Winter Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette features crisp apples, red onion, and blue cheese crumbled all tossed together with salad greens and sprinkled with homemade candied pecans. This recipe combines all the flavors — sweet, tart, sharp, spicy — for a refreshing and delicious salad.
With just the right amount of savory and sweet, I think you’ll enjoy this easy Winter salad. For me, it’s certainly a nice change from all the heavy holiday foods I’ve been consuming!
Prepare the Candied Spiced Pecans and Maple Cider Vinaigrette ahead of time. Then, just before serving toss with the salad greens, blue cheese crumbles, sliced apples, and red onion.
How to Make Candied Pecans
A lot of candied pecan recipes are spiced with cinnamon, but the pecans for this salad are flavored with ground ginger, curry powder, and a little red cayenne pepper. Sweet, crunchy, and a little spicy, these pecans add a delicious contrast to the other ingredients in this Winter Salad.
- To make the pecans, start by tossing pecan halves in melted butter.
- Add the buttered pecans to a bowl of sugar mixed with the spices — ground ginger, curry powder, red cayenne pepper, and kosher salt — and toss until well coated.
- Spread pecans in a single layer on an aluminum-lined pan and bake at 350 degrees until toasted.
- Let the pecans cool completely on the pan and then break them up with a fork.
- Store in an airtight container until ready to use (up to one week).
More Salad Recipes!
If you’re looking to add more green food to your diet, then these delicious salads are a good place to start. Here’s a mix of my favorite salads using yummy and nutritious greens like arugula, kale, and even broccoli.
- Chopped Mediterranean Salad with Arugula — A Greek-inspired chopped salad featuring arugula, chickpeas, and pickled red onions with a fresh herb vinaigrette.
- Super Food Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing — This salad has amazing color, interesting ingredients, crunchy texture, and delicious taste!
- Lightened Up Broccoli Salad — A little bit of sweetness and a little bit of crunch are the perfect balance in reinvented salad.
- Poppy Seed Kale Salad — A delicious “almost homemade” side salad. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked!
- More salad recipes!
Winter Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette Recipe
One thing I like about this salad is that you don’t have to prepare it all at once. For example, the candied pecans can be prepared up to one week ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.
Also, the vinaigrette may be made up to three days ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator. The vinaigrette recipe makes enough to dress this salad with a little extra left over, so you enjoy it again on another salad.
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Candied Spiced Pecans
- 1 6-oz. pkg. pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Maple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 10-oz. pkg. salad greens (spring mix or spinach)
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 4-oz. pkg.. crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place pecan halves in a small bowl and toss with melted butter.
- In a larger bowl, stir together the sugar and spices. Add the pecans and toss to coat.
- Spread pecans in a single layer on the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then separate the pecans with a fork.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour the olive oil into the bowl in a slow stream, whisking as you go until the vinaigrette is well blended and emulsified.
- Combine the salad greens, sliced apple, red onion, and blue cheese in a large salad bowl.
- Drizzle with desired amount of Maple-Cider Vinaigrette, gently tossing to coat.
- Sprinkle with candied curried pecans and additional blue cheese, if desired.
- Store candied pecans an airtight container until ready to use (up to one week).
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2009.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 885 Total Fat: 81g Saturated Fat: 17g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 61g Cholesterol: 37mg Sodium: 704mg Carbohydrates: 35g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 23g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 12g
Sheila Thigpen, author of The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. A Southern girl living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters, are active in their church, love to travel, and are over-the-moon excited about becoming grandparents last year. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!