Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing

This wintry salad combines blueberries, sliced apples, and feta with a warm, spiced maple syrup and balsamic dressing.

Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Nidia Cueva

Total Time:
20 mins

This satisfying spinach salad is blanketed in a warm dressing and scattered with feta and toasted almonds. Heating the dressing concentrates its flavor and mellows the vinegar’s sharpness. Smoked paprika and Dijon mustard add a piquant brightness while balsamic vinegar lends a sweet complexity. The tender spinach leaves gently soften under the warm dressing, giving them a barely wilted yet still crisp and refreshing texture. If you are slicing your apple in advance, keep the slices submerged in cold water with a splash of lemon juice to prevent the slices from oxidizing and turning brown. Drain well and pat dry just before tossing with the salad. Leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Heat over low heat until warm and serve the dressing over seared salmon, scallops, or chicken.


Warm Maple Dressing

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon honey

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

  • 1 (5-ounce) bunch spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups), or 8 cups baby spinach (5 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced unpeeled Honeycrisp apple (from 1 small [6-ounce] apple)

  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste


Make the warm maple dressing:

  1. Combine oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, honey, paprika, salt, and pepper in a lidded glass jar. Process with an immersion blender until well combined, about 30 seconds, or seal with lid, and shake vigorously.

Make the Salad:

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high. Add almonds; cook, stirring often, until toasted and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer almonds to a plate, and set aside.

  2. Toss together spinach, apple, blueberries, feta, and toasted almonds in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

  3. Add dressing to skillet; heat over medium until it just begins to simmer, about 1 minute. Pour about 6 tablespoons warm dressing over salad, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve salad with remaining warm dressing, if desired.

To Make Ahead

Dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Heat dressing just before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Nutty, caramel-inflected sherry: Bodegas Lustau Don Nuño Oloroso

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