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Savor the flavors of this apple walnut salad! Crisp apples mix with crunchy toasted walnuts and a sweet-tart dressing. It’s an easy side dish or add protein for a satisfying lunch!

Apple Walnut Salad

Need a delicious salad recipe that goes with just about anything? (We’re always game for ideas.) Try this apple walnut salad! The mix of crisp apples, crunchy walnuts, chewy cranberries and a sweet-tart dressing makes a symphony of textures and flavors. It’s perfect as a side dish, but add protein and it also works as a main meal! You can swap out the dressing and mix-ins to make dozens of variations on the theme, making it endlessly versatile for any time and occasion.

Ingredients in apple walnut salad

An apple walnut salad works in many ways: there are many types of dressings and ways to accessorize the apples. And don’t forget about the classic Waldorf salad of apples, walnuts and grapes with a creamy mayo-based dressing! This apple walnuts salad is all about minimal ingredients with maximum impact. It’s fancy enough for entertaining, yet simple enough to pair with an easy weeknight meal. Here’s what you’ll need for this tasty green salad:

Apple Walnut Salad

Best types of apples for a salad

Make sure to use a crisp tart apple variety in this apple walnut salad. Of course, you can use any apple you have on hand! But it’s nice to use an apple that has a hearty crunch when you bite into it, and a hint of tart to make the flavor pop. Here are our top apple varieties for a salad:

  • Pink Lady: This is our favorite type of apple: the flavor is intensely sweet tart and it has a lovely, bright red color.
  • Granny Smith: Granny Smith is great for salads, though we recommend using it with another red apple for color contrast.
  • Honeycrisp: This variety is a bit sweeter and juicier than Pink Lady, but still a great option.

Dressing variations

This apple walnut salad is delicious with the maple vinaigrette listed in the recipe below. However, it works very well with other dressing ideas as well! Here are some top salad dressings that work with the flavors of this salad:

Apple Walnut Salad

Apple walnut salad topping ideas

Want to mix up the toppings for this apple walnut salad? The sky is the limit! Keep the greens, apples, and walnuts steady and add additional cheese, nuts or other mix ins for a versatile side. Here are some of our top ideas:

  • Feta crumbles or goat cheese crumbles add a pop of salt and a visual appeal.
  • Dried cherries, pomegranate seeds, or raisins can stand in for the cranberries.
  • Parmesan, gorgonzola, gouda, or Manchego also work for the cheese.
  • Try adding a handful of almonds, pecans, pistachios, or hazelnuts alongside the walnuts.
  • Using pepitas is another fun way to mix up the crunchy elements.

Add protein to make it a main dish

Lastly, it’s simple to turn apple walnut salad into a main dish. Simply top with protein! The flavors in this salad work well with chicken, shrimp, salmon, and even tofu as a vegan salad option. Here are some recipes for cooking the protein:

More salad recipes

Love eating salads? We are salad obsessed around here! Here are some of our top favorite salads:

This apple walnut salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Apple Walnut Salad

Apple Walnut Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Savor the flavors of this apple walnut salad! Crisp apples mix with crunchy toasted walnuts and a sweet-tart dressing. It’s an easy side dish or add protein for a satisfying lunch!


Ingredients

Scale

For the apple walnut salad

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 crisp tart apple (like Pink Lady)
  • 8 cups mixed greens or tender lettuces (like butter or Bibb lettuce, frisee, etc)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 handful sliced red onion* (or shallot)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles (optional; not shown)

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper (optional)
  • To make it a main: Blackened Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, Baked Salmon, or Baked Tofu

Instructions

  1. Place the nuts in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the nuts are fragrant and slightly darker brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove immediately from the heat and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking.
  2. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. Whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until a creamy dressing forms. (If desired, make in advance and refrigerate up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature prior to serving).
  3. Thinly slice the apple.
  4. Place the greens on a large platter or individual plates. Top with apple slices, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and red onion slices. If desired, add a sprinkle of feta cheese. Top with about 6 tablespoons of the dressing (or more as desired) and serve immediately. (To make ahead, keep all components separate with fresh ingredients and dressing refrigerated. Toss the apples with lemon juice to prevent browning. Bring dressing to room temperature and add all ingredients together directly before serving.)

Notes

*To remove some of the strong flavor of the red onion, you can soak it in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes before assembling the salad.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Apple walnut salad,

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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