It’s apple pickin’ season and I have a simple, crowd pleasing Apple Harvest Salad recipe that’s as good for you as it is flavorful. The superstar of the dish is a freshly picked apple. Yup, it’s that simple and that splendid at the same time. I visited Weaver’s Orchard, my local orchard, to find a perfect salad apple.
The perfect salad apple, you ask? Yes, a crisp and slightly tart apple that does not brown when sliced makes for the perfect addition to this dish. With baskets of apple varieties clamoring for my attention how was I to chose the perfect one? Speak with an expert. The recipe tips your receive from a conversation with your local produce grower is invaluable. It’s the kind of help you won’t find shopping at a chain grocery store. Sometimes I just enjoy talking food and family recipes with a produce expert, so there’s that.
It was Dwight, at Weaver’s Orchard, who shared the scoop on the Autumn Crisp apple, as I went on and on about this recipe I had in mind. This apple is slightly tart, mostly sweet, crisp and will keep it’s shape in a salad and not brown.
The ease in this salad is not just the versatility but that it’s heart and hip friendly. Play with the favors by adding orange zest or juice, pear and/or apple, fresh or powdered ginger, use fresh grapes instead if raisins or add chopped cheddar or blue cheese, serve it chilled or slightly warmed, perfect as a side or as a mixed greens salad topper. If gluten-free is a goal in you diet, prepare it with red quinoa. Keep in mind spelt is not high in gluten.
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Apple Cider Dressing Ingredients
1½ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3-inch cinnamon stick
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grainy or dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Optional: cinnamon powder and nutmeg, to taste
Apple Harvest Salad Ingredients
3 cups cooked spelt berries (kamut, wheat berries or freekeh will work as a substitute)
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 – 1½ cup chopped Autumn Crisp apple
½ cup nuts, raw pumpkin seeds, toasted walnuts, pecans or pumpkin seeds
½ cup golden or black grapes
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Apple Cider Dressing
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Prepare the Apple Cider Dressing.
Simmer the apple cider and cinnamon stick on a medium low heat for 15 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half. Keep an eye on the cider, as it reduces it will thicken and you don’t want to burn it.
Stir in the maple syrup, gently simmer another 5 minutes, discard the cinnamon stick, pour into a glass canning jar and allow to cool.
Make the dressing by combining 3 tablespoons cider reduction, vinegar, olive oil and mustard in a tightly sealing jar and giving it a good shake. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. Combine the spelt, celery, apple, seeds, raisins and ½ cup Apple Cider Dressing. Give the salad a good stir. Add more dressing to taste, followed by the cinnamon and nutmeg.