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

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

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

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.

One Year Ago: Vanilla Funfetti Mug Cake {Egg and Dairy Free}
Two Years Ago: Berries on a Cloud {Best Dessert of the Summer!}
Three Years Ago: Honeydew, Blueberry and Mango Salad with Lime-Ginger Reduction


Chopped Spinach and Smoked Gouda Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

4.67 stars (3 ratings)



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


  • 6 ounces baby or regular spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup sweet crisp apple, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
  • cup chopped lightly salted almonds, toasted


  • 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).
  • 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.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 281kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 328mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 32g

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)