Spinach Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette,
Fresh Fruit & Maple-Glazed Pecans

A big dinner spinach salad, fresh and green with a rainbow of fresh fruit and g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s Maple-Glazed Pecans, all lightly dressed in a Fruity Vinaigrette. It works for one or two but scales for feeding a crowd.

Spinach Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette, Fresh Fruit & Maple-Glazed Pecans ♥ KitchenParade.com, a big dinner salad, fresh and green with a rainbow of fruit and g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s Maple-Glazed Pecans, all lightly dressed in a Fruity Vinaigrette.

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters.

How to Construct a Late-Winter Salad in the Midwest

Mine is a northern soul but come February, I pixel-peer with envy into the eden-esque citrus gardens of California and Florida. Grapefruit, tangerines and oranges, oh! the oranges. And lemons. The wonder of those trees, such abundance, fruiting with such abandon.

Not here, though, not here in the Midwest.

Constructing a late-winter fruit salad here in the Midwest is tricky.

I love our dear family companion Olga's Winter Fruit Salad that uses frozen fruit: it's a godsend but also more of a dessert fruit salad, a light end to a special meal.

And there's a winter-fruit version of Mexican Fruit Salad, easily sourced tangerines, apples, pears, bananas and pomegranate with savory spices.

My Winter Vision

Here though, I envisioned a savory salad, fresh and green, a big dinner salad that easily scales from dinner for one or two to feeding a crowd.

Outside, the earth is soaking with snow melt. Just yesterday it was too icy to walk in the morning but by afternoon, the streets filled with cabin-fevered school kids on bicycles, parents pushing strollers and too-long cooped-up dogs pulling against their leashes.

Soon, truly, it shall be spring and then, turn, turn, turn, summer shall follow. But until then, there's salad, fresh and green and full of life and hope.

Choosing Fresh Fruit

  • Some fruits will "hold" better than others if prepped up to four hours before serving: apples, pears, mango, kiwi, orange sections and pomegranate seeds. Others will do better if added to the fruit bowl just before serving: blueberries, strawberries, say.

  • Oranges are especially good in this salad. In January, we were gifted some honeybells (a mix of tangerines and grapefruit) from Boudrias Groves in Florida. They are gorgeous, thank you, Charlie and Jan! I halved the oranges and cut out the sections with a grapefruit spoon. They were so sweet and juicy, we even skipped the Fruity Vinaigrette! If you can identify seedless oranges at the grocery, they're also good.

  • Pears usually need to sit on the counter for two or three days before they're ready to eat.

  • The "big" fruits (apples, pears, mangoes) are better choices when feeding a crowd because if you use the whole fruit, it adds up to a whole pile of fruit. For one or two, better to stick with individual fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, etc. – or choose small fruits or save the leftover fruit for smoothies! "Where there's a will ..."

And Oh! The Maple-Glazed Pecans!

Be sure to mix up a batch of these addictive pecan pieces ahead of time, recipe here, Maple-Glazed Pecans. They're barely sweet, just a tablespoon of maple syrup adds a lovely thin glaze to an entire pound of pecan pieces. These are so special, just gorgeous!

That said, other toasted nuts will also work beautifully or look for small bags of sweet nuts near the salad greens at the grocery store.

Spinach Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette, Fresh Fruit & Maple-Glazed Pecans ♥ KitchenParade.com, a big dinner salad, fresh and green with a rainbow of fruit and g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s Maple-Glazed Pecans, all lightly dressed in a Fruity Vinaigrette.

A Real Gift: A Giant Salad Bowl

We are the keeper of the family's "big salad bowl" – the gift of cousin Laura, who so often brings salad ingredients to big family get-togethers and found our small salad bowls, shall we say, wanting? Much to my surprise, I pull it out all the time!

The interesting thing? Having an abundance of salad seems to encourage people to help themselves to big servings, some times to start a meal, some times to end it. The salad is often long gone, leaving the sweets lonely for attention.

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this pretty salad hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...
Spinach Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette, Fresh Fruit & Maple-Glazed Pecans ♥ KitchenParade.com, a big dinner salad, fresh and green with a rainbow of fruit and g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s Maple-Glazed Pecans, all lightly dressed in a Fruity Vinaigrette.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 12 (easily divided for fewer servings)
    (enough for two Spinach Salads)
  • 3 tablespoons fruity vinegar (raspberry, orange, etc.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed between your fingers
  • 1/4 teaspoon good salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Red-skinned apple, diced small
  • Green-skinned pear, diced small
  • Mango, diced small
  • 2 kiwi, skinned, sliced and halved or quartered
  • 2 seedless oranges, sliced (How to Cut an Orange for Slices)
  • Other fruit ideas: pomegranate seeds, fresh pineapple chunks, blueberries, sliced strawberries, fresh avocado
  • 12 ounces fresh tender spinach leaves, stems removed
  • Fresh Fruit, half to mix in, half for the top
  • Maple-Glazed Pecans half to mix in, half for the top
  • Fruity Vinaigrette, a tablespoon at a time

MAKE THE FRUITY VINAIGRETTE In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, basil and salt. With one hand, pour the olive oil into the bowl in a steady stream, whisking it in with the other hand. Taste and adjust seasoning. Can be made ahead of time to store in the fridge but return to room temperature before dressing the salad. Makes about 5 tablespoons, you won't use it all for this salad.

PREP THE FRESH FRUIT Up to four hours before serving, toss the lemon juice and fruit to prevent both browning and drying out. Keep at room temperature, stir occasionally.

ASSEMBLE THE SPINACH SALAD In a large bowl, gently toss the spinach, half the Fresh Fruit and half the Maple-Glazed Pecans with the Fruity Vinaigrette, a tablespoon at a time, until it's the "right" amount of Vinaigrette to your taste. (I use about half the Vinaigrette, it's more a layer of "wet" than a coating of "dressing".) Top with the remaining Fresh Fruit and Maple-Glazed Pecans.

LEFTOVERS If left undressed, the combined spinach leaves, Fresh Fruit and Maple-Glazed Pecans will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator, ready for an impromptu salad whenever the whim strikes, just add Vinaigrette and go.

ALANNA's TIPS The Fruity Vinaigrette may taste "sharp" on its own but really works when paired with sweet fresh fruit and the Glazed Pecans. Go ahead, cut up an avocado for this salad, so good! If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2014/02/spinach-salad-with-fresh-fruit-glazed-pecans.html.
MAPLE-GLAZED PECANS (THE SHORT VERSION) Toss 8 ounces (225g) pecan pieces with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon table salt, stirring very well. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 250F/120C for a total of 1 hour, stirring after the first 30 minutes and after the second 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and stir again. For detailed instructions, tips and more, please see Maple-Glazed Pecans.
Vinaigrette Only, Per Tablespoon: 42 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 56mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 2 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 2 & blue 2 & purple 2 & future WW points

Per Salad, Including the Spinach Salad & Fruity Vinaigrette: 55 Calories; 1g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 34mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 2g Fiber; 8g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 0 & myWW green 0 & blue 0 & purple 0 & future WW points

With Maple-Glazed Pecans, add 1 point per tablespoon.

More Spinach Recipes

~ spinach recipes ~

Spinach Recipes ♥ KitchenParade.com, super-organized to find exactly the right recipe, fast.

Spinach Soup with Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs ♥ KitchenParade.com, homemade spinach soup on the table in 30 minutes, including still-warm easy-to-peel hard-cooked eggs.

Shrimp with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta ♥ KitchenParade.com, one of my favorite suppers in a long time, shrimp cooked in a nest of fresh or canned tomatoes, spinach and feta cheese.

Chicken Burgers with Fresh Spinach, Feta and Garden Tzatziki Sauce ♥ KitchenParade.com, Greek-style chicken sandwiches served with an updated Greek tzatziki sauce. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.

More Fruit Salads for Mid to Late Winter

~ fruit salad recipes ~

Roasted Pear Salad ♥ KitchenParade.com, pears roasted then steeped in a wine and butter sauce and served on salad greens with toasted goat cheese. An elegant salad worthy of a special occasion.

Winter Fruit Salad ♥ KitchenParade.com, a fruit salad for the months when fresh fruit is scarce, a combination of fresh, frozen and canned fruit, brightened with lemon zest and Grand Marnier.

Mexican Fruit Salad ♥ KitchenParade.com, a light and simple fruit salad with a surprising mix of spices and fruits.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ apple recipes ~
~ pear recipes ~
~ mango recipes ~
~ kiwi recipes ~
~ orange recipes ~
~ spinach recipes ~
~ pecan recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.