Apple Harvest Salad
It’s really easy for me to get excited about food ~ especially carbs. Salads though, really need to stand out to get my attention. Apple Harvest Salad has me on high alert. It’s a gorgeous side salad that would be ideal on your Thanksgiving table and easily converts to a delicious lunch or dinner any night of the week just by adding chicken. For dinner, I’d add a nice loaf of crusty bread too, but that’s me. It’s that carb thing again. . .
The ingredients for the salad were inspired by a recent trip to the cider mill – apples, cider, donuts. The donuts and cider aren’t in the salad – shoot, they hardly made it out of the parking lot but the apples are here along with that feeling of fall and all the great flavors that go with it. Apple Harvest Salad has a lot going on – just the way I like my salads – mixed greens, apples, some smoked Gouda cheese, dried cranberries (because I have to eat cranberries en mass this time of year), pecans, a handful of pepitas and the dressing. Oh man. . .the dressing.
Salad dressing is like accessories to an outfit, the right dressing can make or break your salad. Dressing is really easy to make and most times you have the ingredients already at home. This one starts as most do with olive oil and I’ve added a bit of apple cider vinegar, some Dijon mustard to give it depth and flavor, a little honey to balance and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk it all together or if you have any little Mason jars, they’re ideal for shaking up dressings, then refrigerate until you’re ready to drizzle over the Apple Harvest Salad.
If you’re adding chicken, you can use leftover or rotisserie chicken or cook your own. Figure 1/2 to one breast per person depending on size. Pound them to an even thickness, drizzle a little bit of the salad dressing ⇑ on the chicken (extra flavor), season with salt and pepper, bake at 400 until it’s cooked through, then cool and slice. You can also season it the same way and sauté in a skillet.
Assemble all the ingredients and start layering: mixed greens, some diced apples, cranberries, pecans, pepitas, smoked Gouda and baked chicken. Shake the dressing up really well and drizzle it over the top. The photos show a smaller, lunchtime portion. The amounts listed below for the Apple Harvest Salad will serve more.
Approximately 5 ounce container of mixed salad greens
2 apples (honey crisp or jazz), cored and chopped
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of pepitos
4 ounces of smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
As with a lot of my recipes, there are easy substitutions starting with the cheese. Blue cheese would be a great swap if you prefer a bolder cheese flavor; walnuts instead of pecans ~ you get the picture ~ check your refrigerator and see what you already have on hand. Any extra apples are perfect for Apple Cider Sangria. Enjoy!
- Approximately 5 ounce container of mixed salad greens
- 2 apples (honey crisp or jazz), cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup of pecans
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup of pepitos
- 4 ounces of smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chicken (OPTIONAL)
- Whisk the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper together, then refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.
- Assemble all the ingredients and layer: mixed greens, apples, cranberries, pecans, pepitas, smoked Gouda and (optional) chicken.
- Shake the dressing well and drizzle over the top.
- Leftover or rotisserie chicken can be used. If you're making your own, pound to an even thickness, drizzle a small amount of the salad dressing over the chicken, season with salt and pepper, bake at 400 until it’s cooked through, then cool and slice.