Apple-Arugula Salad with Grains

Over the next few weeks, we'll be covering the biggest foodie holiday of them all: Thanksgiving. Whether you are looking for turkey ideas or the perfect sides, we've got you covered. This time around, we're spending some time with salad. Instead of a plain green salad, why not work a blend of fruit, nuts, and grains into a meal that's looking for a special side?

In addition to being a pretty blend of healthy ingredients, this salad can be made in advance and tweaked to suit your tastes and any ingredient preferences. If you are looking to avoid gluten, choose one of the options listed in the recipe suggestions or opt to make something custom on your own. The cheese is optional and you could use blue cheese, goat cheese, or shaved parmesan instead ... or leave it out entirely. Even the variety of apple and the arugula are optional. If you wanted to use chopped spinach instead with a Granny Smith apple, it would still be lovely! I really love the dressing as is though. Try to leave that more or less alone and enjoy the festive flavors. It's what makes this an absolutely prefect addition to the Thanksgiving table.

If I'm making this salad in advance, I mix the dressing but don't add it to the other salad ingredients until the day I intend to serve it. I would also keep the walnuts, feta, and arugula out of the salad mix until the big day to keep things fresher. Otherwise, the other parts of the salad can be assembled up to 2 days in advance.

Apple-Arugula Salad with Grains

  • 3 cups cooked Earthly Grains Quick Cook 5 Grain Mix* (includes spelt, barley, wheat, rice, and wholegrain oats)
  • 1 large honeycrisp apple, chopped
  • ½ cup pitted, chopped dates
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add the cooked grains, chopped apple, dates, walnuts, feta cheese, and arugula to a large bowl. Season the mix with a pinch or two of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss well to combine.

To make the dressing, whisk together the garlic, orange zest, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined.

Add the desired amount of the dressing to the salad ingredients and toss again to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve with extra dressing.

* The Earthly Grains Quick Cook 5 Grain Mix can be purchased at Aldi. If desired, create your own mix of grains and opt for items like rice and quinoa if you are wanting to make a gluten free version of this salad.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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