Work from Home Lunch: Perfect Fall Salad with Spinach, Apples, and Cranberries

We’ve been falling for fall over here in my house, which means apples and pumpkin in all of the things!  I’ve been eating at least one apple a day (I’ve been known to be able to eat a lot of apples, I love them so much!).  This week, I have been making this delightful, nutrient-dense salad full of fall flavors.  The combination of spinach, apples, cranberries, and hazelnuts offer a perfectly light but filling lunch, with the hint of fall seasonal flavors that don’t feel overwhelming!

Want to make this salad but don’t have all of these ingredients on hand?  Here are some good swaps to make this your own:

  • Spinach: Swap for any mixed salad greens, romaine, butter lettuce, kale, arugula, or chard
  • Apples: Pears or Asian pears would be very nice!
  • Dried Cranberries: Dried apricots or dried cherries would work great!
  • Hazelnuts: Pecans, chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pepitas would all offer that seasonal crunch!

This salad is a great option for an in-office lunch as well.  I packed one up for the day in a container yesterday and it held up through the morning quite nicely.  This would also be a great side to a fall dinner as well.

I hope this inspires you to treat yourself to a big lunch salad today!  Recipe down below, photo up top!

Perfect Fall Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 apple, cored and cubed
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup of hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp of Maldon (or any) salt

Method:

  1. Add the hazelnuts to a small saute pan, and put the pan on the stove over medium-low heat.  Toss or stir the hazelnuts constantly until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool fully, about 5 minutes.  Roughly chop until most hazelnuts are in about halves or quarters.  Set aside.
  2. Cut the apple in half, and then in half again.  Use either your knife or an apple corer to remove the core and seeds of the apple, discard.  Chop the quarters in half (lengthwise) and then into bite-sized cubes (cross-wise).  Set aside.
  3. On a large plate or bowl, arrange the spinach leaves into a single layer.  Top with apple cubes, dried cranberries, and toasted and chopped hazelnuts.
  4. Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with Maldon (or any type) of salt. 
  5. Enjoy!

Inspired?  Try some other big lunch salad options here:

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