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
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.
Meanwhile, mix vinegar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking vigorously. Set aside.
Drain the apples.
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.
Ingredients for Croutons
Demi Baguette – cut into ½-inch cubes
Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted
In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the bread cubes.
Toast for 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly brown.