Arugula Salad with Apples, Maple Sea Salt Pecans and Dijon/Maple Vinaigrette

We had the pleasure of dining with some dear friends last week and if you’d been a fly on the wall, you would have heard a comical conversation; it went something like this.

Me: “This is a delicious salad!”
My friend: “Well, it’s your recipe!”
Me: “Are you sure?”
My friend: “Yes, of course, I’m sure!”
Me: (thinking to myself) “You’re such a dingbat!” (I had no recollection of this salad – this is what happens when you’re a crazy cook like I am, rarely looking back, always trying new recipes!)

How could I have totally forgot this wonderful salad? I went home and looked for the recipe and realized that somehow (in my perfectly orderly world, ha ha!) it had disappeared. I emailed my sweet friend, requesting she send it back to me and couldn’t wait to try it.

I did take the liberty of messing a bit with “the old (forgotten!) family recipe” –  trying to make it a bit healthier. I switched out the mayo for Greek yogurt, decreased the oil and then added a bit of Dijon for a nice savory flavor ( it also helps emulsify).  I thought poppy seeds would make it prettier. so I threw in a few of them.  I drizzled this wonderful vinaigrette over a yummy salad with crisp apples, plump craisins and a shower of bleu cheese. A sprinkle of Maple & Sea Salt Pecans (yesterday’s recipe) was the crowning glory. The result is a delightful salad bursting with autumn flavor!

P.S. If you read the blog yesterday, you might remember that I was planning to make the salad with Asian pears – when I went to the market, there were none to be found! – Asian pears would be a wonderful substitute for the apples.

Arugula Salad with Apples, Maple Sea Salt Pecans and Dijon/Maple Vinaigrette

Ingredients for the salad:
5-6 ounces baby arugula, or baby spinach
1 medium apple, quartered, cored and sliced thinly – I used a Honey Crisp but whatever you have will work
⅓ cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons red or white wine, you could also use apple juice or orange juice
⅓ cup bleu cheese, crumbled, or to taste
½ cup Maple Sea Salt Pecans, see recipe –  plain toasted pecans would also be delicious

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:
¼ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons mild white vinegar, I used white balsamic but you could also use white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Prepare the dressing; combine Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vinegar and mustard in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined and creamy.2. Slowly, in a steady stream add oil whisking continually until well combined and slightly thickened. Stir in poppy seeds. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.3. Combine craisins and wine or juice in a microwave safe small bowl or jar. Cover with plastic wrap and heat on high for 30 seconds to plump craisins. Set aside to cool.

4. For the salad, arrange arugula on 4 serving plates or a large platter. Add apples, craisins and pecans. Drizzle lightly with dressing and pass extra at the table.

Honestly, I really can’t remember where I got this recipe from – it was years ago?!

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