There is something about the crisp apples, sweet cranberries, and tangy feta cheese that make this salad a favorite of mine. A balsamic dressing doesn’t hurt either. Balsamic Vinegar is probably my favorite vinegar, you just can’t beat that slightly sweet tangy-ness combined with such depth of flavor.
For this salad, I always toss the greens with the dressing then sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over the top. This keeps the apples and feta cheese bright instead of slightly brown from the dressing.
For the apples, I cut them into quarters, then each quarter into 4 slices, finally I cut across the slices into tidbit size pieces. For the walnuts I roughly chopped them on the cutting board, using a chef’s knife.
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette, whisk together the first 3 ingredients then gradually whisk in the olive oil. It is important to drizzle, if you pour too much in at once the dressing won’t come together. By adding the olive oil little by little, it creates an emulsified dressing. I don’t make this particular dressing in the blender because it is such a small amount and my blender tends the throw the dressing up the sides making a mess. Also, the bowl and whisk go in the dishwasher, the blender does not.
I love the beautiful bright colors of this salad in the dead of winter it makes me think of the abundance of produce that’s soon to come.
- 1 large head red leaf lettuce, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large apple, chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped (opt.)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- Maple syrup, to taste (opt.)
- Place the lettuce in a serving bowl.
- Put balsamic vinegar, mustard, and sea salt in a blender, blend on low for a few seconds to combine. Then with the motor running slowly pour olive oil in until emulsified. Sweeten to taste with optional maple syrup.
- Toss the greens with the dressing, then sprinkle apples, walnuts, cranberries, feta cheese, and red onion, if using, over the lettuce.
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