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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Apple Walnut Salad

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If you love fall flavors, then you will absolutely adore this delicious apple walnut salad with dates and feta. Crisp mixed greens are tossed with tart Granny Smith apples, creamy feta, sweet cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette for the perfect side dish or light lunch! Ready in under 15 minutes!

Apple walnut salad with cranberries, dates, and feta served on a white serving plate.

Apples are a fruit that’s available year-round, so it’s easy to forget that they actually have a season. Apple season is late summer and fall, so I always love making apple recipes as the season changes, especially if I have some freshly picked apples.

This satisfying apple feta walnut salad with dates and dried cranberries will be a star at your dinner table or brighten up your lunchbox. The fall salad is topped with an easy-to-make apple cider vinaigrette, which has sweet notes of apple, fruity olive oil, tangy apple cider vinegar, and a dash of spicy cayenne.

It’s super easy to make, ready in minutes, and is great for the whole family or for feeding a crowd!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Versatile: This apple walnut cranberry salad is super versatile and satisfying, and has a nice balance of sweet and savory flavors to round out any meal. Perfect for potlucks, family dinners, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, or really – whenever you’re craving a hearty & satisfying salad!
  • Colorful: You’ll truly be eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables with this colorful apple and walnut salad. Brighten up any meal or table and you can add even more color with additional seasonal vegetables.
  • Ready In Minutes: This easy salad recipe can be ready in under 15 minutes including washing and cutting the vegetables. The homemade vinaigrette whisks together beautifully and you can even make it ahead and store it in a mason jar in the refrigerator.
  • Family-Friendly: While the flavors of this salad are sophisticated enough to serve for special occasions, the crisp apples, cheese, and zesty dressing make it inviting for kids and they’ll love the dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts too!

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🥘 Ingredients

This refreshing, crunchy apple walnut salad recipe combines leafy greens, apples, feta cheese, and a homemade apple dressing. For the full list of ingredients and directions, see the recipe card below.

Ingredients for apple walnut salad recipe on a white background.

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed Salad Greens: A mixed green salad blend offers vibrant color, is nutrient-dense, and adds lots of texture when roughly chopped.
  • Green Apples: I prefer using a Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced, for this salad with walnuts and feta.
  • Dates: For a sweet and chewy pop, pitted and chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • Dried Cranberries: Unsweetened dried cranberries are tart and slightly sweet and have a rich cranberry red color.
  • Walnuts: For the most flavor, toast walnut halves and then chop them into small pieces so there are walnut bits in every bite of this apple cranberry walnut salad!
  • Red Onion: Finely diced red onion gives a refreshing onion flavor to any salad. 
  • Feta Cheese: Feta cheese has a crumbly and creamy texture and a little bit of tang which is a delightful complement to the sweet apples, chopped or crumbled.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season this apple date salad to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • Apple Jelly, Maple Syrup, Or Honey: Using jelly carries the apple taste into the dressing and adds sweetness to balance the other dressing flavors. But you can also use maple syrup, honey, or this vegan honey for a delicious apple walnut salad dressing as well!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: An oil and vinegar-based dressing always pairs well with a fruity salad.
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil will give the most flavor.
  • Dijon Mustard: Mustard adds a bit of thickness to this homemade dressing and a tangy mustard taste.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced garlic works best.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Just a pinch of cayenne pepper adds a bit of heat. But feel free to omit it if you’re making this salad with apples and walnuts for more sensitive palates!

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Apples: While I used Granny Smith apples in this healthy apple salad recipe, you can use any type of apples you like!
  • Nuts: Instead of toasted walnuts, try candied walnuts! Or try a different nut altogether – slivered almonds, or even pecans would taste great in this recipe.
  • Cheese: Instead of feta, try a different soft cheese. Brie, creamy goat cheese, gorgonzola cheese, or even blue cheese would all work.
  • Dates: Can’t find dates at your grocery store? No problem! Regular raisins or golden raisins would also taste great in this walnut and apple salad.
  • Vinegar: Don’t have apple cider vinegar for the salad dressing? Lemon juice should also work!
  • Greens: While we used a spring mix, any type of greens will work in this dish. Use baby spinach for an apple spinach walnut salad, or make a kale apple walnut salad instead! Other greens that will also work are arugula, or even romaine.

🔪 How to Make Apple Walnut Salad

This dish is ready in just 15 minutes! Here’s how to make this apple walnut feta salad:

Whisk the Apple Dressing: In a small bowl combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until well incorporated, set aside.

Salad dressing for apple cranberry walnut salad on a white background.

Combine Salad Ingredients: Combine mixed salad greens, sliced apples, dates, cranberries, walnuts, onion, and feta in a large salad bowl.

Dress the Salad: Toss the salad with the dressing until coated as desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Salad dressing added to apple salad in a mixing bowl.

Serve this green apple walnut salad immediately!

Apple cranberry walnut salad tossed with an apple cider vinaigrette on a white serving plate.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Wash And Dry Greens: Gently wash the fresh greens in cool water and then pat them dry with a tea towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess water. Freshly washed greens will have the best flavor and washing will remove any small dirt particles.
  • Toast The Walnuts: Toasting the walnuts will deepen their flavor. Place walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 7-9 minutes in a preheated 350° Fahrenheit oven. Watch the walnuts carefully so they don’t burn and remove them from the oven once their color has darkened. You can also toast walnuts on the stove-top in a medium-sized skillet on medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Reserve Some Of The Dressing: Allow guests to personalize their cranberry apple walnut salad by reserving some of the dressing and serving it on the side.
  • Make It Seasonal: The flavors of apple, feta, and the sweet and slightly zesty dressing blend well with so many vegetables. Add your favorite sliced, diced, or roasted seasonal vegetables, or change up the greens for a salad that reflects the season.

📖 Variations

  • Lower-Carb: For a lower-carb salad, omit the dates and use sugar-free apple jelly or sugar free maple syrup.
  • Apple Walnut Sandwich: Use this cranberry walnut apple salad as a healthy and delicious pita filling or sandwich filling. Spread some of the vinaigrette on two slices of sprouted wheat bread, add a slice of your favorite cheese, and top with this salad. 
  • Apple Walnut Coleslaw: Use shredded cabbage or a coleslaw blend in place of the mixed greens. Serve as a main course or side dish. A delicious and crunchy potluck or picnic dish!
  • Extra Colorful Vegetables: Add sliced radishes, carrots, and green onions for an extra serving of vegetables and additional color.
  • Extra Crunchy: Sprinkle the top of the salad with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for an extra crunch.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

This delicious walnut apple salad recipe works well as a side of any main dish – and pairs well with all of these vegetarian entree recipes. It also works as a light lunch with some crusty bread or with this vegan garlic bread on the side.. It also goes well with any potluck or holiday meal spread. If you’d like to add some protein pair it with air fryer tofu nuggets or air fryer tempeh, either of which can be served on the side or on top of the salad.

🙌 Dietary Adaptions

This easy recipe is already gluten free and vegetarian! For a vegan or dairy free option – see below.

  • Vegan Or Dairy-Free: To make this wonderful salad vegan and/or dairy-free, omit the feta cheese or use a vegan feta cheese.

🫙 Storage Directions

In The Fridge: Leftovers keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Greens tend to wilt once they have been dressed, so if you plan to use this walnut apple cranberry salad as leftovers, I’d recommend tossing the dressing with all of the ingredients except the greens and cheese. Then when you’re ready to enjoy it, add the greens and cheese to the prepared mixture and toss. Adding the dressing to the apples ahead of time will slow them from oxidizing in your fridge! I don’t recommend trying to freeze this recipe as it will not defrost well!

Recipe FAQs

What is the best apple to use in a salad?

For salads, you’ll want a nice crunchy apple that doesn’t brown too quickly when sliced or chopped. I chose a Granny Smith apple for this salad for that exact reason! Other apples that will work well are Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Pink Lady.

Are walnuts good on salads?

Yes! Walnuts have a nice crunch which makes them ideal for salads, especially when they are toasted in the oven to enhance their flavor. Walnuts add textures but aren’t too firm so they give just the right amount of crunch.

Is salads with apples and walnuts healthy?

Yes! This salad is packed with nutrition thanks to the greens and vitamin-rich fruit! The mixed greens provide a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, K, folate, and potassium. You’ll get additional Vitamin C, Potassium, and fiber from the apples; and the dates are rich in choline, Vitamins A, B, E, K folate, and iron. The cheese and walnuts bring some good fats and protein to round out the salad.

How do you keep cut apples from turning brown in salads?

The best way to keep your apples from turning brown is to actually soak them in salt water (1/2 tsp salt + 1 cup of water) for a few minutes before adding them to your salad! Additionally, tossing the apples with a salad dressing that has lemon juice added will also keep them nice and fresh.

Apple walnut salad with cranberries, dates, and feta served on a white serving plate.

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📋 Recipe Card

🎥 Watch How to Make It

https://youtu.be/Zp3k-00Ksuo
Apple walnut salad with cranberries, dates, and feta served on a white serving plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 16 votes

Apple Walnut Salad

If you love fall flavors, then you will absolutely adore this delicious apple walnut salad with dates and feta. Crisp mixed greens are tossed with tart Granny Smith apples, creamy feta, sweet cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette for the perfect side dish or light lunch! Ready in under 15 minutes!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mixed greens, roughly chopped can also use baby spinach or romaine
  • 1 Granny Smith apple cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup pitted dates chopped (omit for a lower carb option)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • cup chopped walnuts toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup red onion finely diced
  • 2 oz. feta cheese crumbled
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, honey, or apple jelly (use a sugar free jelly for a lower carb option)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter

Instructions

  • Combine maple syrup through to cayenne pepper in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated, this will become your salad dressing. Set aside.
  • Combine mixed salad greens, apples, dates, cranberries, walnuts, onion and feta in large bowl.
  • Toss with dressing until coated as desired.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • Choose an apple that is crunchy and doesn’t brown easily.
  • Opt for toasted walnuts, for extra flavor.
  • Use the salad as a healthy and delicious sandwich filling!
  • If using apple jelly use 2 tbsp instead of 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
  • Instead of mixed greens, try using a shredded cabbage blend or coleslaw base for this salad to mix things up.
  • Additional add-ins that would be delicious include: Radishes, Carrots, and Green Onions
  • To make it vegan, just omit the cheese
  • Tips for storing: Greens tend to wilt pretty quickly once they have been dressed, so if you plan to use this salad as leftovers I’d recommend tossing the dressing with all of the salad ingredients except the greens and cheese. Then, right before you serve it, you can add the greens and cheese to the prepared mixture and toss one more time. Adding the dressing to the apples ahead of time will help to make sure they don’t oxidize in your fridge!
  • For a lower carb option use sugar free apple jelly.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g

28 responses to “Apple Walnut Salad”

  1. Apples, walnuts, and feta make the BEST combination. My hubby has an intolerance to apples and I sub in pears — it’s just as delicious!5 stars

  2. This was everything a gourmet salad should be, and then some! Loved all the balance of flavor and texture; easily, a new favorite salad recipe!5 stars

  3. I love a good salad with apples, especially in the fall and winter! I often add Pecorino or Manchego, but my husband adores brie, so this is a great way to change it up and spread the love around! 🙂5 stars

  4. This salad has some of my favorite fall ingredients! Apples, brie, and walnuts. Can’t go wrong with this combination!5 stars

  5. I’m a HUGE fan of brie, but never actually thought to put it into a salad. Paired with apples and dates, this sounds like a salad I could eat every day and not grow tired of it.5 stars

  6. This is a celebration of all thing apples in one delicious dish. Apple slices, apple jelly, and apple cider vinegar. And it matches well with the brie and walnuts! 🙂5 stars

  7. I love apple in salads like this, but I have never thought to include dates. I am loving this idea – will definitely do that next time.5 stars

  8. Going to have to try this, I love apple in salads and feta is delicious. I also favour baby spinach in my salads but the mixed greens sounds lovely.5 stars

    • Thanks Alice! I’m sure you will love this recipe (it will work with either spinach or cabbage!)

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