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Spinach Salad with Apple, Dried Apricots & Pappadam Croutons

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Serves six as a first course, four as a main course.

When buying spinach, look for leaves that are uniformly green and crisp. Avoid those that are wilted, excessively wet, or yellowed. Fresh spinach can be quite gritty, especially the larger bundled leaves, so wash it very carefully.

For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds (about 3 oz.)
  • Four 7-inch round plain, cumin-seed, or black-peppercorn pappadams 
  • 10 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and dried (about 10 oz.)
  • 1 small red apple (preferably Gala, Cortland, or McIntosh), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 small tart green apple (preferably Granny Smith or Pippin), cored and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots (about 5 oz.), thinly sliced

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF.

Make the vinaigrette:

In a small saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil, curry powder, cumin, and garlic over medium-low heat until sizzling and very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside until cool. Whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the salad:

Scatter the almonds on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Chop coarsely.

Turn off the oven, position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Arrange the pappadams in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil until they bubble and crisp on one side, 15 to 30 seconds. Don’t let them take on more than a light golden color. Turn the pappadams over and continue to broil until bubbly and crisp on the other side, about 5 seconds. Remove from the oven and let cool— they will continue to crisp. Break each pappadam into several pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach, apples, apricots, and almonds with enough of the dressing to coat lightly. Divide the salad among four or six plates, garnish with the pappadam pieces, and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 250; Fat (g): fat g 15; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1.5; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 32; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 190; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 7;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My husband was surprised to learn that he was eating spinach, one of his least favorite vegetables. He wonders why we bother buying the "cooking kind" of spinach when the raw kind tastes so much better. When I made this salad for company they wanted the recipe. I served it alongside EatingWell's Curried Chicken with Fresh & Dried Cranberries.

Maybe one of the best salads I've ever had! I doubled the vinaigrette portion. I couldn't find the pappadam (even in an Indian grocery store) so I subsituted just plain home made croutons. The combination of the apricots, apples and nuts gave it the right crunch. I will definitly make again.

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