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Apple Salad with Croutons

La Vie Piquant

La vie piquant—the spicy life!  Everyday is filled with “piquant” moments that are pleasantly stimulation of exciting to the mind.  Whether it is in the form of food, style, design, love, entertaining, or any other inspiring idea or tangible object, “it” should be celebrated!  Here I will be sharing with you simple, beautiful, realistic, doable, and truly re-creatable recipes, entertaining ideas, and home décor pizzazz that will help you interject a little bit of “piquant” into your life – after all, we only live once.  Join me in living la vie piquant!

Apple Salad with Croutons

Marc J. Sievers

One of my favorite things about writing recipes is surprising readers and my guests with complex flavors by using everyday ingredients!  My Apple Salad with Croutons made its television debut on WGN TV Midday News: Lunchbreak and the star of the dish was my simple and incredibly flavorful homemade vinaigrette!

I made the vinaigrette with cinnamon, honey, and apple cider vinegar as my secret ingredients.  All of those flavors are classic combinations with apple, and the addition of tart cranberries, intense Blue Cheese, nuts, and crunchy croutons creates a layered and complex salad with wonderfully everyday ingredients. A match made in food-flavor heaven!  In fact, I served this same salad on Thanksgiving Day, and the entire platter was devoured with guests actually asking for seconds – of salad!  

Apple Salad with Croutons

Ingredients for Salad (serves 8)

  • Granny Smith Apple – cored, and thinly sliced
  • Honey Crisp Apple – cored, and thinly sliced
  • Lemon - juice of 1 lemon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/3 cup
  • Honey – 1/3 cup
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked
  • Olive Oil – ¼ cup
  • Dried Cranberries – ½ cup
  • Pistachios – ½ cup
  • Candied Pecans – ½ cup
  • Blue Cheese – 4 ounces, crumbled
  • Arugula or Spring Mix – 8 ounces

Directions for Salad

  1. Start by placing the cut apples in a large bowl of cold water.  Add the lemon juice, and allow to sit until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, mix vinegar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking vigorously.  Set aside.
  3. Drain the apples.
  4. Arrange the greens down the center of a big platter.  Add the apples, dried cranberries, pistachios, pecans, and blue cheese on top.  Drizzle evenly with the vinaigrette.
  5. Serve immediately.

Ingredients for Croutons

  • Demi Baguette – cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons, unsalted


  1. In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter.  Once melted, add the bread cubes. 
  2. Toast for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly brown.