I’ve always wanted to be a good cook. I mean, I’m okay, but I LOVE fancy, gourmet food. And I’d like to cook more fancy, gourmet food. And eat more fancy, gourmet food. The problem is, I have 3 picky little eaters at home, and a husband who decided to go on a gluten and dairy free diet two years ago. It doesn’t really leave much room for experimenting with complex flavours.
I kind of feel like this apple cranberry pecan salad satisfies my gourmet cravings though. And the flavours are gentle enough that the rest of the family loves it too. The sweet crunch of the apples pairs amazingly well with the feta. I LOVE apples in my salad! Yum! And oh my goodness, if you make it with candied pecans, it’s off the charts amazing! I won’t judge you if you don’t have time for that though. Sometimes you need a salad and you need it now. I get it.
I used honey in the dressing, but when I tell my 4 year old I used sugar she’s more likely to try it. I’m like “Look sweetie, I made this salad with SUGAR!” and she’s all like “Oooooooh, sugar!” and amazingly she’ll give it a try. Sometimes she even sells the other kids on it. “Try the salad Big Sister! It’s made with sugar!!” Ha! I think I might be creating monsters?
My 6 year old looooooooves boring salads. I’m talking iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber with oil and vinegar. (Okay, I might love that too… it’s just so darn easy!) But sometimes, you just have to switch things up. This apple cranberry pecan salad is a super easy side dish to put together and it’s a real crowd pleaser! I was inspired by the recipe over at Creme de la Crumb.
The flavours in this salad are simple, but they’re good! Like, really good. I was drooling while I was taking the photos. I had to eat a bowl of salad during the photo shoot because it was killing me to have it sitting there in front of me, just out of reach. Look at it… isn’t it just calling out to be eaten!?
Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad Recipe
The full printable recipe is at the end of this post, but here’s what you’ll need:
- Spinach (or other leafy greens mix)
- Olive Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Normally I don’t like making salads because of all the chopping, but all you need to chop for this recipe are the apples and the pecans. Seriously, you can make the whole salad in less than five minutes.
I used red delicious apples because I find their crisp texture holds up really well in a salad. But you can feel free to use your favourite variety. I also used pre-crumbled feta. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought it, but WOW, that is a huge time saver!
It’s a simple enough salad to appeal to my kids tastes – although, they just pick out the pecans, apples and dried cranberries and leave the greens, but I’ll still take that as a win. And since I used real feta, it works for my husband’s dairy free diet as well. Trust me, it’s not an easy task to satisfy everyone in this house!
It would be a great salad to take to a party or pot luck. Just make sure that you add the dressing at the last minute. Also, put your apples in a container with a squirt of lemon juice and toss to coat. It will help keep them from going brown.
I was going to call this an autumn salad, because somehow I feel like it would be AMAZING with Thanksgiving dinner. But really, you can make it any season. Or even just for lunch. With the feta and pecans, it’s got plenty of protein to keep you going all afternoon.
Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad Recipe
For the Salad:
- 150 g approx 5 oz baby spinach
- 1 red delicious apple cut into thin slices
- 1/2 cup pecans Or Candied Pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
For the Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil, vinegar and honey to a small bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over top of the salad and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
This apple cranberry pecan salad recipe will make you feel like you’re making fancy, gourmet food, but your family will actually eat it. Or at least mine did. I can’t make any guarantees if you have super picky eaters too. It’s a great salad to take to parties and would go amazingly well with a turkey dinner. Plus it’s really pretty. And pretty things make me happy. 🙂
If you’d like to see more pretty salads (because that’s what’s important here, right? haha), be sure to check out our Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad. It’s got all the colours of the rainbow and it’s soooooooo good!