By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

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Special Cider Salad

Set the tone for a fantastic autumn meal with this Special Cider Salad and your guests will be clamoring for the recipe. This combination of crisp greens, crunchy apple, spiced pecans, crumbled blue cheese and cider vinaigrette is a salad lover’s "heaven on a plate."

Most of the components of the salad can be prepared well ahead of time, freeing you up to enjoy your guests. Early in the day you can wash and dry the lettuce leaves, prepare the spiced pecans, crumble the cheese and whip up the dressing. When you’re ready to serve, simply dice up an apple and plate the salads.

This salad is especially delicious served on chilled salad plates. This step is one we often neglect when entertaining at home, but it’s as simple as putting the salad plates in the freezer a few hours before the guests arrive.


  • 6 cups mixed lettuce greens, washed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 3 whole mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 recipe Spiced Pecans
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 firm apple, cored and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Cider Vinaigrette
Divide greens among 6 chilled salad plates. Divide remaining ingredients among the salads. Drizzle each salad with some of the dressing before serving.

Spiced Pecans

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash Cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup pecan halves
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar, Worcestershire and cayenne and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in pecans. Stir constantly, until sugar is caramelized and pecans toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet to cool.

Makes 1 cup.

Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Stir or shake to combine well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 1 cup dressing.