A different, fun and healthy recipe to use your apples this fall! This Paleo Candied Pecan Apple Salad with Bacon combines fresh baby spinach with sweet toasted candied pecans, crisp savory bacon, fresh chopped apple, and a tangy sweet apple cider vinaigrette. Don’t hate me because I put bacon in everything. Just kidding. Hate me because I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to put it in cookies, yet. As much as I love it, I hesitate to just stick bacon in cookies or brownies and pray. Thoughts? Bacon and apples though, that’s my jam. My bacon jam (another thing I haven’t made yet, oh well.) I’ve been hanging on to this salad recipe for a couple of weeks now waiting for the right time to post it. The pumpkins are getting all the “spice” this season already, but I like to give apples the love they deserve as well. I’ll even forgive them for being high FODMAP and thus difficult for me to digest – I do make exceptions for things like awesome salads and apple crisp! Anyway, thanks to my sick day and subsequent missing race recap (that I’d tentatively scheduled in my head for today), now’s the time. I’ve been wanting to try out candy-coating pecans by roasting them with a bit of coconut oil and sugar, but then I also wanted to put them in something. I’m not big on snacking on nuts alone, but I love them in salads! If you were ever in a situation where you were wagering money on what I’d order at practically any restaurant (because that could happen), you’d be safe with any salad involving walnuts or pecans. Bonus if they’re coated in something sweet! Double bonus if there’s goat cheese involved, triple if there’s bacon. So, I decided to make my own version of every beloved restaurant nut-salad. Gee that sounds appetizing, but really, it is. Candied pecans with pink lady apples, spinach, bacon, and an apple cider vinaigrette. This one even your kids will not mind picking at – true story – Diana decided she liked spinach after trying this. I guess she never had spinach with bacon? And I’m calling myself a Paleo Momma? And, for the sake of full disclosure – I have to tell you I threw avocado on mine after I took the pictures, because I was hungry. Hunger will often demand avocado on a salad, so feel free 🙂
Paleo Candied Pecan Apple Salad
- For the Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp raw honey you could also use pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- For the Candied Pecans:
- 1/2 cup raw pecan halves
- 1 tsp coconut oil melted and cooled
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- For the Salad:
- 2 large handfuls/bunches baby spinach
- 1 pink lady apple chopped
- 4 slices bacon cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled
To roast your pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and in a bowl, toss the pecan halves with the coconut oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Line a baking sheet with parchments paper and spread them out evenly. Bake for 5-7 minutes in the preheated oven, checking to make sure they don't begin to burn.
Combine the Vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. To assemble the salad, combine the spinach with the chopped apples, roasted candied pecans, and crumbled bacon. Just before serving, toss in the prepared apple cider vinaigrette (or serve the dressing on the side.)
Makes about two servings - feel free to double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd!
And wait! Before you go, you MUST check out my interview today with Meredith in her post about fueling strategies for runners. Oddly enough, as much as I talk about and show you my food on this blog, I haven’t specifically written concisely about the specifics of my own strategy for fueling!
Now a couple of fun questions for you: If someone had to bet on a menu item you’d order at nearly any restaurant, what would it be? What’s your current favorite apple recipe? Here are a few favorites of mine to check out if you haven’t already!
Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Walnut Salad
Reader Reviews & Comments
The Cookie ChRUNicles says
Thanks again for answering all of my questions and helping me with my post! You know I love apples but seriously, the FODMAP thing is real, they totally bother me and sometimes I don’t even realize how much until I don’t eat one and notice how much better I feel lol. I try lately not to eat apples at night, that’s when they really get to me but ugh, I love them! I am known for ordering the desserts. If there’s a good dessert menu involving chocolate, I am so there. I do love a salad with candied nuts!
If I eat apples, it’s sparingly especially if they’re raw, otherwise I feel it the next day. And you are definitely known for your desserts, in a very good way!
Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says
If I saw this salad on a menu I would definitely order it! Now I just need to get up the courage to make it myself. The combo of bacon and apples sounds just strange enough to be good, and I loved salads with candied pecans- all the better to make a homemade healthier version!
Haha thanks Lisa! Bacon and apples isn’t really strange once you try, they go really well together!
SuzLyfe (@suzlyfe) says
I will pretty much always order seared tuna or hamachi (love), or a really well thought out salad, and I adore octopus. If I see that, I automatically start assessing!
Seared tuna is a good one, it’s been awhile since I’ve had that, yum 🙂
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious says
Apples are one of the few foods that actually calm my stomach down when I’m having digestive problems. I always think that’s strange because they’re high FOODMAP.
I really love them so I wish that were the case! I do still eat them on occasion, especially in great fall recipes.
so sorry you were sick. But I guess we benefited from it with this delicious salad,yes? Love candied pecans!
Thanks Lindsay! But yup, another recipe this week!
Brussels sprouts… anytime they’re on the menu, best BELIEVE I am ordering them! And I love apples in any shape or form, but if I had to pick one, it would be in apple pie 🙂
Apple pie was my original favorite apple recipe and probably still is 🙂 I love brussels too, especially with garlic, way too good!
Margaret @Young and Rungry says
Delicious! I would absolutely add avocado too, I love them with apple. That’s such a great question my boy friend always loves to guess what I’m going to order and he’s always right! If its a fancy restaurant I’m going to get some sort of sea food with veggies or a salad with balsamic vinegar on the side anywhere else.
He knows you well, what a great guy!
Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen says
YUMMM. Candied pecans on salad are my fav. Plus the combination of BACON!? Yes, yes indeed.
I know, it has to be a yes when there’s bacon on a salad 🙂
That salad looks amazing! I craved and ate at least 5 apples a day while pregnant with both of my kids…now, not so much . At a restaurant, my family knows that if salmon is on the menu I’m getting it!
(Glad you’re feeling better, I am too).
Glad to hear you’re better as well! Funny about the apples, I really did not want anything sweet, including fruit, while pregnant!
danielle saucy smith says
this looks wonderful. so glad you are on the mend! i’m not, but ti’s fine. i have no energy to do anything physical besides the bare essentials so i guess i’m not worried about running since putting on clothes is an effort 😉
i tend to always get some sort of roasted beet dish or brussel sprouts, and i rarely pass a good meatball dish! not pasta, but as an appetizer or small plate. they do that in a lot of restaurant where we go and i love it! things like meatballs and scallops, and other various small plates, perfect for me 🙂
happy tuesday M!
Oh gosh Danielle, really so sorry to hear 🙁 You have the best attitude toward taking care of yourself so I know you’ll do what’s best. Roasted beets are also fabulous, I really can’t resist them with goat cheese. A place near me does a lot of yummy small plates but the lamb meatballs are my favorite!
This salad just may be the perfect salad. I love candied pecans on salads and you can never go wrong with bacon. I’m pretty much obsessed with apples right now – I keep a few varieties on hand at a time and put them in everything.
Thanks 🙂 I like fall for collecting a bunch of different types of apples and experimenting. Plus, we seriously need a strawberry break over here!
Strength and Sunshine says
Bahahaha! When I put nuts on my bowls of veggies or salads, I either pile them to the side for after or eat them off the top right away! Hahahaha! I like them to be their own savored “course” 😉
A nut course, I like that!
Sam @ PancakeWarriors says
Ok so candied pecans sound freaking amazing right now – and the cinnamon is such a great touch! I need to pick up some organic apples so i can make a salad as well because tis the season!! This looks great, love how simple it is 😉
I really have a thing for pecans once fall rolls around! And thanks, simple good ingredients are where it’s at 🙂
Apples + candied pecans= heaven! This looks amazing!
Lemonade Wise says
Bacon makes everything better! Seriously though, this salad looks delicious and I think the sweet / salty combo of the apples & bacon would work really well! I have to try this 🙂
I love apples in a salad and also on a grilled cheese. I love them baked, turned into sauce, fried in fritters or made into cider. Basically, I adore apples in all scenarios, which means this salad is apple perfection.
Put the bacon in cookies. It’ll be good. The perfect sweet and salty combo.
We’re going apple picking today! I love apples too. And bacon, I’ll have to try the bacon cookies 🙂