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Apple and walnut salad

Autumn inspired apple walnut salad that comes together super quickly. It’s tossed in a delicious tangy balsamic vinaigrette and you can serve it with just about any of your favorite weeknight dinners!

This is also a great salad to pair with a cozy soup, such as Sicilian Chicken Soup . The soup and salad combo is so comforting.

Contents

Apple Walnut Salad

I have an easy weeknight salad for you all today! This apple walnut salad is the perfect combo of sweet and savory. Made with crisp fall apples and the most delicious tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

Bonus…it’s made with few staple ingredients. So you can easily whip it up for simple weeknight side or bring a bowl to your next holiday gathering.

So this apple and walnut salad is definition of easy! Made with sweet crisp apples that are tossed with crunchy walnuts and salty feta. I went with Gala apples for their mild and sweet flavor.

Feta adds the right amount of saltiness. Feel free to substitute goat cheese or even blue cheese. For the base, I used red leaf lettuce. It’s insanely beautiful and the colors remind me of fall.

As far as the balsamic vinaigrette, it’s only four ingredients: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey. It’s creamy, SO full of flavor, and pairs amazing with this apple walnut salad.

What Kind of Apples are Best for Salads?

To be honest, just about any variety of apples are going to work in this salad but certain varieties are more crunchy and don’t brown too quickly.

I personally love Gala apples for their crisp sweet taste but Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, Piñata, Jazz, Envy, and Empire are all great for adding to salads.

How Do You Easily Cut Apples?

My go-to-method for cutting apples is incredibly easy, quick, and does NOT involve an apple corer. All you need is a sharp knife, cutting board, and of course the apples.

  • Place the apple in an upright position on a cutting board.
  • Starting on one side of the apple, slice down as close to the core as possible. Continue to slice through all the sides of the apple until only the core remains. Discard the core.
  • Place the flat side of each large slice face down and then cut into thin slices.

Ingredients for Apple Walnut Salad Recipe

  • Lettuce – I love red leaf lettuce in this salad. It’s soft, yet slightly crunchy. But green leaf lettuce, spinach or romaine are all good substitutes.
  • Apples – you can use your favorite type of apples. I love Gala apples for their crunch and mild flavor. Make sure to slice them right before serving so they don’t brown.
  • Red Onions – shallots is a good substitute. They’re a little milder in taste but still work.
  • Walnuts – don’t like walnuts? Try pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
  • Feta – buy feta in a block and crumble it yourself. It’s so much tastier. Also goat cheese is a great swap for feta.
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey.

How to Make Apple Walnut Feta Salad

This apple feta salad is best when served immediately. The balsamic vinaigrette can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.

Step 1: Prepare the vinaigrette – in a small bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey. Whisk until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also do this in a mason jar.

Step 2: Assemble the salad – make sure all of your salad ingredients are ready to be assembled (chopped, sliced, etc). In a large bowl, layer the lettuce, apples, red onions, walnuts, and feta. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette and serve immediately.

More Fall Salads with Apples:

  • Chopped Autumn Salad – amazing salad to take to work or school.
  • Apple Crunch Salad – another easy + simple salad.
  • Avocado and Apple Brussels Sprout Salad – I love the addition of Brussels sprouts in this salad.
  • Kale, Butternut Squash, and Apple Salad – add this salad to your next holiday table. It’s so festive looking.

If you try Apple Walnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, don’t forget to leave feedback and a rating.

Description

Autumn inspired apple walnut salad that comes together super quickly. It’s tossed in the most delicious tangy balsamic vinaigrette!

Scale 1x2x3x

  • 8 cups chopped red leaf lettuce, about 1 large head
  • 1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced (I used Gala apple)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted + roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare the vinaigrette: in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and honey. Whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Assemble the salad: in a large bowl combine the lettuce, apples, red onions, walnuts, and feta. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette and serve immediately. You’ll have leftover vinaigrette, which can be refrigerated in an airtight container for at least one week, if not more.

Notes

  • Lettuce: Red leaf, green leaf, romaine, or spinach are all good greens to use in this salad.
  • Apples: I used Gala apple for this salad but pretty much any crunchy variety of apples work.
  • Walnuts: don’t like walnuts? Try pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
  • Make Ahead: prepare the vinaigrette and assemble the salad without the apples. Refrigerate separately and right before serving, add the apples and vinaigrette. Once the salad has been drizzled with the vinaigrette it does not hold up well in the fridge.

Keywords: apple salad, fall apple salad, easy Thanksgiving salad

Originally published October 2016, updated September 2019 with new photos, rewritten post, and additional information. No change to the recipe.

I teamed up with the California Walnuts to bring you this Apple Walnut Salad! I’ve been compensated for my time. All opinions are mine alone.

Whether you need a fresh lunch idea, a new favorite summer salad, or a tasty way to eat foods that make you feel great, this easy Apple Walnut Salad checks all the boxes.

It’s a perfect combination of crisp lettuce, sweet apples, crunchy California walnuts, salty feta cheese, and a lightly sweetened Balsamic Vinaigrette. It has all the colors, flavors, and textures you crave!

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Feeding a crowd, or just the two of you? Click and slide the number next to ‘servings’ on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

How do you toast walnuts?

Toasting walnuts in any given recipe is always optional, and always recommended. Toasting brings out the rich nuttiness in walnuts and elevates the salad (or whatever else you’re making).

You can toast walnuts in the oven or on the stove top:

  • Oven method: Toast walnuts in a 350-degree oven on a rimmed baking sheet for 7 to 10 minutes. Shake or stir the pan occasionally so the nuts brown evenly without scorching.
  • Stove-top method: Toast walnuts in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat walnuts until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 5 minutes.

I always use California walnuts to support the 4000+ growers and 100+ handlers in my lovely state. 99% of the walnuts grown in the United States are grown in California’s Central Valley.

How do you keep cut apples from turning brown?

Apples turn brown because they are rich in iron. When you cut apples, you expose the iron to oxygen which causes the apple to “rust.” It is harmless, but I know you want your salad to look its best!

If you want to prepare this salad in advance (I’d recommend keeping the components separate until serving time), here are some tips to keep the apples from turning brown.

  • Slice the fruit directly into water. The water will prevent the iron from being exposed to oxygen, so no “rusting” will happen.
  • Dip the apple slices in lemon water. Any fruit that contains citric acid will do the trick: lemon juice, orange juice, or apple juice. However, you’ll probably taste a little bit of whatever fruit you use.
  • Rubber-band the cut slices back together. This sounds crazy, but it works. If the slices aren’t exposed to oxygen, they won’t “rust.” So as long as you cut an entire apple, and band the whole thing back together, you’ll be good to go.

How do you make Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing?

To make any vinaigrette, mix 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (in this case, balsamic vinegar). Add Dijon mustard as an emulsifier (to hold the oil and vinegar together), then season to taste with salt and pepper.

In this recipe, I also add a touch of honey for sweetness (it brings out the sweetness in the apples). You could also add a clove of minced garlic, some minced shallots, or fresh herbs such as parsley.

Just whisk everything together in a bowl or shake it up in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store covered in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.

5 from 1 vote

Apple Walnut Salad Recipe

Whether you need a fresh lunch idea, a new favorite summer salad, or a tasty way to eat foods that make you feel great, this easy Apple Walnut Salad checks all the boxes. It’s a perfect combination of crisp lettuce, sweet apples, crunchy walnuts, salty feta cheese, and a lightly sweetened Balsamic Vinaigrette. It has all the colors, flavors, and textures you crave! Course Salad Cuisine American Keyword apples, lettuce, walnuts Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 5 minutes Total Time 20 minutes Servings 4 servings Calories 271kcal

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 8 cups red leaf lettuce chopped, about 1 large head
  • 1 apple thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onions thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup California walnuts toasted
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

To make the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • In a bowl, or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey. Whisk or shake to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the salad:

  • In a large bowl, combine lettuce, apples, red onion and walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Sprinkle with feta and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal

Apple Salad is irresistibly crunchy, fresh, and vibrant and belongs on your table this Thanksgiving and all Autumn long!

This Apple Salad is bursting with apples, cranberries, candied walnuts, bacon, and feta all drizzled with sweet and tangy Apple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette. It’s a refreshing balance of sweet and savory and gorgeous for special occasions but easy enough for everyday – and you are going to want to this Apple Walnut Salad every day. It’s the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast because not only is it scrumptious and deceptively sophisticated, but it can be made ahead of time for a ZERO STRESS side win!

(Apple Salad recipe from 2014 with updated recipe post and VIDEO)

Apple Walnut Salad Video

What readers are saying about this Apple Salad recipe:

This Apple Salad recipe has been a reader favorite ever since I posted it back in 2014, so I thought it was time to make a recipe video and update the post with tips and tricks, recipe variations and make ahead instructions in hopes to entice everyone to jump on this delicious train!

The Apple Candied Walnut Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette is a go to fall salad for me. It is always a hit. I made it just today, had a group in for a fall lunch. Everyone loved it. Thanks again for always delivering with wonderful, tasty recipes. – Debby

Wow! I made this salad for my family and my son’s girlfriend said it was the best thing that I have ever made for her. With that vote of confidence I took it to my sonority weekend, AGD sisters for 40 plus years. Another set of raves!… – Lori

As usual, your salad was the hit of the T-day celebration! With all the heavy carbs, this delicious and refreshing salad was the perfect addition to our meal. – Karen

Apple Salad Recipe

Do you say Autumn or Fall? I’ve always said Fall because that’s how I grew up; I think it must be a location thing. By saying “Autumn,” however, I somehow feel more sophisticated – the power of one word. So I’m pretending for this post that I say Autumn just for make believe sophistication kicks – because look how sophisticated this Apple Salad recipe looks?!

But it’s also pretending. This Apple Walnut Salad recipe requires no sophisticated skills to prepare but tastes like a salad from the finest restaurant. The salad is bursting with sweet and crunchy apples, juicy dried cranberries, salty, crispy bacon, crunchy red bell peppers, creamy feta and candied walnuts. Just imagine all that – in one bite!

APPLE SALAD INGREDIENTS:

The ingredients for this Apple Salad are pretty straightforward. Just the caramelized walnuts and bacon require an extra step to make this the Best Apple Salad ever!

  • Romaine lettuce: I love the crunch of Romaine lettuce but you can substitute it with additional spring mix or your favorite greens.
  • spring salad mix: I like to use a spring salad mix for variety but you can also use all spinach. I’ll often add some baby arugula as well.
  • apples: you will want to choose a sweet apple (Fuji are my fav) to complement the salty bacon and tangy red onions. You can slice your apples or chop them into chunks – totally personal preference.
  • dried cranberries: dried cranberries just scream autumn to me! You can substitute them for other dried fruit such as dried cherries or apricots if you prefer.
  • bacon: I like thick cut bacon for its extra flavor and because it is hearty enough to stand up to the dressing without immediate becoming soggy.
  • red bell pepper: you can substitute or add in your favorite veggies or whatever you have on hand such as cucumbers or broccoli.
  • red onion: I think red onion is a must in this Apple Salad recipe or else the salad is too sweet. You can chop your red onion if you prefer – thinly slicing is strictly for presentation because they look beautiful with thinly sliced apples.
  • pepitas. If you aren’t familiar with pepitas, they are pumpkin seeds! You can also substitute with sunflower seeds. Whichever you use, make sure they are roasted and salted which translates to FLAVOR! I purchase my seeds in the bulk bins at Sprouts.
  • feta cheese: you can use your favorite crumbled cheese such as goat cheese or Gorgonzola.
  • caramelized walnuts: the caramelized walnuts add a sweet addicting crunch that will be your favorite part of the salad! I use my 5 Minute Caramelized Nuts in this Apple Salad because it literally lakes 5 minutes and the nuts emerge beautifully caramelized, sweet and crunchy every time. I chose to caramelize walnuts but you could swap them for pecans.

Best Dressing for Apple Salad

The Dressing for this Apple Salad is everything. It’s a tantalizing Apple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette that takes minutes to whip up! It’s a quick whisking of apple cider vinegar, honey, sugar, dry minced onion and olive oil and tastes like gloriously refreshing sweet and tangy apples and poppy seeds.

And just a note – I was wondering why my dressing was looking kind of green – but then I remembered from kindergarten that yellow honey/apple cider vinegar + blue poppy seeds = somewhat green AH-mazing dressing.

Toss all the deliciousness together and you have a harmony of flavor and texture that is so drool worthy, you won’t be able to stop crunching its heavenly goodness. When’s the last time you could say that about a salad?!

HOW DO YOU MAKE APPLE SALAD?

  1. Make Dressing: Whisk all the Apple Dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a jar. We want to make the dressing first so it has time to chill and the flavors to meld.
  2. Cook Bacon: Low and slow is the best way to cook bacon so the fat has time to render. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towels to drain excess grease.
  3. Caramelize Nuts: Add butter, sugar, and walnuts to a saucepan and let the magic happen. I like to roughly chop my nuts once cooled.
  4. Assemble: Toss all of the Apple Salad ingredients together in a large bowl. You can either drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine (ONLY if you are eating right away and don’t expect leftovers) OR if you expect leftovers, serve the dressing on the side.
  5. EAT!

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR APPLE WALNUT SALAD

  • Make dressing first. Make the Apple Dressing first so it has time to chill and the flavors develop – no one likes warm salad dressing! If you are making the Apple Salad and serving immediately, place the dressing in the freezer for 30 minutes then transfer to the refrigerator so it is sufficiently chilled.
  • Customize dressing. Some people like tangier dressing, some people prefer sweeter dressing so I recommend starting with one tablespoon sugar than adding additional sugar a teaspoon at a time if desired. For a tangier dressing, add additional apple cider vinegar.
  • Prep ahead: I’ve detailed how you can make the Apple Salad ahead of time below, but get giddy because you can prepare all or some of the ingredients ahead of time. You can make the the dressing, bacon, caramelized walnuts, red bell peppers and red onions the day before so all that’s left to do is chop 2 apples – that’s it for for an easy side that doesn’t require the oven!
  • Tame Red onion: I recommend soaking the red onion in water first to remove some of the bite if you tend to find red onions too strong. To do this, place red onion in a fine mesh sieve, submerge the sieve in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove sieve and thoroughly dry onions with a paper towel.
  • Scale Apple Salad recipe up or down. This Apple Salad is easy to double for a crowd or cut it in half for lunches or a small group.

Apple Salad Recipe Variations

  • Can I use different nuts? You can swap the walnuts for caramelized pecans or almonds if you prefer. If you don’t want to caramelize your own nuts, then you can buy them at stores such as Trader Joes. If you’re not sure your grocery store carries caramelized/candied nuts, be sure go ask!
  • Can I add different seeds? Absolutely! Just make sure they’re roasted and salted. Sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pistachios are all tasty.
  • Can I add other vegetables? Yes! Cucumbers, shredded carrots, broccoli, etc. would all be delicious. Roasted butternut squash, or roasted beets would also be fab!
  • Can I add other fruit to Apple Salad? Creamy avocados would be a welcome addition if they are your thing. Pears, Mandarin oranges, mangos, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, are all welcome additions; just take care that you don’t make your Apple Salad too sweet with sweet fruit. You may want to consider offsetting the sweetness of additional fruit with tart apples such as Granny Smith apples.
  • Can I add grains? I think this Apple Salad would be superb with the addition of cooked quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, farro or couscous.
  • Can I use a different cheese? You can any soft crumbly cheese such as goat cheese, blue blue cheese or Gorgonzola.
  • Can I add protein? Absolutely ! Make this Apple Salad a main dish by adding shredded chicken, shrimp or tofu.

Can I make Apple Salad Ahead of Time?

This Apple Walnut Salad can be made 100% ahead of time then just tossed together when ready to serve!

  • Apples. The Apples can be sliced up to 24 hours ahead of time and soaked in a mixture of apple juice and lemon juice. I’ve detailed several options below to prevent oxidation which begins as soon as you slice the apples.
  • Vegetables: You can chop your Romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and red onions up to 24 hours ahead of time. Store veggies in separate airtight containers or in sealable bags with a paper towel so they stay fresh and crisp. I do not recommend storing your pre-cut veggies longer than a day because the beauty of this salad is its freshness.
  • Nuts. The caramelized walnuts can be made up to one week ahead of time and stored in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature. I often like to double the nuts for future use.
  • Bacon. The bacon can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time but it will become increasingly soft the longer it sits in the refrigerator. For the crispiest bacon, make it as close to assembling as possible.
  • Dressing: You can make the Apple Salad dressing up to 5 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I actually recommend making the dressing ahead of time because it allows time for the flavors to build and meld. Dressing also tastes 1000X better chilled.

HOW DO I KEEP APPLES FROM TURNING BROWN IN SALAD?

  1. My favorite way to keep apples from oxidizing and turning brown after slicing is to put them in a bowl of apple juice with a splash of lemon juice. This way they retain their apple flavor and don’t become bitter like soaking in lemon juice can do.
  2. Alternatively, you can toss them in some of the dressing because the apple cider vinegar will help keep them fresh.
  3. Thirdly, If you only have lemon juice on hand, then mix 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon and then toss your apples in the mixture.

All of these methods will prolong the oxidation process, but you still want to slice your apples as close to serving as possible.

HOW DO I SERVE Apple Salad SALAD?

There are three ways to serve Apple Salad:

  1. If you don’t expect or want leftovers: add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  2. If you expect leftovers: add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl except bacon and dressing. Let individuals top dress their own servings with dressings and bacon.
  3. Create a Salad Bar: line up all of the salad ingredients in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own Apple Salad. This works particularly well if you are making Apple Salad a main dish salad with shredded chicken or shrimp and are including more of the veggie, fruit, grain or cheese variation options.

HOW LONG DOES APPLE SALAD LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

The Apple Salad is best served within an hour when tossed with the dressing because it will become soggy. If you hold the dressing, the salad can last up to two days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What do I serve with Apple Salad?

This Apple Salad makes a superb addition to all your holiday festivities! Serve it with Herb Butter Turkey, Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Honey Baked Ham,Garlic Herb Butter Pork Tenderloin,Pot Roast, Beef Tips and Gravy, and Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Roast Beef.

It also is wonderful with practically EVERYTHING else that graces your table from Garlic Butter Salmon, to Chicken Divan, to Bolognese, to Crockpot Chili to Million Dollar Mac & Cheese to Oven Fried Chicken. I think the more appropriate question is – What doesn’t this Apple Walnut Salad recipe go with?!

LOOKING FOR MORE HOLIDAY SALAD RECIPES?

  • Apple Salad with Apple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
  • Fall Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
  • Pear Salad with Creamy Pomegranate Dressing
  • Green Bean Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
  • Cranberry Apple Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
  • Cranberry Pomegranate Ambrosia Salad
  • Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Dressing

Want to try this Apple Salad Recipe?

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Print Recipe Apple Salad with Apple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette This Apple Salad is bursting with apples, cranberries, candied walnuts, bacon, and feta all drizzled with sweet and tangy Apple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette. Its a refreshing balance of sweet and savory and gorgeous for special occasions but easy enough for everyday. And you are going to want to this Apple Walnut Salad every day. Its the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast because not only is it scrumptious and deceptively sophisticated, but it can all be prepared beforehand with the exception of slicing the apples for a NO STRESS side that everyone will rave about! Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings -8

Ingredients Apple Salad

  • 1 small head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 8 oz. spring salad mix or spinach
  • 2 Fuji or honeycrisp apples thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
  • 3/4 cup Recipe Caramelized Walnuts *

Apple Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar to taste
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onions
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings -8

Ingredients Apple Salad

  • 1 small head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 8 oz. spring salad mix or spinach
  • 2 Fuji or honeycrisp apples thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
  • 3/4 cup Recipe Caramelized Walnuts *

Apple Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar to taste
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onions
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!

Instructions

  1. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine or shake in a mason jar. Refrigerate while you prepare the salad ingredients then whisk/shake again before drizzling over salad. The dressing can be made up to five days in advance.
  2. When ready to serve, toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. You can either drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine or if you expect leftovers, drizzle individual salad servings with dressing.

Recipe Notes

All ingredients are a guideline. Add more or less of your favorite salad fixings!
*The caramelized nuts recipe makes 1 cup nuts. I suggest making 1 cup caramelized walnuts and using the desired amount in the salad and eating/storing the rest 🙂

  • Make dressing first. Make the Apple Dressing first so it has time to chill and the flavors develop – no one likes warm salad dressing! If you are making the Apple Salad and serving immediately, place the dressing in the freezer for 30 minutes then transfer to the refrigerator so it is sufficiently chilled.
  • Customize dressing. Some people like tangier dressing, some people prefer sweeter dressing so I recommend starting with one tablespoon sugar than adding additional sugar a teaspoon at a time if desired. For a tangier dressing, add additional apple cider vinegar.
  • Prep ahead: I’ve detailed how you can make the Apple Salad ahead of time below, but get giddy because you can prepare all or some of the ingredients ahead of time. You can make the the dressing, bacon, caramelized walnuts, red bell peppers and red onions the day before so all that’s left to do is chop 2 apples – that’s it for for an easy side that doesn’t require the oven!
  • Tame Red onion: I recommend soaking the red onion in water first to remove some of the bite if you tend to find red onions too strong. To do this, place red onion in a fine mesh sieve, submerge the sieve in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove sieve and thoroughly dry onions with a paper towel.
  • Scale Apple Salad recipe up or down. This Apple Salad is easy to double for a crowd or cut it in half for lunches or a small group.

APPLE SALAD RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • Can I use different nuts? You can swap the walnuts for caramelized pecans or almonds if you prefer. If you don’t want to caramelize your own nuts, then you can buy them at stores such as Trader Joes. If you’re not sure your grocery store carries caramelized/candied nuts, be sure go ask!
  • Can I add different seeds? Absolutely! Just make sure they’re roasted and salted. Sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pistachios are all tasty.
  • Can I add other vegetables? Yes! Cucumbers, shredded carrots, broccoli, etc. would all be delicious. Roasted butternut squash, or roasted beets would also be fab!
  • Can I add other fruit to Apple Salad? Creamy avocados would be a welcome addition if they are your thing. Pears, Mandarin oranges, mangos, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, are all welcome additions; just take care that you don’t make your Apple Salad too sweet with sweet fruit. You may want to consider offsetting the sweetness of additional fruit with tart apples such as Granny Smith apples.
  • Can I add grains? I think this Apple Salad would be superb with the addition of cooked quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, farro or couscous.
  • Can I use a different cheese? You can any soft crumbly cheese such as goat cheese, blue blue cheese or Gorgonzola.
  • Can I add protein? Absolutely ! Make this Apple Salad a main dish by adding shredded chicken, shrimp or tofu.

HOW TO MAKE AHEAD

This Apple Walnut Salad can be made 100% ahead of time then just tossed together when ready to serve!

  • Apples. The Apples can be sliced up to 24 hours ahead of time and soaked in a mixture of apple juice and lemon juice. I’ve detailed several options below to prevent oxidation which begins as soon as you slice the apples.
  • Vegetables: You can chop your Romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and red onions up to 24 hours ahead of time. Store veggies in separate airtight containers or in sealable bags with a paper towel so they stay fresh and crisp. I do not recommend storing your pre-cut veggies longer than a day because the beauty of this salad is its freshness.
  • Nuts. The caramelized walnuts can be made up to one week ahead of time and stored in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature. I often like to double the nuts for future use.
  • Bacon. The bacon can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time but it will become increasingly soft the longer it sits in the refrigerator. For the crispiest bacon, make it as close to assembling as possible.
  • Dressing: You can make the Apple Salad dressing up to 5 days ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I actually recommend making the dressing ahead of time because it allows time for the flavors to build and meld. Dressing also tastes 1000X better chilled.
  1. My favorite way to keep apples from oxidizing and turning brown after slicing is to put them in a bowl of apple juice with a splash of lemon juice. This way they retain their apple flavor and don’t become bitter like soaking in lemon juice can do.
  2. Alternatively, you can toss them in some of the dressing because the apple cider vinegar will help keep them fresh.
  3. Thirdly, If you only have lemon juice on hand, then mix 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon and then toss your apples in the mixture.

All of these methods will prolong the oxidation process, but you still want to slice your apples as close to serving as possible.

There are three ways to serve Apple Salad:

  1. If you don’t expect or want leftovers: add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  2. If you expect leftovers: add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl except bacon and dressing. Let individuals top dress their own servings with dressings and bacon.
  3. Create a Salad Bar: line up all of the salad ingredients in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own Apple Salad. This works particularly well if you are making Apple Salad a main dish salad with shredded chicken or shrimp and are including more of the veggie, fruit, grain or cheese variation options.

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September is all about apples aka fall’s favourite fruit! So let’s have an apple today and keep the doctor away with this fresh, fall favourite — apple walnut salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Not only is it healthy for you, but it will beautifully decorate any dinner table this season.

This salad just takes a few classic fall ingredients, throws them together to make fall salad perfection! Apples give this apple walnut salad an amazing crunchy kick, the walnuts add some depth, and the cranberries balance the salad out with that little extra sweetness and taste of the holidays. These three are kind of a match made in heaven!

The crunchy kick of apples in a salad is kind of an obsession of mine and why I take any opportunity to add them to my salads… Some of my past favourites have been my winter kale salad with apple cider vinaigrette and my arugula salad with apple and pecan. But when using apples in salads, one problem I sometimes face is the apples turning brown. So if I am serving this at a dinner party, I will usually cut up and add the apples just before serving. Or to save time, you can slice the apples beforehand and let them soak in some lemon water before adding them to your salad and re-tossing.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Let’s take a minute to talk about homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Gone are the days where you need to stock up the fridge with store-bought salad dressing. Making your own at home takes literally 2 minutes and uses ingredients that you probably already have at home. Plus, double the recipe and save half in the fridge for the following week!

Leftover Apples

Got a big bag of apples from Costco? Here are some other ways to use them up this season!

  • Slow Cooker Applesauce
  • Caramel Apples
  • Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal
  • Applesauce Pancakes with Caramel Apple Topping
  • Apple Cardamom Cake with Caramel Pecan Butter Frosting

Have an apple today and keep the doctor away with this fresh, fall favourite — apple walnut salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Throw together crisp apples, crunchy walnuts, and sweet cranberries for a taste of the holidays.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

  • 5 cups spring mix salad greens
  • 1 medium apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup red onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  1. In a small bowl, make the balsamic vinaigrette by whisking together vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine salad greens, apple, red onions, walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta cheese. Pour dressing over top and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Apple Walnut Salad with blueberries, goat cheese, plenty of fresh greens, and parsley is a perfect match for the Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette that I shared earlier this week. The bright flavor of the greens meets the sweet crunch and pop of the apples and blueberries, creamy goat cheese, and crunchy nuts are a terrific addition. The sweet and tangy dressing finishes it nicely.

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I’ve been making this salad regularly for the past couple months and I’m excited to be sharing it with you at last. If you want to turn this salad into a full meal, chicken is a great addition. Or, if you’re like me, and just want a little more protein and a more filling salad to call it a meal, bump up the goat cheese and add a sprinkling more nuts. This Apple Walnut Salad easily keeps me full until dinner time.

I’ve served this salad for dinner, alongside this Oven Baked Crispy Chicken and I’ve also served it with this Sausage Tortellini. It would pair well this Roasted Chili Maple Pork Tenderloin, these Salmon Cakes, or this Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp.

Kitchen Tip: I use this knife to make this recipe.

Pin Course: Salad Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 1 servings Calories: 331kcal

  • 2 cups spring mix
  • 1 medium apple (about 1 cup, thinly sliced pieces)
  • 1-2 oz goat cheese or gorgonzola
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Add the spring mix, apple slices, cheese, walnuts, blueberries, and parsley to a large bowl or platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe is written for one serving, but can be easily multiplied. Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 1052mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 5765IU | Vitamin C: 121.8mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 4mg Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

I present my proposal for a salad this month. This is a very simple idea, but healthy and delicious! and as always, also very colourful 🙂 Apples are rich in vitamins and minerals, which makes it one of the most beneficial fruits for our health just as the saying … “an apple a day , keeps the doctor away …” This salad is perfect for a dinner for two, and I’m sure you will love it 🙂

Rating Total votes: 214

Preparation

1. Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing in a bowl 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 of vinegar, a dash of honey and a pinch of salt. Beat with a fork (or shake) until emulsified
2. Wash well and spin dry the mixed lettuce leaves
3. Crack the nuts (or use ready to eat walnut pieces)
4. Wash the apple and cut into slices (unpeeled). Note do this just before serving as the apple can go brown
5. Mix all ingredients (lettuce, apples, nuts and raisins) and add the vinegar (note the acid in vinegar dressing will prevent the oxidation of the apple)

Tips from the author

My suggestion uses an unpeeled apple, for its high content ursolic acid, which in addition to promoting muscle growth and reduce muscle wasting, inhibits the development of tumors in the skin, is an anti-inflammatory, stimulates hair growth, strengthens collagen skin helping the skin more elastic and therefore reducing wrinkles, reduces blood glucose and blood cholesterol, ultimately, it is much better to eat apples with skin. But it is also true that many people are allergic to the skin of the apple.

Raisins and nuts are also very healthy, since the former have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and the latter are great for preventing cardiovascular diseases.

2 comments

I’ve been oohing and aahing at all the fall fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.
Every year I think I’m going to be sad saying goodbye to summer and the berries and everything else that goes with it, but then I see the oranges and golds of autumn.

Right now I’m on a major apple kick that isn’t going to end anytime soon.
Apples really are one of nature’s perfect foods. You can just eat a whole apple in your hand. It doesn’t need anything else.

From the cinnamon-spiked muffins I baked last week that were loaded with apples to my afternoon snack routine of apple slices smeared with peanut butter, I can’t get enough.
No matter the color, red, yellow or green, I will take everyone.

I like to sample the seemingly endless varieties. My only requirement is that they are crisp. I can’t stand a mushy apple. Apologies to Red Delicious fans!

Pink Lady apples, with their tangy bite, are by far my favorite.
Honeycrisp apples are a close second.
Apple season seems to go on for so long that certain varieties come and go depending on the month.

Apple Walnut Salad: Sweet & Spicy

Besides snacks and baked goods, I enjoy eating sliced apples in salads with different types of lettuce.
I made an apple walnut salad with mixed greens, crumbled blue cheese and pomegranate seeds.

To get a good balance of salty and sweet, I candied the nuts in a warm skillet with maple syrup. I also added a mix of spices including cinnamon, chili powder, salt and pepper.
The heat was subtle, but it definitely had some nice kick to balance out the sweetness.

I adore this crunchy apple walnut salad for its mix of ingredients especially the salty and pungent blue cheese with the fresh apples. A mustard vinaigrette finishes off the greens.

I am already thinking about what to do next with this year’s apple crop.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

For vinaigrette
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For salad
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 ounces mixed greens
2 firm, crisp apples, cored and sliced thinly
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 whole pomegranate, seeded
2 tablespoons minced chives

For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until fully combined.

For the walnuts, place a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and pepper and toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the nuts to a parchment-lined plate to cool.

For the salad, combine the mixed greens, apples, blue cheese, pomegranate, chives and walnuts. Toss with the vinaigrette before serving.

Crisp apples, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and hearty walnuts come together in a fresh Autumn Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad. An easy side dish for any favorite meal!

You see that gold bowl in the pictures here? It’s new. I flew out the door in a panic the other day when I realized I didn’t have a bowl for the salad I was about to photograph. At least, not one that would fit my vision for this salad. It’s an autumn salad and I had no idea what exactly I was looking for when I rushed into Target at 9:50 am in my fuzzy slipper boots (don’t judge. a gal’s gotta have some comfy go-to shoes) and mop-top hair. But when I saw this bowl it screamed “photograph me, I was practically made for for a fall salad!”

And I agreed. Naturally.

Yesterday though, this big gorgeous autumn salad bowl was sitting on my countertop when a whole bunch of neighborhood girls (girls=teenagers) came over to my house to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. One of them saw the bowl and said, “What’s that?” You should have seen the look on my face. I mean, obviously it’s a bowl…. Which is exactly what I told her. Except I said that it was a salad bowl. Her immediate reaction? “Ewe I hate salad. I don’t like the taste of leaves.”

She was dead serious.

Doesn’t everybody know that these “leaves” are really just a vehicle for getting loads of really delicious flavor combinations into your mouth? Because a bowl full of walnuts, apples, dried cranberries and feta cheese covered in dressing would be nothing short of wonderful, but also somewhat… odd. So we put it on top of some leaves, call it a salad, and dig it.

And as you can see, here I am doing just that…..

What people are saying about this Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

“Made this for a lunch at work to go with a Turkey & Cranberry Sandwich. It was delicious! Hands down the best salad of this kind I have ever tasted. The only thing I did alter was I only used half the dressing. Even had a couple people ask for the recipe, so I sent them here. Yum I’ll be making this again before the week is out no doubt.” – Jennifer

“Yum! My mom makes a salad similar to this, so I knew I would like it. It turned out delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and used canola oil in the dressing.” – Katie

“I really liked this salad… I liked how the apply flavor complemented the salad but overall it was not a dressing I’d make again. All of your salads look so appetizing, and it’s fun to be able to choose one that will go with the main I’m making. Thanks for sharing.” – Allison

“This was such a delicious fall salad. I made it for my family, and they loved it. I think the best part was the dressing (which also tasted surprisingly very yummy over some plain chicken). I ended up throwing about 2 T of water and a peeled apple into my ninja to make the apple juice for the dressing. Soooo delicious. ” – Katherine

Pin 4.69 from 22 votes

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

Crisp apples, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and hearty walnuts come together in a fresh Autumn salad. Course Salad, Side Dish Cuisine American Keyword apple, cranberry, walnut Prep Time 10 minutes Servings 4 Author Tiffany

  • 6 cups salad (I used a combination of arugula and baby spinach, any spring green mix will do)
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (such as Diamond of California)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Core and chop apples (thin slices or 1 inch chunks). Toss lettuce, apples, walnuts, feta, and cranberries together in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Toss with salad immediately before serving. Enjoy!

*I also love poppyseed dressing with this salad!
**Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group.

Apple Walnut Salad made with fresh greens, chopped apples, heart-healthy walnuts, and fat-free vegan honey mustard. 3 ingredients and 5 minutes are all you need. It’s simple, quick, delicious, and perfect for the holidays.

Remember when you said you were going to eat more salads this year? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Busted!

Well, there’s no better time to start than the present. So, how about right now? Time to turn over a brand new leaf. (see what I did there?)

It’s never been easier to eat or make a salad. This 3 ingredient apple and walnut salad recipe will help you get your daily dose of greens without sacrificing time, taste, or health.

Let’s get it on!

How To Make Apple Walnut Salad

This delicious apple and walnut salad is so easy. The combination of healthy greens, apple, and crunchy walnuts go so well together.

Start by choosing your greens. I used a spring mix but, you could use kale or any other greens you prefer. Next, chop the apple and walnuts and sprinkle evenly over the greens.

Finally, mix up the Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing and drizzle over the top of the salad. And, that’s it!

A wonderful salad in just minutes that is healthy, delicious, and perfect for a quick lunch or addition to any meal.

More Delicious Salad Recipes

  • Chickpea Salad
  • Black Bean Quinoa Salad
  • Three Bean Protein Salad

Want More Sauces, Dips, & Spreads

  • Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing
  • Vegan Sriracha Mayo
  • Cashew Mayo
  • Vegan Cheese Sauce
  • Five Minute Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • Homemade BBQ Sauce

Vegan Apple Walnut Salad

I hope you enjoy this Apple Walnut Salad. It’s

  • Healthy
  • Tangy
  • Sweet
  • Crunchy
  • Earthy
  • Beautiful
  • Easy & quick
  • & Delicious!

Helpful “How To” Articles

Be sure and check out 20 Kitchen Must Haves For Healthy Vegan Oil-Free Cooking, 21 Vegan Recipes For September, & 10 Healthy Vegan Dinner Recipes to help make your life a little easier.

If you make this recipe let me know. Please leave a comment below with a star rating. Be sure and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #shaneandsimple. I want to see your work.

A delicious and simple salad made with fresh greens, chopped apples, heart-healthy crunchy walnuts, and fat-free vegan honey mustard dressing. Ready in 5 minutes and perfect for holiday gatherings.

Scale 1x2x3x

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 of any medisum sized apple, chopped (I prefer Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp. walnuts roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Shane & Simple Vegan Honey Mustard
  1. Prepare the Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing and set aside.
  2. Place 1 cup of salad greens on each plate. Top with chopped apples, walnuts, and drizzle with Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing.
  3. Serve.

Equipment

Cutting Board

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To make this dish fat-free leave out the walnuts.

  • Category: Salads & Dressings
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: apple walnut salad, salad, oil-free, healthy, easy, simple, plant-based, raw vegan

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