Dive into a world where colors, textures, and flavors merge to create a wholesome symphony of nutrition - let us introduce you to a refreshing take on the Spinach Walnut Salad. Bursting with crisp apple slices, tart cranberries, and the heart-healthy crunch of walnuts, this dish serves as an enticing testament to the joys of plant-based dining. Brace yourself for a delicious journey showcasing the incredible benefits of seasonal, plant-based ingredients in one delightful bowl!
Why is this salad recipe a winner? Simply put, it's the perfect medley of nutrition and convenience. This spinach apple salad is an all-season champion, featuring a colorful ensemble of fruits and vegetables that are readily available year-round. It comes together in a jiffy, making it an ideal pick for a quick lunch, a side at dinner, or even for those unannounced guests.
The best part? Each bite is a deliciously nutritious treat with antioxidants, dietary fiber, and heart-healthy fats.
Digging deeper, this apple spinach salad goes beyond the usual green leafy mix. Here, the crunch of apples pairs delightfully with the tender baby spinach, while walnuts bring a hearty texture that engages your palate. It's a testament to how a simple apple walnut salad can be elevated with a bit of creativity. It even make it part of your Holiday table, next to cranberry sauce and a sweet potato crunch.
The raspberry vinaigrette, a tangy and sweet dressing, ties all these flavors together, adding an extra layer of complexity to this walnut spinach salad. So, not only is this apple walnut spinach salad recipe easy to whip up, but it also stands as a vibrant celebration of plant-based nutrition and flavor!
This cranberry walnut spinach salad is made with just a few delicious ingredients:
- Fresh baby spinach is a power-packed leafy green, boasting high amounts of iron and vitamin A, which help promote healthy skin and boost your immune system.
- Walnuts are our crunchy addition, providing essential omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to heart health and help maintain a sound cognitive function.
- Fresh apples bring a delightful crunch and a natural sweetness, and a good dose of dietary fiber to aid digestion and vitamin C for immune support. We like using pink ladies for their sweeter profiles; if you want something tarter, go for green granny smith.
- Dried cranberries add a tantalizing tartness, packed with antioxidants that protect your body from harmful free radicals and fiber for a healthy gut.
- Spring greens add vibrancy to our dish and are rich in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K, supporting bone health and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Carrot injects a pop of color and a sweet, earthy flavor, all while delivering a hefty supply of vitamin A for eye health and antioxidants that may lower the risk of chronic diseases.
- Raspberry vinaigrette completes our salad, offering a tangy twist while being rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, enhancing the dish's flavor and nutrition quotient.
See the recipe card for quantities.
This apple spinach salad involves 3 simple steps.
- Wash fresh spinach, greens, carrots, and apple.
- Chop and shred ingredients.
- Make your dressing and assemble the spinach salad.
Get your toasted walnuts going. Toss them gently into a skillet and toast on medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown.
Shred the carrot using the cross-cut side of a box grater.
Cut the apple into thin slices.
Optionally make our Oil-free Raspberry vinaigrette to top your salad.
Assemble the entire salad in a large bowl, starting with spinach, then greens, and topped with apples, carrots, cranberries, and the raspberry dressing.
Dress this spinach apple salad recipe with our suggested raspberry dressing made in less than 5 minutes, or add your favorite salad dressing with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar.
- Baby Spinach: You could opt for arugula or kale as an alternative, both providing a slightly stronger, peppery flavor. However, they both maintain the leafy green benefits.
- Walnuts: Almonds or pecans could be used as a substitute. While both provide a crunchy texture, almonds offer a sweet, subtle flavor, and pecans provide a rich, buttery taste.
- Apples: Pears could be an excellent substitute. They offer similar crunch and sweetness, with a slightly softer texture.
- Cranberries: Dried fruit, berries, cherries, or goji berries would make a good substitute. Both provide a slightly different tartness but are equally antioxidant-rich.
- Spring Greens: Substitute with romaine lettuce or mixed salad leaves, both providing a similar crispy texture and mild flavor.
- Carrot: You could substitute with parsnips or beetroot for a similar crunch. Parsnips provide a slightly sweeter flavor, while beetroot offers an earthier taste.
- Raspberry Vinaigrette: If raspberry vinaigrette is unavailable, apple cider vinaigrette, strawberry balsamic dressing, or blueberry vinaigrette are great alternatives. While it maintains the tanginess, it infuses the salad with a distinctive apple undertone, adding a unique twist to your dish.
- Vegan Feta Twist: Crumble some vegan feta cheese over the top of your salad. This will lend a creamy, tangy element that perfectly complements the sweetness of the apples and cranberries.
- Bold and Blue Variation: Try sprinkling vegan blue cheese crumbles on top for a robust, punchy flavor. The unique tang of blue cheese adds an interesting layer to the salad's taste profile.
- Hearty Mock-Meat Addition: For a more protein-packed dish, add some vegan grilled chicken strips. This makes the salad a filling meal, satisfying your hunger while keeping things plant-based.
- Zesty Red Onion Kick: Add thinly sliced red onion and lemon juice for a slightly spicy, somewhat sweet crunch. It pairs beautifully with the apples and cranberries, adding an extra layer of complexity to the salad.
- Blender or Food Processor: Essential for crafting your dressing, a blender (affiliate link) or food processor (affiliate link) will help combine all the vinaigrette ingredients into a smooth, perfectly emulsified mixture. This ensures even flavor distribution throughout your salad.
- Box Grater (affiliate link): This handy tool is needed for shredding your carrots into thin, salad-friendly pieces. It's a straightforward way to enhance your dish's texture and make the carrot's sweet flavor more prominent in each bite.
- Large Bowl: A generously sized bowl is ideal for assembling your salad. It offers enough space to comfortably mix all your ingredients, ensuring that every serving is balanced and packed with your delightful dish's different components.
To maintain the freshness and quality of your salad, it's recommended to store the components separately:
- Salad Greens and Vegetables: After washing and drying, store the spinach, spring greens, and grated carrot in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. They should keep well for 2-3 days.
- Fruits and Nuts: Keep the sliced apples and cranberries in a separate container, while the walnuts can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place.
- Dressing: The raspberry vinaigrette can be stored in a glass jar or bottle refrigerator for up to a week. Remember to give it a good shake before using it.
When you're ready to enjoy the salad again, assemble the components and dress it fresh. This approach ensures that each element maintains its texture and flavor for the best possible eating experience.
Absolutely! You can prepare this spinach apple salad ahead of time. Simply prep your fruits, veggies, and dressing separately and store them in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, toss everything together. However, to keep the salad fresh and crunchy, it's best to add the dressing and the apples just before serving. This will prevent the spinach and apples from getting soggy.
📚 More salad recipes
- Crispy Chickpeas and Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing: Step into a world of flavor and texture with this delightful combination of crunchy chickpeas and tender kale. The creamy tahini dressing ties it all together for a truly satisfying, nutrient-dense meal.
- Chickpea Cucumber Salad: This refreshing salad is perfect for those warm summer days. The crispness of cucumber pairs brilliantly with hearty chickpeas, resulting in a dish that's both hydrating and satisfying.
- Quinoa Edamame Salad: Looking for a protein-packed, plant-based salad? Look no further! This quinoa and edamame salad is a nutritional powerhouse, offering a balance of protein, fiber, and vitamins.
- Vegan Kale Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing: Savor the sweet and tangy combination of maple and balsamic on a bed of nutrient-rich kale. This salad not only pleases your palate but also feeds your body with health-boosting greens.
If you love salad vinaigrettes, don't forget all the tips to make the perfect vinaigrette!
⭐ If you try this spinach walnut cranberry salad recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Spinach Walnut Salad with Apple and Cranberry
- Toast walnuts for 3-5 minutes on medium heat in a skillet.
- Core and thinly slice apple.
- Peel and shred carrots.
- Assemble the salad, starting with the greens and topping it with cranberries, toasted walnuts, and salad dressing.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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