Ben and I got Lincoln the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle for his birthday earlier this month and he and I have been tackling a bag or two each afternoon while the little kids nap. With 36 bags containing over 6,000 pieces, it’s a beast! We figured it’d take us until Thanksgiving to finish but, between Lincoln’s big brain and nimble fingers, he is blazing through the kit. It’s been great to spend quality 1:1 time with him before Kindergarten starts next week (SOB) plus, how fun are LEGO kits?! I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to turn thousands of individual LEGO pieces – many the size of Gwen’s pinky toenail – into an enormous, recognizable, intricate creation. At least a couple of times a building sesh Lincoln will turn to me and ask, “uh, Mom? Can I do it?”
One recent recipe I had just as much assembling is this beaut – Apple Orchard Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette. If you’ve got fall on the brain, this dish will make you feel like you’re enjoying a quant picnic at the apple orchard, in salad form!
This salad recipe is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill as it contains their new certified gluten free Pan-Baked Granola as a crunchy, flavorful topping. I know, I know – granola in salad? Trust me, it’s a beautiful thing. I got the idea after seeing a granola-containing salad on a menu in Vail last month. It wasn’t gluten free so I couldn’t order it, but the idea stuck with me. As soon as I saw Bob’s new Cranberry Almond Pan-Baked Granola flavor, I knew it would be fabulous combined with some of my favorite fall ingredients.
Mixed greens are topped with sliced or diced apples, white cheddar cheese cubes, caramelized onions, and crunchy Cranberry Almond Granola which contains dried cranberries, almonds, and pepitas. Every salad needs some kind of crunch and this whole grain granola delivers. Way healthier then croutons!
This salad is the perfect side dish to serve when entertaining because it’s unique and beautiful, but you could also chop up chicken, serve it on top, then call it lunch or dinner. Super versatile.
My favorite thing about the Cranberry Almond Pan-Baked Granola is that it’s high in CLUSTERS. Sweet, sweet clusters! Is granola even worth eating if there’s not clusters involved? I’ll let you answer that question.
In addition to the Cranberry Almond flavor, Bob’s Red Mill just released Maple Sea Salt, Coconut Spice, and Lemon Blueberry flavors, and they ALL have 5 grams or less of sugar per serving.
Even better is the short, simple ingredient lists. This is the Maple Sea Salt Pan-Baked Granola ingredient list. It contains nearly everything I have at home and would include in homemade granola anyway. Love that! Also love that it tastes like cookies. :)
Best of all, the pan-baked granolas are handled and tested in Bob’s Red Mill’s dedicated gluten free facilities and are certified gluten free. I always say, if there’s any upside to having Celiac Disease in this day and age it’s that you can find store-bought products like these that are not only safe to eat, but delicious too. Such a treat. You can buy the granolas online or look for them in grocery stores in the upcoming months!
How to Make Apple Orchard Salad:
Ok! There’s only one cooking element involved with this salad and it is WELL worth the effort. Caramelized onions in salads are such a game changer.
Warm 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add 2 sliced sweet onions and cook until soft and caramelized, 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the heat down just slightly if they begin to sear vs soften. Season with salt then set aside. You can do this a couple days ahead of time as they’re great to add to the salad either cold or warm.
When you’re ready to eat, fluff 5oz spring mix (or your favorite lettuce) in a large serving bowl then arrange the caramelized onions on top followed by 2 sliced or chopped apples, 4oz white cheddar cheese cubes, and 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Cranberry Almond Pan-Baked Granola. I’m not the toppings police so add or subtract any of these goodies to your liking. ;)
Finally, drizzle on a super easy, homemade Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette which is just 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon each Dijon mustard and real maple syrup (could use honey in a pinch,) salt, and pepper. Toss to coat, scoop onto plates, then dig in! I hope you love this fresh and flavorful, gorgeous fall salad – enjoy!
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Apple Orchard Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
Apple Orchard Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette will transport you to the orchard any time of year! Full of apples, cheese, caramelized onions, and granola clusters, it is fresh, flavorful, and fun.
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 5oz spring mix
- 4oz white cheddar cheese, cubed
- 2 apples, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Cranberry Almond Pan-Baked Granola
- For the Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- Combine ingredients for Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine and refrigerate. Can be done ahead of time.
- Warm extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions then cook until soft and caramelized, 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down slightly if they begin to sear or burn. Season with salt then set aside. Can be made ahead of time and added to the salad either warm or cold.
- Add spring mix to a large serving bowl then top with caramelized onions, cheese, apples, and granola. Drizzle with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette then toss and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.