Spinach Salad with Apples, Cheddar and Honey RoastedĀ Pecans

November 12, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

This salad is perfect for a cool, cozy autumn evening, as a holiday starter, or paired with a golden roast chicken. You can even make it the day after Thanksgiving and add leftover turkey. You'll have leftover pecans, which is a good thing because it will be difficult to resist snacking on them as you prepare this dish. You can save any leftover dressing for several days. —mariaraynal

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • coarse sea or kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, sliced into lardons
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves or greens of your choice
  • 12-16 thin slices of high quality cheddar cheese (use a vegetable peeler)
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 small or half a large apple, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, preferably Meyer
  1. For honey roasted pecans: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, honey and brown sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. When butter melts, add cayenne and salt. Add pecans to pan, combine well and turn out onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Separate pecans and bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. Meantime, cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until golden and crispy. Remove and cool on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings.
  3. For dressing: add shallot, vinegar, cider, drippings, Dijon and honey to a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper and add lemon zest.
  4. Combine spinach and golden raisins in a large bowl. Add bacon and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of dressing on greens, or to taste. Mix gently with hands. Add cheese slices, apple and pecans to taste. Serve, passing extra dressing at table.
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  • Jennifer Roy
    Jennifer Roy
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    Bill Walter
  • menumaniac
  • Maria Teresa Jorge
    Maria Teresa Jorge
  • MrsWheelbarrow
I'm a self-trained home cook and freelance food writer who enjoys cooking and eating seasonally and locally whenever possible. When I travel, visiting the farmers' markets, local groceries and specialty food shops is as important as the shopping, museums and restaurants. I love to immerse myself in cookbooks, then go into the kitchen and experiment; and writing about food and the chefs who cook it is my latest pursuit. By day, I'm an executive speechwriter and event planner.

8 Reviews

Jennifer R. November 9, 2014
I made this salad last night for a couples dinner at my church and it got RAVE reviews. Thank you for the recipe - as to the butter, I used 2 T - probably was a little too much ... next time I'd do 1T instead - had to guess since the ingredient seemed to be left out.
Bill W. December 24, 2012
Not sure, but I don't see how much butter in this recipe
mrsriley81 November 15, 2009
Love this!
menumaniac November 14, 2009
I adored spiced pecans. They're wonderful in a simple mixed green salad with crumbled goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette too! Will have to try this salad over the winter!
Maria T. November 14, 2009
Have never tried roasting pecans with honey, and these with cayenne seem even more apetizing. I think the simplicity and mix of flavours you have created are terrific. Great recipe.
MrsWheelbarrow November 13, 2009
This salad has everything I love in it. YUM
Kelsey B. November 13, 2009
I make batch after batch of spiced pecans all winter, they are so good in salads like this. I love the idea of them honey baked - will have to try!
pauljoseph November 13, 2009
ver good recipe i will try