Warm Fall Spinach Salad
Updated: Jan 15
-2tsp walnut, chopped
-2tsp pecan, chopped
-1 tsp pumpkin seeds (sprouted or roasted/salted)
-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1 small or 1/2 medium japanese sweet potato
- 1 tbsp honey
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
-1/2 large ambrosia or fuji apple
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/4 cup fat-free, plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 sprig fresh mint
-1/2 tbsp butter
-2 tsp olive oil
1. Thoroughly wash your sweet potato and slice into 1/4 inch thick disks. Picking a relatively evenly shaped sweet potato will make this process easier! No need to skin it first.
2. Warm a 1/4 tsp butter in your skillet or small saucepan and add 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. This should just coat the bottom of the pan.
3. Once warm, add sweet potato disks to pan. You should immediately hear the beautiful crispy crackly sounds of frying~ If you don't, continue warming your butter and oil for a bit.
4. Rather than using an exact science for time or heat on these potatos, pan fry on mediumish until the oil-down side becomes golden brown and crispy and the center of the disk is soft to pressure. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then flip each disk and repeat for the other side, adding more butter or olive oil if needed.
5. While you wait, roughly chop your apple and about 1/2 of your honey into a (prefereably silicon, reusable!) Plastic bag or a small tupperware container. Reserve the rest.
6. When your potatos are finished, spoon them into the container with honey, drizzle more honey on top of the potatos and shake vigorously. The oil left on the potatos should be hot enough to caramelize the honey and leave a very think, slightly sticky or crunchy shell on the potatos. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and set aside.
7. In the same pan, add your nuts, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toast on medium low for about 1-2 minutes in the leftover oil and potato-juice-bits, until the nuts just become fragrant.
8. Then, add 1/2-2/3 of your coursely chopped apple to the pan, topping with your other 1/4 tbsp of butter and tossing/stirring consistently on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Then reduce to low and allow to rest while you complete the next steps, letting the apple juice mix with remaining butter in the pan.
9. Mince mint leaves and toss with spinach before arranging on a plate or bowl.
10. Arrange honeyed potatos and top with most (but not all!) of the roasted nut and apple mix.
11. Pour vinegar over the nuts and apples left in the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need more vinegar than me, but that just means you'll end up with more dressing! Yay!
12. Mash, with a fork, the remaining pan bits into the vinegar and butter and just bring to a simmer. If you have any honey left, add it here. If you are happy with your dressing at this stage (I was) drizzle it over the salad at this point or set aside to pour over at the end.
13. Final touches! Dollop your greek yogurt generously over the salad and top with as much of the raw apple as you care to. You can also use creme fraiche but I prefer it this way. Garnish with any remaining mint.
- this salad is great tossed! Just set aside your vinegrette and add on top after the yogurt before tossing. The yogurt and vinegrette will coat your salad evenly and adds a bit of nice acidity to our rich apple and nut muxture.
- during the roasting phase, you can add bacon bits or crumbles for a more savory dish! Topping with a good balsamic-glaze chicken breast (a la sprouts) is also a solid option.
Why we love it!
You really cover all of the flavor profiles very nicely with this salad. The vinegar and yogurt add acidity, the texture of the raw apples and nuts offset the soft, chewy potatos and roasted apple. Done correctly, the "daigaku imo" varient we've done here will end up being a kind of sweet-salty kettlecorn flavour that compliments our toasted cinnamon. All that warm, autumn flavor is then cooled off by the mint at the end of your bite. By featuring just a few key ingredients (apples, nuts, honey, and sweet potato) in a variety of ways, we keep this salad pretty low-cost but give it a luxurious feeling. Enjoy!