Last updated on May 1st, 2023 at 10:48 am
It’s fall again, when pecans and apples start showing up in our local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. To celebrate, I decided to create this delectable salad and dressing. This is a simple recipe that uses the best flavors of the fall season. So get to making this pecan and apple salad.
This salad has all the flavors of fall, including sweet pecans, tangy apples, and a maple-sweet, creamy dressing that makes this dish a real showstopper!
The combination of crunchiness from the nuts and softness from the apple is divine. However, I wanted to give it a twist and add a creamy mustard maple dressing. It turned out beautifully! The tart flavor of the dressing goes perfectly with the sweet, juicy apple slices. The creaminess and tang from the dressing adds another dimension to the salad.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.
A Perfect Fall or Thanksgiving Salad
If you’re looking for healthier options this holiday season, then you might be interested in this salad.
I’ve made a few Thanksgiving-focused recipes on the site before like family Thanksgiving punch, Thanksgiving sage roasted turkey, and my simple turkey gravy. But this one is focused less on the holiday itself and more on the general fall season.
The goal was to use fall ingredients to make a tasty salad that took full advantage of the flavors that are most associated with the season.
This fall salad uses apples, pears, pecans, feta, pomegranates, and dried cranberries. These sit atop the bed of fresh greens. And then the dressing brings in a warm mustard flavor that is tempered with the addition of maple to sweeten it up.
The dressing adds a touch of sweetness with a nice, warm tang. The dried cranberries add a nice bit of color and texture. And they pair well with the dressing, making for a nice, tart, and colorful salad.
Make the Creamy Mustard Maple Dressing
Typically, my first step in prepping a salad is getting the dressing made.
I want the dressing prepped and chilling so its flavors will have more time to meld together and it’ll be ready to go when the rest of the salad is prepped.
For this salad, the warmth of a honey-mustard dressing was appealing. But to make it more fall-themed, I chose to sub the honey with maple syrup. And then for even more added warmth I included some typical fall spices.
The dressing is my favorite part of this recipe. It is so creamy and flavorful. I think a big reason why I enjoy it so much is because I made it myself. And making homemade salad dressings is actually quite easy.
The dressing for this salad is a vinaigrette at its core. As a vinaigrette, this has two main ingredients. Vinegar and oil. Then we dress it up with other items to add flavor.
Our flavor mainly comes from the mustard, maple, cinnamon, and cloves.
Using a blender or food processor makes this a super easy recipe. Just toss everything in and blend it together. Try to pulse it so that you don’t run it too long and overheat anything. If you don’t have either of those tools, then finely chop everything and whisk it all together in a bowl.
It’s a combination of ingredients that all come together well. The dressing can be used for a variety of dishes and for many different occasions. So don’t feel like you are limited to using this dressing on just this apple and pecan salad.
Prep the Pecan and Apple Salad
Luckily, prepping most salads is pretty easy. Take everything out, chop or slice what you need to and you’re basically prepped.
This one takes a little bit more effort, but only due to the inclusion of one ingredient that people are probably less familiar with – the pomegranate.
With the dressing made, get out the apple, pear, and pomegranate. Wash all of the fruit and then cut the apple and pear into slices.
For the pomegranate, you’ll want to slice it in half. Take one half in a hand and then hit it on the back over a bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon. This will help dislodge most of the seeds. You may then need to fish the more stubborn ones out. See this guide for more details on getting pomegranate seeds out.
Once you have the dressing made, the fruit chopped, and the pomegranate seeds out, we’re ready to go.
Assemble the Pecan and Apple Salad
This delicious pecan and apple salad is almost ready to serve to your family. But there are a few different options for serving this salad.
Start with a large salad bowl and add the mixed greens to it.
Now, decide whether you’d like to mix everything together or leave everything in individual bowls so people can build their own salads.
For mixing it all together, there are also two options: with or without dressing. Including the dressing will make it easy and quick to serve, but it will mean that there can be no leftovers because the lettuce greens will wilt badly after just a few hours in the dressing.
If you plan on serving this for a group, then you might want to consider putting the toppings in individual bowls. This way, everyone can choose what goes into their own salad. On the plus side, this method is quite useful if there are individuals with allergies or sensitivities. Because they can simply avoid toppings as needed.
The pecan and apple salad is a great combination. It’s crunchy, sweet, and tangy.
What to Serve with the Pecan and Apple Salad
This pecan and apple salad can be a meal on its own or used as a great addition to the main course. The combination of fall produce with the mustard maple dressing is just mouthwatering.
The fresh ingredients make this salad vibrant. If you’re planning on serving this salad at your next holiday party, then you’ll want to buy some decorative dishes and bowls. You can also get creative by using different kinds of fruits, vegetables, or nuts.
You can upgrade this dish with some grilled chicken, crispy crumbled bacon, or roasted (or leftover) turkey to add some more protein. Serve some dinner rolls on the side and then use them to mop up all of the leftover salad dressing so not one drop is wasted.
In the end, this is really just a salad, so you could serve it as a side with almost anything. But it really works well with other fall and winter flavors or dishes.
The pecan and apple salad is a great addition to your fall or winter table, no matter how you serve it up.
How did yours turn out?
I’d love to hear when you try this salad and dressing combo! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.
Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.
Pecan and Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Maple DressingCourse: SaladsDifficulty: Easy
This pecan and apple salad is a great dish for any fall or winter dinner! It’s full of flavor and is a delicious way to enjoy fall flavors.
- Creamy Mustard Maple Dressing
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1 small shallot
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Pecan and Apple Salad
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 large apple
1 large pear
8 cups of 50/50 spinach and spring mix lettuce
- Creamy Mustard Maple Dressing
- Blend together all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor, pulsing for 10 seconds at a time until smooth
- Store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use, stores for up to 2 weeks
- Pecan and Apple Salad
- Wash and slice the apple and pear, cut the pomegranate in half and remove the seeds by hitting each uncut side of the pomegranate over a bowl until the seeds fall out
- Mix together the spinach and spring mix in a large bowl
- Top the greens with the pecans, cranberries, feta, pomegranate seeds, apple slices, and pear slices
- Drizzle with the creamy mustard maple dressing from above and serve
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