Spinach Apple Salad

This spinach apple salad with balsamic dressing is so easy and SO good, it will be your new go-to! No one will believe it took minutes to put together.

Apple spinach salad

Salads are a staple in our house. But Alex and I often fall into the trap of thinking the salad is the “easy” part and save it until the last minute. When it’s too late, we realize it has more prep work than we imagined! So when it comes to our favorite salads, they’re ultra simple. Might we present: our new favorite go-to that will become your favorite too. Spinach apple salad! It’s got a tangy balsamic dressing and crunchy maple-glazed walnuts (or pecans). No one will believe it took only minutes to put together! It’s that good.

Spinach Apple Salad

What makes this a great spinach apple salad?

There are so many boring spinach salads, and this one is anything but! It doesn’t have fancy ingredients or flavors, but it’s got seriously good flavor and you can make it in minutes. It’s a plant based, healthy side dish that pairs with anything from pizza to mac and cheese to salmon to lasagna. Here are the elements that make this one great salad:

  • Best balsamic dressing: This dressing is our go-to! It’s tangy and sweet, and we use it often in green salads with fruit, like strawberry salad or blackberry salad.
  • Maple-glazed walnuts or glazed pecans: These are Alex’s genius: just a few minutes in a hot skillet with maple syrup makes the nuts shiny and lightly sweet. (No need to candy them!)
  • Apple & pear: Instead of straight apple, we threw in a pear for depth of sweet flavor.
  • Spinach & baby greens: A salad of straight up spinach can be overwhelming. We like to pair our spinach with mixed baby greens for a variety of textures and flavors. (Got some left over? See our top spinach recipes!)
Apples and pears

Customize it!

Of course, there are endless ways to customize this spinach apple salad! You can use whatever ingredients you love and have on hand. Pro tip: We added cubed Manchego cheese and served it at a party, and it was a huge hit. Here are some other options to consider:

  • Dressing: Try our Honey Mustard Dressing or Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Nuts: Use pecans or almonds instead: they’d work the same way in the maple glaze
  • Fruit: Lose the pear and use a green apple variety with the red apple, like Granny Smith and Honey Crisp
  • Other Adders: Add feta or goat cheese crumbled, sliced shallot, pepitas or sunflower seeds.
Spinach Apple Salad

How to prep this spinach apple salad in advance

Here are a few notes on how to prep this spinach apple salad ahead of time, if you’re making it ahead or for entertaining:

  • Make the dressing in advance and store it refrigerated. Make sure to let it come to room temperature before serving.
  • Make the maple-glazed walnuts in advance. Place them on parchment or wax paper in a single layer and allow to dry for 20 minutes. Transfer to a sealed container and store room temperature until serving.
  • Wait to slice the apples and pears until right before serving, because cut fruit can brown. If you do want to cut it in advance, mix the slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.

Serving this salad!

It’s easy to whip up, but this spinach apple salad is a real showstopper. Serve it alongside your favorite pasta or stuffed peppers. It’d also pair nicely with baked salmon, or even homemade pizza. This spinach apple salad is especially good in the cooler months, as it features lots of fall produce. But works any time of the year! Whatever way you serve it, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with it. We promise.

Apple pear salad

This spinach apple salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Print
Apple spinach salad

BEST Spinach Apple Salad (Easy & Delicious!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (20 votes, average: 4.30 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This spinach apple salad with balsamic dressing is so easy and SO good, it will be your new go-to! No one will believe it took minutes to put together. 


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Make the Glazed Walnuts or Glazed Pecans. (While they cook, prep the rest of the salad. Or, you can make these ahead!)
  2. Make the Best Balsamic Dressing.
  3. Core the apple and pear, cut them into thin slices.
  4. Place the greens on serving plates and top with apples, pears, and walnuts. Pour over the dressing and serve. (Pro tip: Dress it up by adding cubed Manchego cheese!)

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Spinach apple salad, Apple walnut salad

Looking for more salad recipes?

Outside of this spinach apple salad, here are a few of our favorite salads on A Couple Cooks:

Last updated: November 2019

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

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.

Alex Overhiser

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.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Ravenous Rowie
    October 31, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    What a delicious sounding salad! I would probably smother it in goat cheese too! YUM!

  • Reply
    Mrs Mix It
    November 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Looks yummy that sounds good for lunch.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    November 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    This salad looks so delicious. I love pear in salads along with nuts. Beautiful photo too.

  • Reply
    Tokyo Terrace
    November 1, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    This is such a beautiful salad. There is nothing like apples this time of year, but I’m often overwhelmed by the endless number of desserts. This looks like a beautiful, fresh and healthy way to enjoy the flavors of the season!

  • Reply
    Maria
    November 2, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Love this salad! Simple, elegant and delicious!

  • Reply
    Medifast Coupon Codes
    November 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Very nice salad, love the apple and pear combination.

  • Reply
    Jenny Nguyen
    November 3, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Lovely, fresh, healthy and beautiful photo… great post guys!

  • Reply
    Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking
    November 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    This makes me think about the summer. I miss heat!! I’m in Sweden and it’s winter. I miss sunny California and fresh vegetables..

  • Reply
    Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox
    November 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    This salad looks so good! Perfect for any meal or even a snack. Beautifully plated.

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    The dressing is awesome! I copied this to my recipe book at cookmarked.com immediately after making! (http://cookmarked.com/recipe.aspx?eID=q0ZzoN8MJsK5Fq4q1i55Ucf5nc1TgTZ9BspOIUqHt00e)

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