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Winter Green Salad with Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette

Winter Green Salad with Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette

Hello! Is anyone else super tired these days? Maybe it’s all the fantastic, but not-so-good-for-you holiday food or maybe it’s the cooler weather. Perhaps it’s the never-ending list of stuff that we need to do before the year ends. I can’t believe it’s almost December! Ahhh!

Anyway, this healthy green salad is perfect this time of year.

Delicious green vegetables and fruits, a little creamy cheese (because I love cheese), and nuts tossed in a homemade vinaigrette that’s ready in around 10 minutes!? Yes please!

I hope you like this recipe for Winter Green Salad with Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette.

What’s in this salad?

Cleaned baby spinach in a salad spinner.

The base of this green salad is a generous amount of baby spinach.

One of my go-to staple ingredients that’s available year-round. Not only do I use this vegetable in salads, I also add it to pastas, smoothies, and soups.

  • Why? Baby spinach has a mild flavour (great to pair with sweet and salty ingredients), tender leaves (easy to eat raw), and it’s healthy for you too. For example, it’s a good source vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, and it’s full of antioxidants too.
  • When choosing spinach, look for leaves that dark green and crisp in appearance. Avoid yellowing, limp, and/or slimy leaves.

Then I like to add in celery for that refreshing crunch and mild sweet vegetable taste. For easy eating, I prefer slicing the celery rib into thinly sliced pieces, but you can slice it according to how large or small you like your celery.

  • Did you know that celery is fat-free and made up of 95 percent water by weight?
  • Pick celery that’s crisp, bright pale green with a tightly packed stalk and fresh, undamaged leaves.

Now to the green fruit! First up, pears. I used a Bartlett (sometimes called a Williams) pear in this recipe. It’s has the signature “pear” flavour and scent and ripe ones are sweet and juicy.

  • How can you tell if a Bartlett pear is ripe? The skin changes colour as it ripens in room temperature. Completely green skin is crunchy and tart, yellow-green skinned pears are mildly sweet and moist, and really ripe pears are yellow-green with sweeter notes and tender texture.
  • Other pears that are delicious raw are Anjous, Bosc, and Asian pears and would make lovely substitutes.
Winter Green Salad containing spinach, pears, kiwi fruit, goat cheese, and pecans in a large glass bowl.

Kiwifruit (often just called kiwi aka Chinese gooseberry) is an edible berry with fuzzy brown skin and green juicy flesh with tiny black edible seeds. It also has an unique tasty sweet-tart flavour.

  • It’s nutritious too; it’s rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and a good source of fiber and copper.
  • Choose kiwis that are plump, fragrant, and give when applied with gentle pressure. Don’t choose ones that are too soft, bruised, or have damp spots.

I have a habit of adding nuts and cheese to my salads too. In this case, pecans and goat cheese.

Pecans are satisfyingly crunchy and taste rich, buttery, nutty and a little maple in flavour. You can substitute pecans with walnuts if you prefer.

To finish, goat cheese is tangy with a soft, creamy texture. A great contrast to the sweet ingredients in this salad.

Then there’s the easy vinaigrette. It’s a simple apple cider vinegar (use organic and unfiltered if available) and honey-sweetened olive oil-based dressing. A little bit of Dijon mustard and sea salt gives the dressing a well-balanced flavour that’s goes wonderfully with the salad.

  • I like to place all the ingredient in a small mason jar, seal it with a lid, and shake it well until all the ingredients are mixed together.
  • If you don’t have one handy, just place the ingredients in a bowl and use a small whisk or fork until it emulsifies together.
A bowl full of winter green spinach salad with pears, kiwi, and pecans with vinaigrette in a small mason jar to its side.

I’ve got more fall and winter green salads! Check out these ones.

Overhead view of a wooden bowl of winter green spinach salad with bowls of more salad, pecans, and vinaigrette surrounding the bowl.

Overall this green salad is:

  • Full of delicious savoury and sweet ingredients: A great assortment of green vegetables and fruits, cheese, and nuts.
  • Nourishing and filling: This good-for-you salad makes for a fantastic seasonal light meal or side dish.
  • Texture-rich: It’s has tender spinach, kiwi, and pears, crunchy celery and walnuts, and creamy goat cheese.
  • Quick and easy: It’s simple to assemble together in only about 10 minutes.
  • Easily customizable: Add more or less ingredients of your choice if you want. For example, if you like it a little more sweet, add more pears and kiwi or adjust the dressing by adding more honey.
  • A delicious vegetarian and gluten-free dish.
A bowl full of winter green spinach salad with pecans, pears, kiwi fruit, and pecans.

I hope you try this recipe! If you do, please leave me a rating and comment down below or tag me on any of my social media. I’m @yay_for_food on Instagram. I’d love a picture!

Winter Green Salad with Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette

Winter Green Salad with Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 as a meal, 4 as a side dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A blend of sweet and savoury ingredients with a variety of textures, this winter green salad recipe features delicious fresh spinach, sweet pears, and kiwis. Ready in ten minutes!


For the salad:

  • 5 cups (packed) baby spinach
  • 3 kiwifruits, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 ripe pear, quartered and thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup pecans (or walnuts)
  • 2 oz. soft unripened goat cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. In a small bowl (or mason jar), whisk (or seal with lid and shake) together the vinaigrette ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust the dressing to your preference.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, then drizzle the desired amount of vinaigrette on top. Toss to combine. Best served immediately.


  • I used a Bartlett (Williams) pear in this recipe. Other pears that are delicious raw are Anjous, Bosc, and Asian pears and would make great substitutes.
  • If you are planning to have leftovers, keep the salad separate from the vinaigrette and cover both in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Re-whisk the vinaigrette and pour over salad just before serving.
  • Store remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Nutritional information represents one serving with a total of four servings.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 31.9gCarbohydrates: 23.7gProtein: 5.9g

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Wednesday 6th of April 2022

This dressing is absolutely flawless. I made it last night per the recipe and it was/is delicious. I had different salad ingredients (baby lettuce, red onion, feta, leftover roast chicken) but it worked. I am making the exact thing again this evening just because it was all so good.

I still keep a bit of your stir fry sauce in my fridge for the impromptu stir fry with whatever is in the fridge. Thank you so much for both recipes.



Thursday 7th of April 2022

@Marie | Yay! for Food, Forgot to say that I also added some toasted, sliced almonds.

Last night I added a clove of bruised garlic to the jar of dressing and shook that up and let it hang out awhile. So very good! This dressing just has the perfect balance of ingredients and tastes and I'm looking forward to trying new salad combos and there are so many possibilities. I appreciate your recipes which always turn out "just right". Mary

Marie | Yay! for Food

Thursday 7th of April 2022

Thank you for the kind review on the dressing, Mary! The salad sounds delicious. Simple, yet filling and healthy!

Liane @ Foodie Digital

Tuesday 31st of August 2021

I make a double batch of this dressing for the week, almost every week. It's perfect with just about any green salad. Thanks for the recipe.


Tuesday 12th of November 2019

What would be a good replacement for the celery since my husband hates celery? Would jicama work here?

Marie | Yay! for Food

Wednesday 13th of November 2019

Hi Maggie! Jicama would be a great substitute. Fennel can be used as well if he doesn't mind the anise flavour.


Thursday 29th of November 2018

Looks so delicious and healthy! I love a good green salad!

Marie | Yay! For Food

Thursday 29th of November 2018

Thanks Natalie.


Thursday 29th of November 2018

Great sweet and savory salad! Nice to have a light option during the heaviness of holiday eating

Marie | Yay! For Food

Thursday 29th of November 2018

Definitely! Thank you Tisha.

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