I know this blog is about women’s health and fitness, but good food (read: satisfying, hearty, nutrient-dense food) is the foundation for a healthy, fit body. So let me indulge myself (and you!) and give you the recipe for my new favorite salad… Caramel Apple Salad. Created by me. Hands-down FANTASTIC.
First, some background. One of the most tempting foods for me has always been the caramel apple. From the classic combination of granny smith draped in plain caramel to the fancier ones — the ones dressed to the nines in everything from rainbow sprinkles to Oreo cookies and accessorized with a final drizzle of dark chocolate — they all beckon me when I see them in shop windows. But alas, I’m never able to get one. First, my teeth can not handle the big ol’ apple-on-a-stick coated in sticky caramel. I’ve had a lot of dental work on my front teeth, so I generally avoid biting into anything sticky or super-crispy with my front choppers. Second, I don’t eat dairy products, so caramel is out (along with the gluten-laden toppings that so many of the “fancy” caramel apples boast).
The other day I had a hankering for a salad with apples and peanuts. Apples and peanuts triggered a memory of glorious caramel apples rolled in chopped nuts, so I decided to recreate the confection in a healthier salad form. Oh. My. Goodness. The results were amazing (if I do say so myself), especially the dressing: rich, with a deep, full taste reminiscent of burnt sugar (in a very, very good way). Even my husband likes this one.
Caramel Apple Salad
Makes one generous serving
- Enough spinach (or your favorite leafy green) to fill a large salad bowl for one
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced (optional)
- 1 crisp, sweet apple such as Fuji or pink lady, chopped
- 1 handful dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1 handful coconut flakes (try these ones from Bob’s Red Mill), lightly toasted if desired
- Kosher salt for finishing
- 1 generous Tbsp sunbutter or peanut butter (I use sunbutter)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4-1/2 tsp stevia powder depending on desired sweetness (or 1-2 tsp maple syrup or honey)
Whisk dressing ingredients in small bowl, or shake like crazy in a small jar with a lid. The dressing is fairly thick; thin with 1 tsp water if desired. Place greens, carrot (if using), chopped apple, peanuts, and coconut flakes in your salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over the salad (you may not need all of the dressing — feel free to save it for later), and finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Enjoy.