There are a couple of things I just crave this time of year, after the Holidays and before Spring, and this Epic Apple Salad with Apple Honey Vinaigrette is one of them. Another is soup, especially healthy ones like The Original Fat Burning Soup here on my site.
And it’s not so much about “dieting” as it is about feeling the need for a reset, a balance, and something fresh! I love my cozy, slow-cooking wintery food: pot roasts, and casseroles and stews, but sometimes a big ol’ salad just hits the spot!
About Epic Apple Salad with Apple Honey Vinaigrette:
This salad is absolutely loaded, so I don’t want to suggest that it’s “diet” food by any means, but I bet it will be able to entice even non-salad eaters to give it a go. We’re talking apples, avocado, bacon, cranberries, Parmesan cheese, and toasted pecans for starters, all spread across gorgeous spring greens.
But like most salads, what takes it over the top is the dressing. This apple honey vinaigrette is rich, creamy, cool, and delicious and just perks those greens up with the right amount of tartness and just a slight hint of sweet.
If you want to go all next level, instead of just toasted pecans (toasting brings out the flavor) try tossing in my very fave ingredient in almost any salad: Candied Pecans. They’re so simple and take just minutes to make but the payoff! Just try not to snack them all up before they get in the salad!
Making Epic Apple Salad with Apple Honey Vinaigrette:
The prep work on the salad is pretty minimal.
- Wash and dry the greens. Use a salad spinner or wash and then spread over an absorbent towel and roll them up gently.
- Wash & slice the tomatoes.
- Cut up and cook the bacon. It’s so much easier to slice it up into pieces and cook than cooking whole pieces. Just cut it up, add to a cold skillet, turn the heat to medium and keep stirring them around. Drain on a paper towel when done.
- Toast the pecans (yeah, you really need to!) in a dry skillet for a few minutes over medium heat. When you smell them, they’re ready.
- Toss the apple slices and avocado with a little lemon juice if not serving immediately.
Add the greens to a large bowl and top casually or arrange the ingredients. Toss before adding the dressing and again after.
Making the Apple Honey Vinaigrette:
Yeah, the dressing has quite a few ingredients but most are items you probably already have and it is so super simple to make. The apple juice concentrate (frozen is great) should sit out long enough to scoop. Basically, everything gets dumped in the blender except the oil & water. The oil is drizzled in with the blender running – it will thicken up immediately. The water (or apple juice) is to thin it back down to the perfect consistency.
That thick emulsion won’t stay long – the dressing will separate in a matter of hours but can be shaken back together. More mustard or another item like egg yolk would help it hold but this isn’t a honey mustard – the bit of mustard is just to give it some “bite” and balance, not to bring a real mustard flavor to the table. And I just nixed raw egg because this makes a good bit of dressing and I like to keep some for another salad with no worries of food safety.
How to Store Epic Apple Salad with Apple Honey Vinaigrette:
As you might guess, with apple and avocado, the salad doesn’t keep well. If you do want to keep leftovers, use it within a day or two and only dress the portion of the salad you’ll be eating immediately.
The vinaigrette though will keep for a week or two with no issues. Just store in a jar and shake back together when you’re ready to use.
Salad greens by the bag, even on sale, are going to run six to 10 times the cost of buying your own. The problem? It’s getting harder and harder to find heads, bunches, or bins of greens in stores these days. And sometimes, ya just want fancy. If budget is a big concern try this salad with another more inexpensive lettuce or opt for spinach.
Cray cray, isn’t it, the price of bacon these days? Look for good sales, stock up, and freeze. You’ll find great sales before almost any holiday and around some major sporting events. Parmesan cheese goes on sale on the reg and keeps so well in the wedge form, it’s almost always in my fridge. Avoid the pre-grated if you can. Ounce for ounce, it cost so much more than grating your own.
Apples are a fall product but some always go into storage and come out around January and February. Even in areas where apples are pricier (the South) you’ll see them drop in price during late winter. Avocados, well, you might have heard about the embargo on Avocados from Mexico? It has already been lifted and shortages avoided, hopefully without any major price increases. As far as the tomatoes, again, choose whats on sale or what you need to use up on your counter. Chunks of tomato are just fine, too.
Once you use the apple concentrate (look for items like frozen juice on sale, too, because they do go on sale regularly) either cover and refreeze for next time or make apple juice. Just short the water a bit when mixing.
I hope y’all enjoy my Epic Apple Salad with Apple Honey Vinaigrette. Feel free to play it fast and loose with all the salad ingredients and add just what you like! It would be hard to go wrong and almost anything will go well with the vinaigrette! It’s so good I could just about drink it!
I know you can buy bottles of apple vinaigrette, and that’s a great shortcut. I just feel better (after reading some of the ingredients on those) whipping up my own! Take care and see ya next time!
Epic Apple Salad with Apple Honey Vinaigrette
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
The Apple Honey Vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoon apple juice concentrate
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch cayenne
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- about 1/4 cup water (or apple juice)
The Epic Apple Salad:
- 1 package of spring greens, 10 to 12 ounces
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted (or candied pecans)
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 2 apples, cored and sliced
- 3 to 4 ounces cherry tomatoes (about a handful or two)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries (if using dried cherries, roughly chop)
- 2 to 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1 to 2 ounces of Parmesan, shaved
The Apple Honey Vinaigrette:
To a blender add the apple cider vinegar, the apple concentrate, honey, sugar, dry mustard powder onion powder, salt, dried rosemary, garlic powder, black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Pulse and blend and with the blender running, through the feed tube, add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady drizzle. The mixture will thicken almost immediately. Add water or apple juice to bring to desired consistency.
Note: a good consistency will be easily pourable. With time, the vinaigrette will separate and lose its emulsion. Since this recipe makes more than needed for one salad, about 1 1/3 cup, store in the refrigerator in a jar or bottle and simply shake back together when ready to use. Will keep well for a week or two.
The Epic Apple Salad:
Add greens to a large salad bowl. Arrange other ingredients as desired. When ready to serve, toss, add the Apple Honey Vinaigrette as desired, and toss again.
Notes: Either add the apple and avocado immediately before serving or toss with a little lemon juice to preserve the color. The salad will not keep well for any significant amount of time after being dressed.
Keywords: Apple, apple cider, apple juice, Avocado, Bacon, Candied Pecans, Cheese, dried cherries, dried cranberries, Dried Fruit, Fruit, Honey, Lettuce, nuts, parmesan, Pecans, Salad, Salad Dressings, Tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, Vinegar