Gretchen’s table: Fall in love with an apple salad with maple vinaigrette

PHOTO CREDIT: Tribune News Service


hen it comes to fall fruit, it’s hard to beat the versatility of the humble apple.

Gala and the ubiquitous Red Delicious tend to be the most popular for eating out of hand, but sweet-tart cultivars such as Honeycrisp and the bright green, citrusy-tart Granny Smith also are great for a quick after-school or workday snack.

They’re also delicious on top of a salad, providing both a satisfying crunch and a fresh fall flavor that speaks to the season.

Here, thinly sliced apples add a bright and colorful crunch to a healthful, tossed salad mix of spicy arugula, shredded kale and cabbage. It’s dressed in a sweet and tangy, mustardy vinaigrette sweetened with another fall favorite, maple syrup.

I dressed up the salad with dried cranberries, toasted pecans and a generous crumble of blue cheese on top because that’s both what I had on hand and the flavor combination I love best. But walnuts or cashews would be just as tasty, as would dried dried cherries or raisins and any favorite tangy cheese.

The salad can either be served as a vegetarian main dish (larger portions) with some crusty bread and a crisp Chardonnay or as a first course (smaller portion).

For dressing


cup apple cider vinegar2 tablespoons maple syrup1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 clove garlicDash of paprika1 teaspoon salt


teaspoon ground black pepper


cup olive oil

For salad

6 cups mixed arugula, shredded kale and shredded green cabbage2 Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Granny Smith or other tart apples (or combination of), thinly slicedSprinkle of flaky salt, such as Maldon


cup dried cranberries or cherries


cup crumbled feta or blue cheese


cup toasted pecans, walnuts or cashews

Prepare dressing by whisking together vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in olive oil until salad dressing is smooth and emulsified, 10-15 seconds. Set aside while you build the salad.

Prepare salad. In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, kale and cabbage ad apple slices. Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine well.

Top salad with dried berries, crumbled cheese and nuts. Drizzle with the maple vinaigrette, a little at a time, and then toss again, making sure everything is coated to your liking.

Divide into two bowls for a main dish, or four salad bowls for a first course.

Serves 2-4.

Gretchen McKay writes for the Pittsburg Post Gazette.

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