Grilled Apple Salad with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

I am so happy to share this recipe with you today.  It is my new favorite salad!  The flavors of apple, toasted pecans, sharp cheddar, and brown sugar blend so well together, and are perfect for fall.

One of my cooking goals lately has been to find recipes for homemade salad dressings.  It seems once you have made your own dressing a couple times, it is very hard to go back to store bought dressings because the homemade ones taste so much better.  I have started making a mason jar full of dressing at the beginning of each week and that is the dressing we use on our salads each night.  It encourages me to make a salad to go with dinner, which is good, as greens are a great source of vitamins.

For a long time I didn’t make salads very often because I like so much dressing, it seemed like way too many calories.  Once I realized the nutrition our family was missing out on, I decided to make smaller salads, and save the creamy dressings for special occasions.  This has worked out well as far as calories and our family is getting a more balanced diet.

I can’t wait to share all of the yummy dressing recipes I’ve found, but this is by far one of the best!  It is a little on the sweet side, but not too sweet.  It is such a beautiful salad, too, if you cut the apples horizontally so the little star shows through.

The recipe recommends grilling the apples, but it tastes great leaving the apples raw as well.  Or if you are going to grill some meat for dinner, throw on the apple slices at the same time.  Just watch them closely so they don’t burn.  Next time you are grilling something for dinner or need a salad to go with soup this fall, give this salad a try.  I think you’ll love it!


  • 1 c pecan halves
  • 4 Gala apples
  • 1 (6-oz.) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (5-oz.) package spring greens mix
  • 3 oz. extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shaved
  • 1/4 c sliced green onions
  • 2/3 c canola oil
  • 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 3 T light brown sugar
  • 3 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and light brown in color, stirring after 4 minutes.
  2. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill.  Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees (medium-high) heat.  Cut apples crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings, cutting from one side through the other, horizontally.  Grill apple rings, covered with grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender.
  3. Arrange spinach and spring greens mix on a serving platter; top with apples, cheese, toasted pecan, and green onion slices.
  4. Whisk together oil, cider vinegar, minced green onions, brown sugar, basil, Dijon mustard, and salt until blended.  Toss salad with dressing leaving a few apples, cheese shavings, pecans, and green onions for garnish.  Serves 8.

Source:  Adapted from a recipe in Southern Living Magazine


About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (
This entry was posted in Apple Recipes, Fall Recipes, Recipes, Salads and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Grilled Apple Salad with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

  1. Vicki says:

    Beautiful salad. I will definitely try this!

  2. Pingback: Roasted Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette | Cook AZ I Do

  3. Liz says:

    This week I am making salad with baby spinach. So I’m happy to have stumbled upon this recipe. It looks very delicious. I shall be trying this for my baby spinach week! Let me bookmark it straight away!

    • Shari says:

      I hope you like that salad dressing as much as we do, Liz! I make it quite a bit. I think it would go well with spinach. By the way, we ate your tomato salad recipe again tonight. I had some dressing left from yesterday, and picked more tomatoes out of the garden today so it was perfect. We enjoyed it so much.

  4. How long will the dressing last in the fridge?

    • Shari says:

      Because it has green onions and fresh basil in it, I would say no more than 2 to 3 days. However, I have made this dressing without the green onions and basil and it is still very good if you want to make it ahead of time or last longer in the refrigerator. Then I would say at least a week. Thanks for your question, Carol. I hope you enjoy the salad if you end up trying it!

      • Thank you….if leave out the onions and basil …. what would be the max time do you think. and how would you know if it was bad? I am new to making my own dressings so I just want to make sure I don’t make myself or someone else sick.

      • Shari says:

        I don’t blame you at all for wanting to make sure the dressing is fresh! I think a week without the onions and basil. But honestly, I’ve used this dressing a month later (without the onions and basil) and it still tastes great and didn’t make us sick. I believe it is the vinegar that helps preserve it. A lot depends on how fresh your oil is, but I’m sure it would last a week with no problem. Just keep it covered and in the refrigerator. I hope that helps!

      • Thank you Shari….have a wonderful holiday season.

      • Shari says:

        Thank you, Carol! I hope you enjoy the dressing, and that you have a great holiday as well!

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