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I didn’t really like tossed salads until I was a teenager. But the salad bars at Pizza Inn and Hunt High School enticed me to try all variations of veggies and crunchy things topped with creamy dressings. I quickly decided I loved salads and salad bars!
My husband and I eat lots of salads. For many meals, I make my own basic salads with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers and croutons, but I also love trying new salads.
Quite often, I experiment with different greens; our favorites are probably romaine and red and green leaf lettuces.
And who said vegetables have to be the star of your salad? I make a few salads that feature strawberries, apples, blueberries and even feta cheese.
It’s the dressing that often makes salads shine. I have a favorite oil and vinegar-based dressing I make from scratch, and on Saturday night, I tried a new citrus dressing that I like a lot.
This new salad dressing is flavored with fresh lemon juice with a little maple syrup, oil and Dijon mustard mixed in. It tops a salad I made for the first time over the weekend.
I saw the recipe for apple maple pecan salad in Taste of Homes’ “100 Family Meals” that I checked out from the Wilson County Public Library. I was intrigued with the recipe ingredients and decided to give it a try.
The salad, which some reviewers called apple slaw, is made with cabbage rather than lettuce. Instead of shredded cabbage, I used Napa cabbage — a family favorite.
I made a few other changes as well. Instead of Granny Smith apples, I used gala apples to add sweetness and color. I also omitted crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and sprinkled some grated Parmesan cheese on top instead.
My thoughts on apple maple pecan salad? It’s good. Really good. The lemony dressing is fresh and clean and adds a burst of flavor I’m not used to in a salad.
I always love the taste and texture of Napa cabbage, and the apples and pecans make a good combination with the other ingredients.
We had our salad Saturday night with grilled chicken, grilled potatoes and corn on the cob. I only assembled the salad for two servings on Saturday night. That way, the Napa cabbage doesn’t get soggy from the dressing. The next night, I made another salad with the leftover ingredients and added chunks of grilled chicken. The combination was delicious!
There are other recipes in this 2016 cookbook that I want to try including a baked spaghetti made with three cheeses, chicken penne casserole, slow cooker chicken tacos and orange-berry yogurt muffins.
If you’d like to try some new recipes, the library’s cookbook section is a great place to start.
Apple Maple Pecan Salad
This fresh salad is a nice change of pace for the salad-lovers at my house.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teapoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
4 cups shredded cabbage*
3 large Granny Smith apples, julienned
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Whisk first five ingredients until blended. Combine cabbage, apples and Gorgonzola; toss with dressing to coat. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 12 servings.
Editor’s Note: To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Taste of Home’s “100 Family Meals”
*NOTE: I made a few changes to this recipe when I made it. I used shredded Napa cabbage, gala apples and omitted the Gorgonzola cheese. Instead, I sprinkled a little grated Parmesan cheese on top.