Autumn Apple Spinach Salad with Bacon and Candied Pecans
This Fall, treat yourself to this healthy and delicious Autumn Apple Spinach Salad with Bacon and Candied Pecans! Leafy greens are topped with ingredients like sweet apples, crunchy pecans, crumbled bacon and tasty cheese. And of course, you can’t forget about the homemade hot bacon dressing!
Autumn Apple Spinach Salad
It’s fall, which means it’s officially the season of hearty soups, stews, and roasts! While I love all that super filling stuff, sometimes I need something not so heavy to munch on that still hits all the Fall marks. This salad really has it all! While it’s still light and healthy, it’s also wonderfully filling and rich with autumnal ingredients like apples, bacon and sweet candied pecans. You can still enjoy all the wonderful flavors of the Fall season in a salad – what’s not to love?!
This salad is SO easy to make, and it’s perfect for so many different occasions. Need an appetizer for your pumpkin patch party? Use this salad! Craving the perfect October light lunch? This is the salad for you. Looking to shed a few pounds after munching on your kid’s Halloween candy? No judgement here – this salad is calling your name! It’s filling, so it’ll actually satisfy your hunger, and it’s so Fall-inspired that you’ll still feel all those warm and cozy feeling while enjoying it, no matter what the occasion may be.
The balance of bold ingredients in this salad is also really noteworthy. The fresh apples, cranberries, and candied pecans will satisfy your sweet tooth, while ingredients like red onion and Gorgonzola cheese will make your mouth water for those savory flavors. Also, you can’t forget about the bacon and hard boiled eggs, which will help keep you full while also tasting oh so delicious! Trust me, a spinach salad has never been this satisfying, especially for the Fall season!
How to Make Spinach Salad
- Arrange and top it. Arrange the spinach on a platter or add to a large salad bowl. Top with the apples, pecans, bacon, cranberries, onion, eggs and cheese.
- Drizzle. Drizzle with 1/2 the dressing and serve immediately. Serve the salads on individual plates with remaining dressing on the side.
- Time to make the finger-licking good hot bacon dressing –
- Fry up that bacon! In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
- Whisk it. Whisk the vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard into the bacon fat until slightly thickened and creamy. Remove from the heat.
- Season. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.
If you don’t want to use the bacon dressing we also love this Apple Cider Vinaigrette!
How long will this autumn salad stay fresh?
If you plan on making this salad ahead of time, I highly recommend storing the dressing and salad separately from one another! In two different airtight containers in the refrigerator, the salad and dressing will both stay fresh for about 2-3 days. Once it’s all been mixed together, the salad will stay fresh for about 24 hours before the spinach begins to wilt from being moist.
What kind of apples should I be using for this salad?
It all depends on your personal preferences! I love using honeycrisp, as they have the most amazing crispy texture and sweet flavor that help balance out the more tart and savory flavors in the salad. However, you could use something more sour like a granny smith apple if you like flavors that are more tart. If you like the honeycrisp flavor but not the price tag, go with another neutral apple like fuji or gala.
Don’t you love when salads aren’t just tasty and healthy, but they’re filling, too?!
Get the Recipe: Autumn Apple Spinach Salad Recipe
- 10 ounces baby spinach
- 2 large apples, cored and thinly sliced ( I like to use Honeycrisp, granny smith or fuji but any apple will work.)
- 1/2 cup candied pecans
- 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 soft boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half
- 4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, cut into wedges or crumbled (or other blue cheese)
- Hot Bacon Dressing, see below
For the dressing:
- 8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Arrange the spinach on a platter or add to a large salad bowl.
- Top with the apples, pecans, bacon, cranberries, onion, eggs and cheese.
- Drizzle with 1/2 the dressing and serve immediately.
- Serve the salads on individual plates with remaining dressing on the side.
- In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the rendered fat.
- Crumble the bacon and set aside.
- Whisk the vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard into the bacon fat until slightly thickened and creamy. Remove from the heat.
- Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.