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Fresh and Fun Fall Dinner Salad

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The crunch of fresh apples, the sweetness of dried cranberries, savory chicken and cheese, and fresh greens come together in this great salad that helps bridge the seasons when you still want something light but fall flavors are calling your name! The homemade dressing is perfect for all kinds of salads as well!

bowls of salad with chicken, cranberries, cheese, apples and homemade salad dressing.

Rainier Fruit provided me with apples for recipe development and a great prize package for our readers as part of #AppleWeek.  All opinions are my own. 

     This time of year is always interesting to plan dinners for. I have eaten my weight in fresh tomatoes from the garden and I am ready for something different. There is a nip in the evening air that makes you think fall, but it is still too warm to actually make casseroles and braises.

   Besides we are still busy taking advantage of daylight, so I am not yet ready to spend the time assembling lasagnas after work. The time for apple cider pulled pork and yummy chicken enchiladas will come soon enough.

   Those warm, comforting meals will start hitting the table as soon as the cooler weather is here to stay and really I can’t wait!

square plate with greens, smoked chicken, apples, cheese and more.

    In the meantime, a nice fresh salad that incorporates some fall flavors is a perfect way to bridge the seasons.  If you have some leftover chicken, they come together in no time.

    I was super excited when Rainier Fruit signed on as a sponsor for #appleweek. Any fruit I’ve had from them has always been amazing.

 When I heard they were waiting to send us apples until honeycrisp season started, I probably let out an audible squeal!

bowl with salad greens, apples, craisins, blue cheese, pecans and smoked chicken.

      I just love honeycrisp apples. They have that great crunch and the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

   They actually overnighted us a nice box of organic apples just as picking season started so we could have the freshest produce to create recipes with. Isn’t that amazing?

     Since I love the apples so much, I really wanted them to shine in my recipe. I also new I wanted to keep them raw so that crunch that earned them their name would remain. So I put together a delicious salad for you.

    The dressing only takes a couple of minuted to assemble and it keeps well.  Just out the ingredients in a jar and shake them up.

    Store it in the refrigerator and shake it again before your next use. Easy peasy!

big bowl of fall dinner salad.

     Now I served the first salad with some leftover smoked chicken breasts I had and that was amazing! I am always a bit nervous serving something like this to my husband as he is kind of your classic meat and potatoes  (preferably with plenty of cheese) kind of guy.

    He gobbled it up and told me I could make it again anytime. That’s his way of saying he likes something.

    So you know what I did? I made them again the very next weekend and every day that week for my lunches as well! This time I just quickly cooked up some boneless skinless chicken breasts and chopped them up.

side view of bowls of fall dinner salad with chunks of apple, chicken, cranberries, cheese and homemade vinagriette.

    The sweet apples and dried cranberries paired perfectly with the savory chicken and nutty pecans. The dressing has a nice balance of sweet and acid that jazzes everything up a bit.

    We love the flavor the blue cheese adds to a salad like this, but if you aren’t a fan I’m sure feta, cheddar or gruyere would work as well.

    If you are a big fan of salads like this that are loaded with fruit, nuts and cheese you are going to love some of my other salads as well.  The fruit and chicken poppy seed salad is stuffed to the gills with goodies and a homemade poppy seed dressing brings it all together.

    Or there’s the red, white and blueberry salad which is all berries, chicken, cheese and a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette.

    I think #appleweek is my favorite week in the blog. I hope you’ve had a chance to check out some of the other apple recipes.

Yield: 1 Serving

Fresh and Fun Fall Dinner Salad

bowl with salad greens, apples, craisins, blue cheese, pecans and smoked chicken.

The crunch of fresh apples, the sweetness of dried cranberries, savory chicken and cheese, and fresh greens come together in this great salad that helps bridge the seasons when you still want something light but fall flavors are calling your name! The homemade dressing is perfect for all kinds of salads as well!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • 1 chicken breast cooked and sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 apple, sliced or chopped
  • 1/8 cup pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons blue cheese or cheese of your choice

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

Heading

  1. Mix all ingredients in a jar. Close lid securely and shake.
  2. Store in refrigerator and shake before use.

Salad

  1. Load your plate up with greens, top with remaining ingredients.
  2. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 586Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 498mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 6gSugar: 27gProtein: 50g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

The crunch of fresh apples, the sweetness of dried cranberries, savory chicken and cheese, and fresh greens come together in this great salad that helps bridge the seasons when you still want something light but fall flavors are calling your name! The homemade dressing is perfect for all kinds of salads as well!

Share with your friends!

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