A combination of the light, bright colors of the end of summer and the crispy, fresh crunch of early autumn, this yummy salad is an excellent seasonal choice for a light lunch or dinner accompaniment.

5oz fresh baby spinach, washed

1 1/2 cups dry pasta shells

3/4 cup celery, chopped

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 15oz can Mandarin oranges

1 large Granny Smithy apple, cut into thin slices

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup pecans

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp white sugar

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Crumbled feta cheese, if desired

  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on package.  Meanwhile, spread pecans out in a single layer in a dry saucepan, and roast over medium heat.  Stir constantly, and remove from heat when nuts become fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Be careful: the pecans burn easily!
  2. While pasta is cooking, combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, sugar, paprika, and onion powder in a food processor, and pulse until combined, about 10 seconds.
  3. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and immediately toss with a few tablespoons of the dressing, to allow the flavor to soak in.  Cover, and refrigerate until chilled.
  4. While pasta is chilling, combine spinach, celery, cranberries, and oranges in a large bowl.  Add apple slices, and toss with lemon juice.  Drizzle with dressing, add the cooled pasta, and toss well.  Top with toasted pecans and feta, if desired.  Serve and enjoy!
Original recipe found at chelseasmessyapron.com
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