Let's face it, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we have to do everything we can to keep it together health-wise before the holiday binging ensues. Soon we'll be stuffing face with Christmas cookies, mashed potatoes, pecan pie and who knows what else, so a salad might not be the worst idea right about now. This salad uses seasonal fall produce, one of the best tasting cheeses on this earth, and toasted walnuts to create a unique bitter sweet taste combination that puts garden salads everywhere to shame.
Raw fennel is tough and has a strong licorice taste, so it's important to slice it thin, that way each bite isn't too overwhelming. The apple balances it by adding a sweet element and softer texture to the mix. Toasted walnuts add crunch, substance, and protein. Then the Parmesan offers a salty sweetness to round it out.
Spinach, Apple and Fennel Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Parmesan
For the salad
- 2 apples, thinly sliced
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- handful of chopped toasted walnuts (toast in dry saute pan for a couple minutes on medium heat)
- shaved Parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt & pepper
Directions: just combine the ingredients for the salad, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and toss!
The vinaigrette is pretty basic, but also has a sweet and savory element to complement the salad. Mustard is the best thing to add to salad dressing, because it solidifies everything and makes it easy to pour evenly over the salad.
Try this salad for a weeknight dinner, or serve it as a appetizer at a dinner party -- it's a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
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About the authors
Michelle Zippelli is a Boston based hedonist who is committed to finding the best food that Boston has to offer. She has lived in Boston for 6 years and works in online marketing. Michelle loves meatballs, live music, exotic cheeses, Mexican food, spur of the moment dance parties, and all things pickled.
Jacki Morisi is a self-proclaimed bon vivant extraordinaire. A Boston native whose waking hours are exclusively focused on travel, music, food, and fare ... emphasis on food and fare. She's a firm believer that just because you're living on a young professional's budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste, and carries this mantra into each and every dining endeavor.