This delicious apple walnut salad is a perfect taste of fall with crisp sweet apples, crunchy candied walnuts, dried cranberries, and tangy blue cheese all tossed in a homemade apple cider vinaigrette dressing.
This autumn salad recipe has a short simple list of ingredients, so it is perfect for a weeknight side dish or add rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy fall lunch salad. It's also a great option for your next Thanksgiving or holiday table too.
The crisp apples, crunchy candied walnuts, and dried cranberries provide sweetness while the blue cheese adds a salty, tangy flavor and it's all pulled together by the delicious homemade apple cider vinaigrette dressing that brings the acid to balance out the sweetness. These simple ingredients combine for a salad that's loaded with flavor!
For the base of this fall salad I like to use a mix of green and purple lettuces to add color, but feel free to make it your own and use your favorite salad greens. I opted for convenience and bought a pack of glazed walnuts that had cranberries as well. If you want to make your own glazed nuts check out this simple 5 minute recipe for candied walnuts.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients
This tasty dressing uses common pantry ingredients so it's quick and easy to whip up anytime! You'll need olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, 1 small garlic clove, salt, and pepper.
How to make apple cider vinaigrette dressing
- Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- If time allows refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
How to prepare the BEST Fall salad
- Start by rinsing the lettuce and draining off as much of the water as possible. If you don't have a salad spinner, I highly recommend one. It makes the process of cleaning your lettuce much easier and gets much more of the water off the leaves. No one wants a watery salad!
- Chop the lettuce and add to a large bowl then add half of the sliced apples, walnuts, cranberries, and crumbled blue cheese. Toss gently to combine.
- Top the salad with the remaining apples, walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese. Then serve with the prepared apple cider vinaigrette.
If you are making this salad in advance I recommend tossing the apples in lemon juice to help keep them from browning.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
Absolutely, this salad is also delicious with pears or for more of a summer twist try strawberries and blueberries!
If you're not a fan of blue cheese feta or goat cheese also work well in this salad and add a similar richness and creamy texture.
Like most salads this dish is best fresh, but if you plan to make ahead toss the apples in a tablespoon of lemon juice to keep them from browning and leave off the dressing. Store the salad in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to eat. Toss with the dressing just before serving.
More Fall Favorites
- Smoked Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet
- Instant Pot Pork Roast and Potatoes
- Cast Iron Roasted Chicken Breasts and Potatoes
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta (Under 30 Minute Meal!)
Fall Apple and Walnut Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 6-7 cups chopped lettuce
- 1 large apple thinly sliced
- ½ cup candied walnuts
- ⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small clove garlic finely minced
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
- Add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Alternatively you can add the ingredients to a small jar and close the lid, then shake vigorously to combine.
- Rinse the lettuce then drain as much of the water as possible, preferably using a salad spinner.
- Chop the lettuce and add to a large bowl. Add half of the sliced apples, cranberries, walnuts, and blue cheese then toss gently. Top with the remaining apples, cranberries, walnuts, and blue cheese and serve with the prepared dressing
- If preparing the salad in advance toss the sliced apples in a tablespoon of lemon juice to keep them from browning and leave off the dressing until ready to serve.
- It time allows prepare the dressing in advance and allow to rest for 30 min to allow the flavors to combine.
- Goat cheese or Feta cheese can be substituted for the blue cheese if preferred.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.