Fall Flavors in a Warm Spinach Apple Salad

I love fall! Here in Olean, New York, where Cutco knives are manufactured, we have spectacular fall foliage as well as an abundance of apples to feast upon. Apples are such a versatile fruit, whether eaten on their own, with some almond butter or used in baking, sauces or main dishes. One of my favorite ways to partake in apple season is to add them to my salads. They add that perfect crunch and sweetness to a regular salad.

The key ingredients for this fall salad are, yes, of course, the apples but also bacon because bacon just makes everything better. And while the bacon crumbles add a delicious saltiness that pairs nicely with the sweetness of the apples, where the bacon really shines as an ingredient in the dressing. Specifically, using the bacon drippings as a base for the dressing – yum!

For this recipe, we suggest using Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples but really, it’s your choice. Use what you like. We actually tried the recipe with Ambrosia apples but I could also see paring Ginger Gold apples with Jersey Macs. Basically, you want a balance of sweet and tart in your apple selection.

The key here is slicing your apples thinly. I used the 7-5/8" Petite Chef knife to cut out the core of the apple quarters and then very thinly sliced them. The thin slices allow you to have manageable bites with all of the ingredients present.

The Petite Chef is perfect for thinly slicing the apples.

Once my apples were sliced and after my bacon was cooked, I moved onto the dressing. Any time you’re cooking with vinegar make sure to not stand directly over your skillet to avoid inhaling too much of the vinegar fumes. The Mix-Stir allowed us to gently stir the dressing until the sugar was dissolved and everything was blended together.

You want to serve this salad with the dressing still warm, so prepare everything and drizzle the salad with the dressing, tossing to coat, right before serving.

I could truly eat this every day – it was that good. Grill some chicken or pork to add to the salad and you’ll have a complete meal. As an easy side dish or main meal, you’ll want to add this recipe to your fall rotation.

Warm Spinach Apple Salad

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 bacon strips
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 9 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Place the bacon onto paper towels.
  2. Once bacon is cool, break the strips into crumbles.
  3. Drain the skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  4. In the same skillet, combine the reserved drippings, vinegar and brown sugar, bringing the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  5. In a large serving bowl, toss the spinach, apples, red onion, walnuts and bacon.
  6. Drizzle the salad with the warm dressing and toss to coat.
  7. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the salad and serve.

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