Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe

Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette

Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4


Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette
Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette

This Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette is a refreshing and nutritious dish that combines the crispness of fresh apples with the earthy tones of baby spinach, all brought together with a tangy and aromatic vinaigrette. Perfect for a light lunch, side dish, or a healthy addition to your dinner table, this salad is not only delicious but also visually appealing. The combination of ingredients ensures a blend of textures and flavors that are sure to delight the palate.


The concept of combining fruits with leafy greens in salads has been around for centuries, evolving through different cultures and cuisines. The use of vinaigrette dressings dates back to French cuisine, where they have been a staple in salad preparation. The Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette is a modern take on these traditional elements, incorporating the classic French Dijon mustard into the dressing and pairing it with the distinctly American Granny Smith apple for a cross-cultural culinary experience.


Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette

How to prepare

Apple spinach salad

  1. In a large bowl, combine spinach, apple, onion, and cherries.
  2. Prepare Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette by shaking the ingredients in a screw-top jar and drizzle onto the salad.
  3. Toss the salad to evenly coat all the ingredients.
  4. If desired, sprinkle cheese on top of each serving.

Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette

  1. In a screw-top jar, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients.
  2. Cover the jar and shake well to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
  3. Chill the vinaigrette until you are ready to serve.
  4. Make-ahead directions: Prepare the vinaigrette as directed. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Serve any leftover vinaigrette with a tossed vegetable salad.


  • For a vegan version, substitute the feta cheese with a vegan cheese alternative or omit it altogether. You can also add nuts such as walnuts or almonds for added texture and nutrition. For a sweeter variation, consider adding slices of pear or swapping the dried cherries for dried cranberries.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best flavor, use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Baby spinach should be vibrant and fresh, without any wilted leaves. When selecting Granny Smith apples, look for firm fruits with a bright green color. For the vinaigrette, using fresh thyme will significantly enhance the flavor compared to dried thyme. To ensure the salad is well-coated, toss it thoroughly so that each leaf is lightly dressed with the vinaigrette.

Serving Suggestions

This salad can be served as a standalone meal for a light lunch or as a side dish with dinner. It pairs well with grilled chicken, fish, or a hearty soup for a more filling meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the preparation of the Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette. Emulsifying the olive oil and vinegar properly by vigorous shaking ensures a smooth and flavorful dressing. Additionally, thinly slicing the apple and red onion will enhance the texture and distribution of flavors throughout the salad.

Ingredient Substitutions

If Granny Smith apples are not available, any crisp, tart apple can be used as a substitute. Red wine vinegar can replace balsamic vinegar for a different flavor profile. If fresh thyme is not available, dried thyme can be used, but in a smaller quantity due to its concentrated flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

The Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. The salad ingredients can be prepped and stored separately in the refrigerator, with the salad assembled and dressed just before serving to maintain freshness.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the salad on a large platter or in individual bowls with a garnish of extra thyme leaves and a few apple slices on top for a visually appealing presentation. A light drizzle of the vinaigrette over the top just before serving adds a glossy finish.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs beautifully with white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or a light Chardonnay, which complement the tangy flavors of the vinaigrette and the crispness of the apple. For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime is refreshing.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This salad is best enjoyed fresh. However, if you have leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The salad does not require reheating, but if you've added protein like chicken, it can be reheated separately and added to the salad before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of this salad contains approximately 150 calories, making it an excellent choice for those monitoring their calorie intake. The majority of the calories come from the olive oil and feta cheese.


This salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the apple and dried cherries. A serving of this salad contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates. The fiber from the apples and spinach also contributes to making this dish satisfying yet healthy.


The majority of the fats in this salad come from the olive oil used in the vinaigrette and the feta cheese. These are primarily healthy fats, with a serving containing about 10 grams of fat, most of which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.


This salad provides a modest amount of protein, mainly from the feta cheese. Each serving contains approximately 4 grams of protein. For those looking to increase the protein content, adding grilled chicken or chickpeas can make it a more protein-rich meal.

Vitamins and minerals

The Apple Spinach Salad is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin A and Vitamin C from the spinach and apple, respectively. Spinach is also a good source of iron and calcium, while the nuts add magnesium and zinc.


This recipe contains dairy (feta cheese) and may not be suitable for individuals with a dairy allergy. It is gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free, making it suitable for those with common food allergies.


Overall, the Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette is a nutritious dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and caters to various dietary needs and preferences.


The Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette is a versatile, nutritious, and delicious dish that combines the best of fresh ingredients with a tangy and aromatic dressing. Whether served as a light lunch or a side dish, it's sure to be a hit. With options for customization and make-ahead tips, it's a convenient choice for any meal.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately intrigued. The combination of apples, spinach, and a tangy Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette sounded like a match made in culinary heaven. I knew I had to learn how to make it.

I first came across this recipe many years ago, when I was visiting my dear friend Margaret. Margaret was a fantastic cook, and she always had the most delicious recipes up her sleeve. On this particular visit, she served me this incredible Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette, and I was blown away by how flavorful and refreshing it was.

I asked Margaret for the recipe, and she was more than happy to share it with me. She told me that she had learned it from her French grandmother, who had passed it down through the generations. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn a recipe with such a rich history.

Margaret took me into her kitchen and showed me how to make the salad. She started by preparing the Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette, blending together fresh thyme, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. The aroma that filled the kitchen was intoxicating, and I knew that this dressing was going to be something special.

Next, Margaret showed me how to prepare the apples. She peeled and thinly sliced them, then tossed them in a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning. The apples added a crisp sweetness to the salad that complemented the earthy flavors of the spinach perfectly.

As Margaret continued to guide me through the recipe, I couldn't help but marvel at her skill and expertise in the kitchen. She moved with such grace and confidence, effortlessly balancing flavors and textures to create a truly memorable dish.

Once the vinaigrette was ready and the apples were prepared, Margaret showed me how to assemble the salad. She tossed the fresh spinach leaves with the sliced apples, toasted walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese, then drizzled the whole thing with the aromatic Thyme-Dijon vinaigrette.

The final result was a work of art. The vibrant colors of the apples and spinach, the creamy goat cheese, the crunchy walnuts, and the fragrant vinaigrette all came together in perfect harmony. I couldn't wait to dig in and savor every bite.

Margaret and I enjoyed the salad together, savoring each mouthful and delighting in the flavors that danced across our taste buds. As we ate, she shared stories of her grandmother and the meals they had shared together, passing down recipes and traditions from one generation to the next.

I left Margaret's house that day with a full belly and a heart full of gratitude. She had not only given me a delicious recipe to add to my repertoire, but she had also shared a piece of her family history with me. I knew that this Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette would become a staple in my own kitchen, a reminder of the bond between friends and the joy of sharing a meal together.

Over the years, I have made this salad countless times, each time thinking back to that day in Margaret's kitchen and the lessons she taught me about cooking with love and tradition. It has become a favorite among my family and friends, who always request it when they come to visit.

As I prepare this salad now, I can't help but smile as I remember the first time I saw the recipe and the journey it has taken me on. It is a reminder of the power of food to bring people together, to create memories, and to pass down traditions from one generation to the next.

And so, as I take a bite of this delicious Apple Spinach Salad with Thyme-Dijon Vinaigrette, I am grateful for the friendships, the stories, and the recipes that have enriched my life and filled my kitchen with love.


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