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Whether you need a fancy salad for Thanksgiving or just something deliciously different this time of year, you’ll love this seasonal salad. It’s colorful, sweet and savory all at once.

I made this salad over the weekend for Homepage | Cancer Support Community in a live cooking demo. I’ve been doing demos for them for about 13 years and love the community.

All about that base:

Spinach makes a great base in this salad and provides beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin C to your diet. Arugula or kale could also be used if you’re out of spinach.

If you use kale as your base, be sure to “massage it” to wilt the texture a bit. The salad can be made a day or two ahead of time when using kale.

Get fruity:

I used honey crisp apples in my salad, but Granny Smith apples or even Barlett pears would go well. Apples or pears add soluble fiber to your salad; the type that lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. They also improve the color and texture of the salad.

Dates are technically not a “dried” fruit, but because of their wrinkly texture, people think they are. They paired nicely with the tart apples and tangy balsamic dressing. These Medjool dates were provided by https://www.naturaldelights.com. I’m a paid partner for the brand and stand by its quality. Medjool dates provide potassium and fiber and have a chewy, sweet texture.

Including some form of dried fruit will add a chewy texture to your salads in addition to more color. Raisins, dried cherries, chopped apricots or prunes would go well.

Get cheesy: 

I typically add a small amount of some type of cheese to my salads. This adds a little more dimension to the salad and savory cheese goes well with fruit. You can use blue cheese crumbles, feta cheese or shredded Parmesan. Or, keep the salad vegan and leave the cheese out!

Dress it up:

Making your own dressing is super simple and so much tastier than bottled dressing. I love the richness of balsamic vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would go well, too. This recipe makes 1/3 cup dressing, which is the perfect amount to dress your salad. Don’t drown your salad in dressing!

If you want to add a different twist, substitute ginger paste for Dijon mustard. This may make the dressing a little spicy and less tangy. A few red onion rings would add another layer of flavor to the salad if you have them on hand. Drizzle the dressing right before serving. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 (10 oz) bag fresh spinach

2 honey crisp or another firm apple

1/3 cup chopped pecans

2 Medjool dates, chopped

2 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese

3 Tbsp. canola oil

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Place the fresh spinach (or other greens) in a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the chopped apples, dates, pecans and feta cheese.
  3. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard.
  4. Drizzle the dressing and toss to coat the salad right before serving.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 227 calories, 16.6 grams fat, 18.4 grams carbs, 3.3 grams protein, 4.4 grams fiber, 4.6 mg cholesterol, 97 mg sodium

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