When 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 are also 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 what I had on hand and the flavor combination I love best. But walnuts or cashews would be just as tasty, as would dried cherries or raisins and any favorite tangy cheese.
The salad can be served as a vegetarian main dish (larger portions) with some crusty bread and a crisp chardonnay or as a first course (smaller portion).
Apple Salad With Maple Vinaigrette
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Dash of paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
For the salad:
- 6 cups mixed arugula, shredded kale and shredded green cabbage
- 2 Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Granny Smith or other sweet-tart or tart apples (or combination of), thinly sliced
- Sprinkle of flaky salt, such as Maldon
- ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
- ½ cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
- ½ 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 to 15 seconds. Set aside while you build the salad.
In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, kale and cabbage and apple slices. Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine well.
Top salad with dried cranberries, 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.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.