For a light, delicious and simple dinner, this spinach, apple & gouda salad with homemade honey mustard dressing can’t be beat.

A white bowl full of chopped spinach salad with gouda, apples, and peppers.

I’m not suggesting that if you were to make and devour a batch of the peanut butter caramel cookie bars you’d need to do something wild and crazy like eat only salad for a week. But. I won’t stop you either, especially when there are salads like this to carry you through.

It’s so good, you won’t even remember you put yourself into a salad timeout for excessive peanut butter caramel consumption.

A white plate with chopped spinach salad with dressing getting poured over the top.

In a million years I never would have thrown these salad ingredients together, but this, like many others, falls into that category of: don’t knock it til you try it.

The chopped spinach, smoky gouda, toasted almonds + bell peppers + crisp apples (hello, crunch) drizzled with the tangy, sweet dressing makes for one seriously yummy salad. Plus, the colors. So pretty, don’t you think?

I realized a couple of years ago, after observing a friend who makes the best salads in all the land, that any dinner, even the simplest of simple dinners (yes, I’m talking to you hot dogs), can be elevated by a killer salad.

A really beautiful, delicious, more-than-just-bagged-lettuce salad can make you look like a rock star with hardly any extra work.

This lovely chopped spinach number is no exception and the 5-second (ok, 10-second) homemade honey mustard dressing is worth making it alone.

White bowl of chopped spinach and gouda salad with tongs taking a scoop out.

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Chopped Spinach and Smoked Gouda Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes



  • 10 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar


  • 6 ounces baby or regular spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet, crisp apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup chopped lightly salted almonds, toasted


  1. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve (or up to a week or so).
  2. For the salad, toss all the salad ingredients together. Add the dressing, to taste, and toss to combine or serve individual servings with the dressing alongside.


Smoked Gouda: has a very strong, distinctive, delicious flavor - if you aren't a fan, try subbing in another soft cheese like regular gouda, havarti, or monterey jack.

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Recipe Source: from a recipe sent to me by a reader, Emily B. who got it from a friend (Rebe M.) originally from the BYU Museum of Art Cafe (I omitted the celery and made my own simple honey mustard dressing adapted from this recipe on Food Network)