I’ll never forget the first time I had this Sunshine Salad. I had it at a church meeting I attended about five years ago. One bite and I was like “WOW!” The crisp apples, tart oranges, leafy greens, sweet honey walnuts and slightly bitter Feta cheese were the perfect combination to be tossed in THE BEST SALAD DRESSING EVER CREATED!
I’m not exaggerating when I say I went a little crazy over this salad. I still remember almost crying when I went back to get seconds and there were just a couple pieces of spinach and a few apple chunks clinging to the side of the giant salad bowl. It took every ounce of restraint I had not to lift the bowl to my face and try to drink the little bit of dressing that had settled at the bottom of the empty bowl.
You can imagine how happy I was when my friend Tiffany who made it, told me where I could find the recipe. If I remember right, I think I made it again that next day. And since then I have made it for almost any excuse I can muster.
Girlfriend lunches, Dinner Parties, Potlucks, Church Functions, Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving Dinner, Easter Dinner…..you get the idea. It’s an awesome go to salad for pretty much any occasion.
The dressing is such a refreshing blend of citrus flavors. It really makes the salad. You’re going to loooove it!!!!
Sunshine Salad can make even the cloudiest day seem sunny!
**One tip when cooking the walnuts. Make sure to do this ahead of time because they will take a little while to cool. Also these will not be brittle like nuts that have been cooked in sugar, they will still be soft and stick together after they are cooled. I like to take a knife and do a quick chop through them to break them up before tossing them into the salad.
- 1 regular size bag of spinach (about 4-5 cups)
- 1 large head of Romaine Lettuce, (about 4-5 cups)
- 1 large apple, cut into ½ inch chunks, (I like Gala or Honey Crisp)
- 2 oranges, segmented and cut into ½ inch chunks
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp honey (you wil use the honey with the walnuts, see instructions)
- ¼-1/3 cup Feta Cheese crumbles
- ¼-1/3 cup dried cranberries
- DRESSING INGREDIENTS
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate (still works well if you just use regular orange juice)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or the imitation kind you can keep in the fridge
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- dash of pepper
- In a small frying pan combine chopped walnuts and honey, stir constantly until honey bubbles and starts to thicken...cook for 1 more minute watching carefully to not burn and turn it out on to a plate or piece of parchment paper to cool and harden.
- Prepare Salad Dressing by putting all the dressing ingredients into a bottle that has a lid and shaking vigorously until it is well combined. If you would rather you can put all of the dressing ingredients into your blender and blend for about 20-30 seconds.
- Store dressing in the fridge until you are ready to serve. A tip my friend Tiffany told me is to cut the apples up and put them in the dressing so that when you are ready to serve the salad they are already cut and ready to go. This tip will also help them not to brown. If you do not do this trick with the apples make sure to soak them for about 10 minutes in lemon juice water to keep them from browning in the salad.
- When the walnuts have cooled, either break them apart by hand or give them a quick chop with a knife to break them back into small pieces.
- When you are ready to serve the salad. combine the spinach, romaine, oranges, honeyed walnut pieces, dried cranberries and Feta in a large bowl. Pour dressing with apples over the salad and toss to coat.
More yummy salads