I have to admit, now that I have a little bit of extra time, I'm really starting to enjoy blogging again. Before, I had to constantly remind myself to create at least one new post a month. Now, I can't stop thinking of new dishes I want to create! This period may not last long so be prepared for a flood of recipes in the next couple of weeks! We're diving right in with my new favorite salad, a fall harvest apple salad. This apple salad seems so simple but the flavors work so well together. I mean, spiced pecans, baked apple chips, crumbly feta, and fresh apples? How can you go wrong?
Fall Harvest Apple Salad
- 1 large honey crisp golden delicious or pink lady apple, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 ½ tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ cup pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces mesclun greens
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 small honey crisp golden delicious or pink lady apple, sliced
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Thinly slice apple using a mandoline. Lay apple slices on prepared baking sheet. Bake apple chips for 45 minutes. Flip over the chips and bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare apple vinaigrette. Blend garlic - apple cider vinegar. Slowly add oil and emulsify. Set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare spiced pecans. Melt butter and add sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Toss pecans with spice mixture. Spread pecans onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden and toasty. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Assemble salads. Divide mesclun greens among 2 plates. Top with red onion, feta, dried cranberries, fresh sliced apples, apple chips, and toasted pecans. Drizzle vinaigrette and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I strongly believe that salads shouldn't take hours to prepare. This apple salad does take some effort but you can prepare most of the items beforehand to save you time. Bake the apple chips and spiced pecans the day before and toss everything at the last minute for a quick meal. Nowadays you can even buy apple chips to save more time!
If you're going to make the apple chips yourself, there are several steps to make them right. First, use the right type of apple. I recommend the golden delicious, pink lady or honey crisp. These apples hold their shape well when baked.
Second, thinly slice the apples. It's very difficult to do this by hand so I use a mandoline to get the perfect slices. If the apple slices are too thick, they won't crisp up. Bake the apple slices at a low temperature, 250 degrees F, to slowly draw out the moisture. If the oven temperature is too high, the chips will burn before they get a chance to crisp.
After 45 minutes, flip over the apple chips and continue to bake until they are golden brown. This can take anywhere from 25-35 minutes depending on how thick your slices are.
While the apples are baking, prepare the remaining ingredients. Toss the pecans with the melted butter and spices and bake until toasty. This is probably my favorite way to prepare pecans. They become nice and crunchy and not overly sweet while still retaining that "pecan-y" flavor.
For the red onion, thinly slice them by hand or with the help of a mandoline. I like to soak the red onion in ice-cold water for 10 minutes to help minimize that strong onion taste.
Now time to toss everything together. Crumbled feta, spiced pecans, apple chips, fresh apple, dried cranberries, red onion, and mesclun greens, oh my! This fall harvest apple salad has a little bit of everything to bring you a plate that screams, "it's fall!" although, I may enjoy this year-round :).
For more fall salad inspiration check out this honeycrisp apple pomegranate salad!