Every fall it happens, as sure as pumpkin spice and sweaters: Apple season. And for many people that may mean an abundance of apple pies, apple crisps, or apple cakes. I’m a big fan of each of those luscious desserts using apples but apples also make great additions to a wide variety of dishes. Apples are equally as delicious on the dinner plate, in a breakfast bowl, or even in a salad.
Speaking of salads, apples are one of the very best fruits to add to leafy greens. And the nice thing about apples, is depending on their variety (e.g. Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp), each will have their own unique flavor and special name many of us are familiar with and look for specifically when buying this fruit. In this recipe, Honeycrisp is the apple of choice to use. Since its introduction in 1991, the Honeycrisp is a near-perfect raw apple and has been hugely successful making it one of the top three apple varieties in the U.S. in terms of volume. Thanks to larger individual cells within its flesh, it is fantastically crisp while boasting a delicate sweet and subtly tart flavor. Because of its unique and complex flavors, the Honeycrisp is a perfect apple for recipes ranging from sweet to savory.
Apples can do a lot for you nutritionally. Apples contain a plant chemical called flavonoids that have pectin, a fiber that breaks down in your gut. Leave the skin on apples if possible in recipes – if you remove it before eating, you won’t get as much of the flavonoids and fiber. Fiber also slows digestion keeping you feeling fuller longer after a meal helping to prevent overeating.
Besides apples, this recipe also incorporates antioxidant-rich kale and spinach which are better for you when eaten raw. For this recipe, you’ll want to cut both kale and spinach into thin strips, whisk with a light lemon dressing, toss in slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, and dates, and you’ll have created a beautifully tasteful savory-sweet blend of some of the healthiest foods around. If you care to add in a satisfying depth of flavor to this nutritious salad, sprinkle on top grated Parmesan and Romano cheese. Voila! You now have salad perfection!
Apple, Kale, and Spinach Salad – makes 4 servings (about ¾ cup per serving)
Nutrition per serving – Calories – 150 calories; Total Fat – 9 grams; Protein – 5 grams; Carbohydrates – 18 grams; Fiber – 4 grams; Sodium – 160 milligrams
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups baby kale, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
¼ cup dates, cut into thin slivers
1 Honeycrisp apple (leave the skin on), cut into matchstick slices
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
¼ cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese, optional
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt in a small bowl.
- Place kale and spinach in a large bowl, add in the lemon-olive oil dressing and toss gently. Let stand 10 minutes allowing flavors to blend.
- In the meanwhile, cut the dates into thin slivers and the apple into thin matchsticks.
- Add the dates, apple slices, almonds, sunflower seeds, and cheese (optional) to the leafy greens. Toss well.
If desired, season with salt and pepper.