Looking for a fall salad to meet your clean eating goals? Our spinach apple salad! It looks amazing, tastes fantastic, and is really good for you--plus, it's served warm.
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Spinach apple salad is made with simple, fresh ingredients. Here is what you will need.
- Greens: spinach
- Nuts and Dried Fruit: toasted slivered almonds and cranberries
- Cheese: feta or blue cheese
- Apple: Macintosh, Gala, or Granny Smith
- Dressing: two kinds of white vinegar and brown sugar
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. Thinly slice and separate the red onion. Measure out the two vinegars, brown sugar, olive oil, butter, feta cheese, and sliced almonds.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat, then toast the sliced almonds by constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until they are a nice light brown color.
- Wash, dry, core, and thinly slice two medium Macintosh apples with a sharp knife.
3. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat up the oil, then add the apple slices. Cook for two minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the two kinds of vinegar (white wine and white balsamic) with the brown sugar.
5. Pour the dressing into the large skillet, using a spatula to get all the sugar out of the bowl. Cook for another two minutes, gently turning the apple slices over so they are well coated in the dressing.
6. Once the apples are ready, pour the fried apples with the warm dressing over the spinach. Gently toss the warm dressing to cover all the leaves. This will wilt it a little, so it's best to do this just before serving.
7. Add the sliced red onion, toasted almonds, crumbled feta, and dried cranberries on top of the greens. With two large metal spoons, carefully mix the salad toppings in with the apple and spinach.
8. Serve apple and spinach salad immediately while it is still warm for a light lunch or as a starter salad for a dinner party.
The total calories will vary in spinach salad depending on the other ingredients added to it. In this recipe, one serving size (roughly 1 ¼ cups) contains 128 calories. This salad is low in carbs (19g), low in sodium (63.1mg), and high in vitamins A, C, and K. For more nutritional information, please scroll to the bottom of the recipe card to read the nutrition facts.
Yes, it is a leafy green that works great in salads. It is loaded with lots of nutrients and antioxidants and provides the body with lots of health benefits.
Yes, you should always wash fresh produce before eating it even if you buy it in a bag that says it's been washed. Spinach grows close to the ground making it quite gritty so giving it a good wash is best. For best results, wash the leaves right before serving them and allow them to dry before adding them to salads so they don't dilute the dressing.
There are many kitchen gadgets out there to help with coring and peeling apples, but we prefer to use a sharp knife. This is how to get 16 thin slices from a medium-sized Macintosh apple.
Start by standing the apple upright on a wooden cutting board. Cut the apple in half from top to bottom and then in half again to make quarters. Next, carve out the core on each quarter of the apple. Slice each quarter into four slices to give you a total of 16 apple slices.
- Poultry: roast chicken or turkey
- Pork: baked ham
- Beef: Salisbury steak or glazed meatloaf
- Seafood: shrimp and grits
- Bread: sweet potato, pumpkin, or potato dinner rolls
- Make ahead: The almonds, onions, and dressing can all be prepped a day in advance but you need to wait until just before serving to assemble the rest of the salad. Since the apples and dressing are warm, it's best to toss them together right before eating to prevent the spinach from wilting.
- Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, it is best to eat them up as soon as possible, as the spinach will have wilted and the feta and toasted almonds won't taste the same. If you are planning on having leftovers, put aside some of the salad before adding the warm dressing and fried apples.
- Want to add meat? Add shredded chicken, thinly sliced leftover steak, or fresh salmon.
- Want other nut options? Try walnuts or pecans that are plain or candied.
- Want a different dressing? Try honey Dijon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
- Want a different vinegar? Try apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar.
- Don't have feta? Try goat cheese.
- Want to switch up the apples? Try slicing ripe red pears.
- Don't want to use dried cranberries? Use pomegranate seeds.
- Want leftovers? Pour the warm vinaigrette only on the spinach you will be using right away.
More Salads You'll Love
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Spinach Apple Salad
For the Salad
- 8 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium Macintosh apples, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
For the Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the Topping
- 2 tablespoons almonds, sliced and toasted
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon feta cheese, crumbled
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the sliced almonds, and stir continuously until they are browned and smell toasty. Spoon the nuts into a small bowl to use later.
- Put the fresh spinach in a large mixing bowl, and add the sliced red onion.
- Wash, core, and thinly slice the apple. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, then add the slices of apple and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whisk the brown sugar and two kinds of vinegar together in a small bowl, then pour into the skillet with the fried apples. Use a spatula to get all the sugar out of the bowl. Gently turn the apples over, trying to coat each apple with the vinaigrette. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Pour the warm vinaigrette and apples over the fresh spinach and toss to combine.
- Add red onion, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and crumbled feta, and toss gently. Serve immediately.
- Pour the warm vinaigrette only on the spinach you will be using right away, otherwise the spinach won't be as crisp.
This recipe was originally published on October 11, 2017.