This salad was delicious and refreshing with the perfect inter-play of textures and flavors. The crunchy apples were deliciously sweet and tart, the salty, smokey flavors of the garlic vinaigrette paired well with the richness of the sunflower seeds and the homemade croûtons, and the spinach was perfectly soft with just enough of a peppery bite.
Fall Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
6-8 oz. spinach, rinsed and dried
1 small Jonathan Red apple, thinly sliced
1 cup Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Combine ingredients and toss well to combine.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette:
6-7 large cloves roasted garlic
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup sweet white wine (preferably moscato)
3 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tbs. Parmesan, grated
Freshly cracked black pepper (use liberally!)
Kosher salt, to taste
Place roasted garlic cloves, garlic salt, wine, Parmesan and a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper in food processor. Pulse 3-5 times. Add red wine vinegar. With food processor running, slowly pour in olive oil. Taste and re-season as necessary, adding red wine vinegar and/or olive oil as necessary for consistency.
Yield: About 12 croûtons
1 1″ thick slice of homemade sunflower seed bread
1 tbs. garlic powder
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbs. olive oil
Cut bread into cubes. Season with garlic power and lemon juice. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add bread cubes and sauté roughly ten minutes, shaking pan and flipping bread cubes frequently until golden brown on all sides. Remove from heat and let cool. Do not cover them or place them in a zip lock immediately or they won’t stay crunchy.
Top the salad with croûtons and roasted garlic vinaigrette.