Arugula Salad with Apples + Maple Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad with Apples + Maple Vinaigrette

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. There, I said it! As soon as November hits, I tell everyone I see that we're officially in what I like to call, "Thanksgiving Territory." So, since we're just two weeks out from the best holiday ever, I decided that I should probably start sharing some Turkey Day recipes with you. This simple arugula salad comes together in just minutes, making it the perfect first course for any Thanksgiving dinner.

I think salad is both underappreciated and underutilized when it comes to Thanksgiving menu-planning. Because vegetables tend to play a big role in the side dishes we pair with the bird...things like squash, potatoes, or green beans...we don't necessarily think of starting the meal with a salad as we normally would when entertaining. Allow me to share with you two brilliant reasons to start your Thanksgiving meal with salad:

Reason #1: Salad is good for you!
Why not give your guests the gift of a belly full of greens before they eat everything else drenched in butter, gravy, and more butter? Eating a salad before the big meal will help to control your appetite and prevent over-eating. Plus, the extra fiber will help to digest the inevitably rich meal you're about to eat.

Reason #2: You're running behind schedule and starting to freak out!
No need to panic! Ask your guests to find their seats at the table, and get all fancy on them by serving your salad as a first course! Simply pass the salad bowl around the table for everyone to help themselves, and that's it! If you're running behind schedule, you'll be able to buy yourself at least an extra 30 minutes while preventing any ravenous appetites from spoiling the cozy, warm atmosphere you worked so hard to create.

Arugula Salad with Apples & Maple Vinaigrette
Serves 6

Dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad:
5 oz box baby arugula
2 Honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
2 handfuls toasted pecans
4 oz aged Gouda, chopped into small pieces

Combine all dressing ingredients together in a Mason jar and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You will have extra dressing leftover. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Put arugula in a serving bowl and toss with dressing to combine. Add apples, nuts, and cheese to salad just before serving. Note: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd.

Do you like to serve salad with your Thanksgiving dinner?

Cheers! Alex

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