What can I say? I had a stubborn sweet tooth just before lunch today. While the more logical part of my brain knew that something green and leafy was the more sensible option, my sweet tooth had a hankerin’ for a big slice of apple pie complete with a buttery crust and sharp cheddar cheese. We compromised. This salad takes only five minutes to prepare, offers buttery apple slices and cinnamon croutons, and won’t send you spiraling down into an afternoon sugar coma. You’re welcome.
Ingredients (serves 1 sweet tooth and its owner)
1 teaspoon butter
1 slice whole wheat bread, cut into crouton shapes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 apple slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 generous cups baby leaf spinach
Step 1) Melt butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add bread pieces and cinnamon. Saute bread for 2 minutes, flipping pieces after 1 minute, so that both sides are golden brown. Remove bread croutons from pan and set aside.
Step 2) Add apple slices to the same pan and cook for two minutes, flipping slices after 1 minute, so that both sides are golden brown. Remove apple slices from pan and set aside. Turn off burner but do not rinse pan yet!
Step 3) Arrange baby spinach on a serving plate.
Step 4) Add balsamic vinegar to the pan (yes, the same pan, which is now coated in apple-butter-cinnamon deliciousness!). Turn burner to high for about 3 seconds, just enough to heat the vinegar. Remove the pan from the heat and gently scrape or “deglaze” the bottom of the pan. This releases all of the apple-butter-cinnamon deliciousness into the vinegar and makes a fantastic vinaigrette dressing! If too much vinegar evaporated, simply add another tablespoon of vinegar to the pan.
Step 5) Drizzle vinaigrette over baby spinach. Sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Arrange apple slices and croutons on top. Enjoy!