Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

Apples are a nostalgic food for me.  When I was young, we lived on a farm with apple trees.  I had a penchant for climbing those trees (sometimes getting myself stuck), and whenever possible I snagged an apple right off the tree and ate it amid the branches.

When I was older, we didn't have trees of our own, but we lived close to a fantastic orchard called Robinette's (you West Michiganders know what I'm talking about).  We made the 20 minute trek to Robinette's at least twice every fall, enjoying fresh apple cider and warm pumpkin doughnuts dusted in cinnamon and sugar, and then toting home bushels of fresh, crisp apples.

Bottom line, I love apples.

I grew up eating apples on their own and eating them in sweets.  With the exception of the occasional bit of warm applesauce (with pork chops, of course), we rarely at apples at dinner.  Then one year (2001, to be exact), I was looking for a salad to complement our usual Thanksgiving shepherd's pie, and I stumbled across a recipe for apple/pecan/romaine salad in Bon Appetit.  I was intrigued, and then delighted by how yummy it was.  Over the years, I've tweaked the vinaigrette a bit and switched from romaine to more peppery baby greens (this time a 50/50 blend of spring mix and baby spinach).


Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

Cider Vinaigrette

3/4 c. canola oil
3 Tbs.  apple cider vinegar
1 c. apple cider
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


2 gala apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4 inch dice
5.5 oz. of baby greens
3/4 c. pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

Place the apple cider in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Cook until reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.  Allow to cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Dressing can be (and really should be) made 1 day ahead . . . refrigerate until using.  Bring back to room temp before using and whisk to combine the vinaigrette one more time.

Toss apples with 1/3 c. dressing.

Place baby greens in a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and toss.  Top with apples and pecans.  Serve with any remaining dressing on the side.


  1. Annie, yummy, simple, and perfect for the fall season! Love it. And think it will go with my Thanksgiving dinner, too.

    Hope the writing is going well.

    Daryl aka Avery

  2. Pumpkin doughnuts?!?! How perfect is that for fall? Well, now you've got me thinking.

    This dressing is very intriguing. I never cook my dressings, but that would intensify the flavors. And it never would have occurred to me to put nutmeg in a dressing. I have to try it!

    ~ Krista

  3. Thanks, ladies. The original recipe called for frozen concentrated apple juice . . . I decided that a cider reduction would make it seem fancier and would provide a more intense apple flavor.

  4. Lovely post, Wendy, I have similar good memories of fall. It's my favorite time of year. This vinaigrette is a keeper, too. I'm lovin' the reduction step to concentrate the flavor--fantastic.

    Cheers and enjoy the weekend!
    ~ Cleo