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Candied Pecan Salad with Apples

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Candied Pecan Salad with Apples is perfect for serving a big group of people. Baby spinach, red onion, feta cheese, Craisins, honey crisp apples, and candied pecans – topped with an apple cider vinaigrette! So good!

Choosing the right salad for your gathering can be difficult. Which is why I’m got choices for you! Next, try my Loaded Harvest Apple Salad with Balsamic Dressing or the best Spinach Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing!

Overview of a plate of salad.

Holiday Salad

I always make sure to have SOMETHING green on my holiday table. It’s a requirement, because after all the cheesy, buttery, sugary things, you need something on the healthy’ish list. You can prep most of it in advance, and just add the dressing right before serving.

Priorities here. Plan the salad, and then plan ALL the other things.

Let’s start with a Smoked Spatchcock Turkey, some Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes, the most delicious Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble, a colorful Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad, and some Soft Brioche Dinner Rolls.

And this salad. Make this salad!

A large salad, divided by ingredient with wooden spoons.

I can’t think of a better salad to make over the holidays. It’s got all the flavors of this time of year, and I love them all. Let’s cover what we’re using here.

  • Baby Spinach – I normally snap off the stems, but that’s optional.
  • Apple Slices (coated in lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • Feta Cheese – salty and delicious.
  • Craisins
  • Red Onion – sliced thin.
  • The BEST candied pecans
  • And a simple sweet and tangy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

If you aren’t spinach lovers like we are, you could go with a different mixture of greens. Any will work.

The salad ingredients.

How to make this salad

Step 1
Make the easy caramelized pecans. These are the BEST part of this salad, and can be made ahead of time and frozen.

Step 2
Make the dressing. Combine the salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar, and shake well.

Step 3
Prep apples. Slice the apples, and add some lemon juice to prevent browning.

Step 4
Combine salad ingredients. In a large salad bowl, combine the baby spinach, sliced red onion, crumbled feta cheese, sliced apples, and candied pecans.

Step 5
Add dressing. If you are serving a large group, drizzle the salad dressing over the salad and toss. If you’re only eating a serving or two, add dressing to individual salads.

A hand drizzling the dressing over the holiday apple salad.

Expert Tips

  • Snap the stems off the spinach leaves. This isn’t a requirement, but I enjoy eating spinach salads better without those long stems.
  • Add lemon to the apples. If you skip this step, the apples will brown. The lemon actually adds great flavor to the apples as well!
  • Make the caramelized pecans in advance, and store them in the freezer. We like them straight out of the freezer!
  • Prep the dressing in advance as well. Before serving, shake the jar up vigorously. Use those muscles!
A plate of spinach salad.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

A plate of candied pecan salad.

Candied Pecan Salad with Apples

Candied Pecan Salad with Apples is perfect for serving a big group of people. Baby spinach, red onion, feta cheese, Craisins, honey crisp apples, and candied pecans – topped with an apple cider vinaigrette! So good!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: candied pecans, holiday salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 315kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 12-14 cups baby spinach leaves – or other greens
  • 1/2 cup red onion – sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese – crumbled
  • 3/4 cup Craisins
  • 1 1/2 cup caramelized pecans – see homemade recipe
  • 2 large honey crisp apples – sliced thin
  • 1/2 large lemon – freshly squeezed

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the dressing ingredients in a salad dressing bottle or a mason jar. Shake vigorously and set aside.
  • Core and slice the apple. Coat with freshly squeezed lemon to preserve color.
  • In a large serving bowl, arrange spinach leaves, red onion, feta cheese, Craisins, candied pecans, and apple slices. Right before serving, pour dressing over salad and mix to combine.
  • You may not need all the dressing so be conservative with the pouring.

Notes

  1. This salad is pretty large. You can change the serving size directly in the recipe for a smaller amount.
  2. You won’t need an entire recipe of candied pecans, but those freeze well, so just use what you need and freeze the rest.
  3. Low sugar Craisins can be substituted for regular ones.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 246mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 4292IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

6 Comments

  1. It is summer time and always looking for a good pecan salad recipe. I think I found it. I am not much of an onion fan but the rest is right up my alley. The sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette should put this over the top. I need to go get the Craisins. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I hope you love it, Millican! We sure do. Have a great day! 🙂

  2. Paula R McWilliams says:

    I will absolutely make this!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Awesome! Let me know how you like it! 🙂

  3. Michael Joseph Ringsdorf says:

    The best salad ever and make sure to double the pecans….. why not? ….. Love it!

  4. My favorite salad of all time! Such a simple concept, yet delicious ?!

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