Spinach Apple Walnut Salad Featuring Cacao Nib Vinaigrette

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Spinach Apple Walnut Salad Featuring Cacao Nib Vinaigrette
Makes 2 servings

Dressing
1 rounded teaspoon cacao nibs, coarsely ground
1 1/3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad
3 oz spinach leaves
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
Handful of coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

The cacao nibs subtly balance the sweet and tart flavors of the cranberries and apple, and they also boost the nutrient value of this salad.

Remove long stems from spinach leaves, then rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Place spinach in a large bowl.  Add apple slices and cranberries to bowl.

Cacao nibs

You can coarsely grind cacao nibs in a spice grinder or pepper grinder.

For dressing, stir salt, pepper, nibs, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk olive oil into balsamic vinegar mixture, then pour enough vinaigrette over salad until lightly coated.  Toss as necessary to distribute dressing.

Divide salad between two plates, and sprinkle goat cheese and walnuts over each salad.

Store any remaining vinaigrette at room temperature.

To make a substantial salad, I add grilled chicken and serve with a few toasted baguette slices.

Bon appétit.

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