Apple, almonds and cinnamon combine beautifully to flavor this dramatic main dish salad. If you have leftover roast or grilled chicken, this is a perfect use.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons apple juice, preferably unfiltered
12 ounces shredded or chopped cooked skinless chicken breast (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon canola or olive oil
1/3 cup sliced shallots or chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups (10 ounces) packed torn spinach leaves
1 apple, preferably Fuji or Gala, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Ground black pepper, if desired
Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; set aside. In a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons apple juice and chicken; toss well and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, then shallots or onions; sauté for 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup of apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach, apple, and almonds to chicken mixture. Add hot shallot mixture; toss well and transfer to 4 serving plates. Serve with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Toast extra almonds to eat as a snack to add to cereal for breakfast. Toasting doubles the flavor, enabling you to use just half what you would use otherwise. Using thinly sliced almonds allows you more crunch (and flavor) per bite, and sliced almonds toast more quickly than whole ones too.
Fuji and Gala are crisp, sweet eating apples, which are usually available all year long. You may, however, substitute any red eating apple (not cooking apples). Also, walnuts, pecans or toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are good substitutes for the almonds.