Salads are a staple in our house. We find them especially good for serving to guests to round out a meal. However, I tend to fall into the trap of thinking the salad is the “easy” part and save it until the last minute…at which point I realize it has a lot more prep work than I realized! While I love salads with many ingredients, usually I like something simple to put together so that I can concentrate on preparing the main dish. This apple pecan salad with pears and spinach fits the bill as fancy enough to serve to guests, but simple enough to put together in a reasonable amount of time. The idea came from my mother (thanks, Mom!), who is the queen of simple entertaining.
When preparing this salad, there are a few easy ways you can customize it. Use whatever jelly you have in the dressing (although I’d steer clear of really strong fruit flavors like grape). You can also use candied pecans instead of raw, or you can toast them on the stove until fragrant. Pecans are my personal favorite nut for this recipe, but walnuts or sunflower seeds would work just as well. And finally, the type of apples and pears you use in this recipe is really up to you. The homemade salad dressing is on the sweeter side, so a tarter apple (like a Granny Smith) would work nicely here.
To prep this salad ahead of time, chop the pecans and slice the fruit. Whisk the dressing together, doubling the ingredient amounts for a larger crowd. Store the ingredients in separate containers and mix everything together when you’re ready. If you’re catering to a picky crowd, you might want to serve the dressing on the side so people can serve themselves.
Although easy to whip up, this apple pecan salad is a real showstopper. Serve it alongside your favorite pasta or stuffed peppers. It’d also pair nicely with grilled fish, or even homemade pizza. This easy spinach salad is especially good in the cooler months, as it features lots of fall produce. However you serve it, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this apple pecan salad like we did (although I am a bit biased!).
Looking for more fall salad recipes?
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Salad
- Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Fresh Greens, Farro, and Feta
- Roasted Harvest Vegetables with Quinoa
This recipe is…
Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
This apple pecan salad with pears and spinach is fancy enough to serve to guests, but simple enough to put together in a reasonable amount of time.
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 6 cups spinach
- 3 tablespoons pecans, candied if desired
- 3 tablespoons elderberry jelly (or other berry variety)
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons grape seed oil (other other neutral oil)
- Kosher salt
- Wash the spinach leaves and dry them in a salad spinner.
- Core the apple and pear and cut them into thin slices.
- In a microwaveable dish, microwave the 3 tablespoons jelly for a few seconds, until melted. Whisk together with 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar and 3 tablespoons grape seed oil. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
- Place spinach leaves on plates and top with slices of apples and pears. Pour over the dressing, and top with pecans.
- Category: Salad
- Method: No-bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: apple pecan salad
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.