Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spinach-Apple Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

Sometimes it seems a little difficult to really dress up a salad but this time of year, being off work for winter break, I tend to have a little more time to spend on the sides of a meal than I normally would so I really like to get creative!  A friend of mine recently made this for a work lunch and it was so delicious that I went back for seconds....on the salad!  Who does that??

As my family gathered for a Pre-Christmas seafood feast I thought it would be a good addition to the meal because clearly with the mussels, salmon, scallops and risotto we needed something else!  It was such a hit that as we were all winding down from an amazing meal I had to add more spinach to the salad to stretch it just far enough for everyone to have a little bit more!

Spinach-Apple Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

Sugar Curried Pecans
6 oz. pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

10 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 gala apple, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

For the pecans:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss pecans in butter.  
Stir together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; add pecans, toss to coat.  
Spread in a single layer in a nonstick aluminum foil lined pan.  Bake 10-13 minutes or until toasted and lightly browned.  Cool in a pan for 20 minutes.  Separate pecans with a fork.
For the vinaigrette:
Whisk ingredients together until well blended.
For the salad:
Combine spinach and next 3 ingredients.  Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with pecans and crumbled goat cheese.
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