and a zippy vinaigrette. Perfect for autumn, and so easy to make! |

So now the next time that we decide to make this apple spinach salad — one of my all-time favorite recipes that I make again and again this time of year — we can thinly slice those apples and onions (as Barc likes to say) “with peace in our hearts”. And a sharp knife in my band-aid-free hand. ;)

Which is great, because I’m already looking forward to this salad happening again.

My favorite Apple Spinach Salad is made with tons of baby spinach and crisp apples, toasted nuts, soft cheese, and a zippy vinaigrette. Perfect for autumn, and so easy to make! |

It’s nothing particularly original. But it’s a salad I’ve been making since I first learned to cook, and as such, it has become total comfort food for me each year when the summer veggies start to fade away and crisp apples come back in season.

The core ingredients are always the same — tons of fresh baby spinach, lots of thinly-sliced crisp apples, soft cheese, nuts and a good tangy vinaigrette. But really, just about all of those ingredients can be improvised with whatever you have on hand. No baby spinach? Feel free to sub in any kale or other greens you have in the fridge. Don’t like goat cheese? Any soft cheese like feta, blue, or even brie would work. Don’t have any champagne vinegar on hand for the champagne vinaigrette? Feel free to sub in apple cider vinegar or even a balsamic. And if you’d like to add some protein, baked chicken tastes delicious with this salad. Ha, basically, you can make this one just about however you’d like. ;)

But for kicks, here’s my favorite way of making this salad. Simply add all of your prepped ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle them with the vinaigrette…
My favorite Apple Spinach Salad is made with tons of baby spinach and crisp apples, toasted nuts, soft cheese, and a zippy vinaigrette. Perfect for autumn, and so easy to make! |

Then give it a good toss…

My favorite Apple Spinach Salad is made with tons of baby spinach and crisp apples, toasted nuts, soft cheese, and a zippy vinaigrette. Perfect for autumn, and so easy to make! |

…and within about, oh, 15 minutes or so, this bright and fresh and wonderful salad will be yours to enjoy. Or, share with your boyfriend and a dozen or so other friends. ;)

Again, go with whatever ingredients work for you. And if you’re prepping things in advance, be sure to toss your apple slices in some lemon juice so that they don’t brown before your meal. And then otherwise — dive in and ENJOY!

Hope that you love this salad as much as I do, and I hope that your autumn is off to a delicious start. :)

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My Favorite Apple Spinach Salad

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


This Apple Spinach Salad recipe is one of my all-time favorites. It’s made with a delicious mix of sweet and savory ingredients, it’s tossed with a tangy champagne vinaigrette, and it’s always a crowd favorite! Feel free to sub in whatever greens, nuts, or soft cheese that you have on hand.



Apple Spinach Salad Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 large apples, cored and thinly-sliced (I used 1 gala apple, 1 granny smith apple, but any will do)
  • half a small red onion, peeled and thinly-sliced
  • 1 cup walnut halves, toasted (or pecans)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (or feta cheese, or blue cheese)
  • 1 batch apple cider vinaigrette (see below)

Champagne Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • a generous pinch of salt and black pepper
  • (optional) 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, to sweeten


To Make The Apple Spinach Salad:

  1. 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.
  2. Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining goat cheese.

To Make The Champagne Vinaigrette:

  1. Add all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Or, add all ingredients to a mason jar, cover, and shake to combine.

My favorite Apple Spinach Salad is made with tons of baby spinach and crisp apples, toasted nuts, soft cheese, and a zippy vinaigrette. Perfect for autumn, and so easy to make! |

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Recipe rating

118 comments on “My Favorite Apple Spinach Salad”

  1. This salad is absolutely delicious! I added sautéed shrimp.

  2. This is my first time leaving a review on a recipe blog- I absolutely had to because this salad is bomb!! A really great combo of flavors and simple ingredients. I’ll definitely be making this salad a lot more, thank you!

  3. I added a bit of fresh dill to the dressing and all I gotta say is mmmmmm! If you like dill you should definitely put a couple sprigs in it!! Gives it a certain kick!!

  4. Great recipe. Everyone loved it!

  5. SO tasty and easy! This is a keeper!!!

  6. This salad is delicious. I used apple cider vinegar because I was out of champagne vinegar. It was a tad bit tangy, so I will make sure I have the champagne vinegar next time. Used goat cheese, the blue cheese and feta would be just as delicious. I will make this many times. Served with grilled chicken thighs. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  7. Was great! Only didn’t have Dijon mustard so substituted wasabi and dint have feta so I used Asiago. This was amazing! Can’t wait to do again w feta and Dijon

  8. very good but I like it better with bacon fat instead of olive oil.

    • I just made this salad for the first time for a brunch! Wow wow wow! We loved it and now it’ll be on our regular rotation. We’re imagining it with a poached egg and lardons! Thank you!

  9. Making it in single-serve jars for a social distanced dinner. Can’t wait to see how pretty the layers look in the jars!

  10. Oh my, this was absolutely delicious!!! My farm box delivery had fresh spinach and purple onion so this recipe was a perfect way to showcase them. I included the honey, used apple cider vinegar, feta cheese and Pink Lady apples (semi-sweet and crunchy). Since I used blood orange flavored olive oil, I omitted the lemon juice. It really hit the mark taste-wise, a perfect meal at the end of a hot So. California summer day! I can’t wait to make it again.

  11. Awesome!!! I live in pecan country to that’s what I use. Not everyone like “stinky” cheese (but I do!) so I serve it on the side.

  12. This salad was delicious and easy to put together! The toasted walnuts melted the goat cheese and wilted the baby spinach a bit, which helped bring all of the flavors together! The vinaigrette was tasty and complemented the flavors well, but I think I will go a little easier on the Dijon mustard the next time. I will be making this again and love the suggestions and comments others have made. Thank you!

  13. Love it,so delicious .I am saving this, and probably doing few times a week.

  14. Make this salad!!!! It’s sooo yummy! And good for you!!!

  15. I just love the way the author provides suitable substitutions! He really sounds like the real deal to me.
    Love it! We have lots of apples from our farm and eat spinach salads frequently but very excited to try his advice on this one! Thanks

  16. I had to use what I had on hand. Pomegranate Aprils, , toasted walnuts , chopped hard boiled egg, crisp bacon and valpreso (sheep’s feta), Granny Smith apple, red onion and the vinaigrette with balsamic instead of Champaign vinegar. Lots of flavor. I recommend dressing the ingredients and sitting, refrigerated for a half hour before tossing with baby spinach, to soften the sharpness of the red onion. I served a filet mignon and chewy bread alongside. We loved the salad the most!

  17. Just the correct amount of everything! Super delicious and easy.

  18. This is a wonderful recipe and so quick to make. The dressing is delicious!

  19. The combination of the ingredients go so well together. I used most of the ingredients but instead of champagne vinaigrette I used a dab of chunky blue cheese dressing. It was delicious

  20. Is this good for gerd

  21. Great Salad. My picky family loved it!?

  22. This is a very delicious salad. Do you have the nutritional values,

  23. Excellent recipe. So delicious!

  24. Absolutely delicious. I added three drops of agave for sweetener. Used a mandoline for the apples and onion. Used Gorgonzola picante.

  25. That was a delicious salad that my whole family enjoyed! I added quinoa and called it a meal??

  26. How many calories?

  27. So delicious!! I made the dressing without lemon juice as I didn’t have any on hand… still super yummy! Salad was amazing with goat cheese. Also – I didn’t have craisins so I used fresh blueberries instead. It was fantastic.

  28. This is a great recipe. I make it frequently and am always asked for the recipe. So yummy.

  29. How long can i keep the dressing for in the fridge? I have a lot left over

  30. Best recipe ever make it at least once a week

  31. This was so easy and so delicious! Husband raved.

  32. This was so easy and so delicious! Husband raved.

  33. Love this spinach apple salad… and your balsamic vinaigrette :) thanks for feeding us so well! L

  34. Will be trying for the first time! The ingredients sound wonderful. Can’t wait for dinner ?

  35. excellent salad and excellent dressing, loved it!

  36. Delicious and well liked by our guests.

  37. This is an excellent salad. After I made the dressing I thought I would only try a small sample for I had planned to use only half of the spinach and then use the dressing later on something else. This salad is so good made exactly to recipe it became our dinner for the night.

  38. Delicious salad! We did pecans and I did an ambrosia apple with a Granny Smith. So so good!

  39. Love, love this salad? Absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing

  40. Very good recipe. Made it for a group of friends at a bbq. It was very easy to put it together on site and everyone gobbled it up. It’s a keeper.

  41. My husband and I really love this salad! I wanted to make note of a mistake in the recipe ingredients list. It says to make a batch of apple cider vinaigrette. The recipe below is actually champagne vinaigrette. Other than that, it’s wonderful recipe!

  42. I have made this three times, including just now. The wife is allergic to onions and walnuts, so I leave out the onions and substitute the walnuts for sliced almonds. I also use one honeycrisp apple, and about three Mandarin oranges. It works for us. But this is a very easy to make and very delicious salad that could be a meal in itself.

  43. Delish salad. Roasted pecans and walnuts and used a golden apple and crumbled feta. Everybody took third helpings..

  44. Instead of two apples, I made it with one honey crispy apple and one Bartlett pear. Sooo yummy!

  45. Made I loved it!!!!!

  46. very quick and easy great flavor

  47. Loved it. My new favorite.

  48. I love Imaginative salads. This is a change from my usual hot bacon dressing spinach salad. But it look good so I will give it a
    Try. I too am now cooking ina limited kitchen. With none of my implements and stores at hand. Thank you for your recipe.

  49. Made it for company last night. Everyone loved this salad. For the vinaigrette, put together as listed, used apple cider vinegar, it’s a pantry staple for me (was not familiar with champagne vinegar, but may look out for it), good quality olive oil, needed a splash of maple syrup to balance out the acidity . Salad – mix of spinach, arugula, spring mix, red onion, craisins, no cheese. Will make this again!