A Spring Salad with a Hint of Autumn: Apple Walnut Raisin Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Normally by this time in April I have cleared out my garden beds, turned the soil, and planted my early seeds.  I’m not sure where the time has escaped to this spring, but I have yet to pay any attention to my poor little garden.  A little laziness now will have consequences I won’t be terribly happy with later.   I’ll miss out on fresh spring peas, crisp radishes, tender spinach, and my favorite red leaf lettuce.

If you have a garden, be it humble like mine, or massive in size, I imagine you enjoy stepping out to pick a little of this and a little of that to include in your meals.  It’s as fresh as it’s ever going to get when it comes right from your own garden.

The composition of my soil is ideal for growing greens, so a fair amount of my garden space is dedicated to growing kale, spinach, chard, and various types of lettuce.  When it’s time for a salad, I pop into the garden, colander in hand, and just pick away.  Some of the greatest salads come together when you simply pick what is ready.  The different colors, textures, and flavors make each bite unique.

While I have fully embraced spring and its fresh flavors, I still love the flavors of fall.  This salad combines both the freshness of spring, with the warm flavors of autumn.  It’s a delicious salad that pairs especially well with pork.  It’s not your ordinary salad or your standard vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette is a flavorful combination of honey, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon.  It’s a little unexpected but in a very good way.

I hope you’ll give it a try!

salad 036

5 oz. spring mix lettuce mix
1 Pink Lady apple
1/2 cup thinly sliced jicama
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/3 cup raisins
4 oz. Brie, cut into 1/4″ cubes

15 slices party Pumpernickel bread (2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ slices)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Begin by making the croutons.  I have opted for Pumpernickel croutons because I was looking for a unique flavor to add to the salad.  You can certainly opt to use your favorite variety of bread.  I used the small party type pieces of bread for my croutons, as I wanted a thin crouton, not a big, bulky one.  I cut each small slice into a 3×3 grid, producing nine little pieces per slice.  Toss all of the cubes with the olive oil and salt.  Spread the bread out onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, or until the bread is crisped as desired.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Create your salad by spreading the spring mix onto a large, oblong serving dish.

Using an apple corer/sectioner, core and section the apple into eight pieces.  Thinly slice each piece of apple and scatter over the spring mix.

Peel the fibrous skin from jicama.  Cut the jicama into 1/4″ thick rounds, then thinly slice.  Scatter on top of the salad.

Top the salad with the toasted walnuts, raisins, and cubes of Brie.

Lastly, place the croutons around the salad.

To create the cinnamon vinaigrette, place all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender.  Process until the ingredients are emulsified.  You can just as easily add all of the ingredients together into a jar with a very tight fitting lid.  Simply shake until the vinaigrette comes together.

Serve the dressing on the side or add directly to the salad and toss together to coat.  If adding the dressing directly to the salad, keep the croutons on the side in a small dish.

2 thoughts on “A Spring Salad with a Hint of Autumn: Apple Walnut Raisin Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette

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