This Easy Spinach Salad Has Just 5 Ingredients—and I Can't Stop Making It for Lunch

I wasn’t a salad lover until I tried this recipe.

Fall Chopped Salad with Spinach, Butternut Squash, Apples & Cheddar

If you would have told me this time last year that my go-to lunch would be a salad, I probably would have laughed at the thought.

This might be surprising, but when it comes to lunch, I've always been a sandwich-over-salad person. I even used to tell people if I had to eat only one food for the rest of my life, it'd be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Grilled cheese, wraps, veggie sandwiches, you name it: it's all up my alley, and I never thought that a salad would give me the same satisfaction.

But since the start of the year, I've been eating the same lunch every day—and it's a salad. And I actually look forward to it every afternoon.

So what's the 5-ingredient lunch that made me fall in love with salad? It's our Fall Chopped Salad with Spinach, Butternut Squash, Apples & Cheddar—with just a few tweaks. To keep it simple, I omit the butternut squash and use my favorite premade or store-bought dressing (I'm currently loving a light drizzle of this Briannas Homestyle Creamy Balsamic Dressing).

All it took were these 5 ingredients to have me craving salad every day: baby spinach, a Gala apple, sharp cheddar cheese, a flavorful dressing and pecans, or really any nut will do—I sometimes prefer shaved almonds. Occasionally I'll add a few croutons if I'm in the mood for more crunch, but that's definitely optional.

With my tweaks, this salad is even easier to prepare. All you have to do is chop up your apple and cheese into bite-sized pieces before combining your ingredients. If you're wanting to meal prep your lunch the night before, keeping your ingredients separate before you're ready to eat will keep them fresher for longer. And be sure to keep the dressing on the side until you're ready to eat to help keep the spinach crisp.

If you're looking to make a homemade dressing, our Copycat Olive Garden Italian Dressing and our Honey-Balsamic Dressing would also taste incredible with this recipe.

The combination of leafy greens, fiber-rich fruit and protein from the nuts and cheese is what makes this salad the perfect lunch for me. It also follows our recipes parameters for healthy immune function, so it's especially fitting to enjoy during the current cold and flu season.

To make it more satisfying, it's all about customizing your salad with ingredients that you know you'll love. With delicious flavors and simple steps, you'll be craving a salad every day just like me.

Up Next: 7 Ways to Fall Back in Love With Salad This Winter, According to Chefs

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