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This recipe was originally published on October 11, 2017.
Looking for a fall salad to meet your clean eating goals? You should try our spinach apple salad!
It looks amazing, tastes fantastic, and is really good for you–plus, it’s served warm. The simple vinaigrette of two vinegars and brown sugar is poured over the apples while they are frying in the skillet.
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- Greens: spinach
- Nuts: toasted slivered almonds
- Cheese: feta or blue cheese
- Apples: Macintosh, Gala, or Granny Smith
- Dried Fruit: cranberries
- Dressing: two white vinegars and brown sugar
What are the calories for one serving?
For a one serving size (roughly 1 1/4 cups) there is 128 calories. This salad is low in carbs (19g) and low in sodium (63.1mg). This salad is also 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.
Do you have to clean the apples before frying them?
Yes, it is always a good idea to clean apples before eating them.
You’ll want to start the cleaning process by spraying the apple with apple cider vinegar to help remove any pesticides that are on the skin. Then, rinse the apple under running water, then dry it with a clean kitchen towel.
How can I thinly cut an apple?
There are many kitchen gadgets out there to help with coring and peeling apples, but I always fall back on a sharp knife. This is how to get 16 thin slices from a medium sized Macintosh apple.
- To thinly slice an 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.
- Carve out the core on each quarter.
- Slice each quarter into four slices. You should get 16 thin apple slices from each Macintosh apple.
Can you make this ahead of time?
Yes and no. The good news is the almonds, onions, and dressing can all be prepped a day in advance. Just before serving, the rest of the salad can be assembled.
Since the apples and dressing are warm, it’s best to toss them together right before eating to prevent the spinach from wilting.
How long will this salad last in the fridge?
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.
- 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
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.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat up the oil, then add the apple slices. Cook for two minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the two kinds of vinegar (white wine and white balsamic) with the brown sugar.
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.
Once the apples are ready, pour the fried apples with the warm dressing over the spinach. Gently toss the warm dressing in with the spinach. This will wilt the spinach a little, so it’s best to do this just before serving.
Add the sliced red onion, toasted almonds, crumbled feta, and dried cranberries on top of the spinach. With two large metal spoons, carefully mix the salad toppings in with the apple and spinach.
Serve immediately while it is still warm for a light lunch or as a starter salad for a dinner party.
- 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.
- Emeril Lagasse 8-Inch Skillet: this small skillet is good for toasting nuts or frying eggs.
- Set of 3 Whisks: these have been our favorite whisks for many years.
- Bamboo Spoon: this sturdy bamboo spoon is our favorite for cooking.
- White Balsamic Vinegar: this light-colored vinegar tastes great in this salad dressing.
- Sliced Almonds: a sprinkle of these almonds will add a nice crunch to the salad.
Looking for other company-worthy green salads? Take a look at these three.
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Spinach apple salad is a healthy recipe you can make this fall for your clean eating goals. It uses a warm dressing of balsamic vinegar that coats the sliced apples. Sprinkle toasted almonds, feta, red onions and dried cranberries over the spinach and toss. It’s easy vegetarian food that is wonderful for parties or for weight loss.
For the Salad
- 8 ounces fresh spinach (226g)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)
- 2 medium Macintosh apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
For the Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (30 ml)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (30 ml)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (24g)
For the Topping
- 2 tablespoons almonds, sliced and toasted (14g)
- 1 tablespoon butter (15g)
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (48g)
- 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 two apples. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, then add the sliced apples 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.
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: spinach apple salad balsamic vinegar, spinach apple cranberry salad