Candy apple salad is a delightful twist on the traditional garden salad, and can be enjoyed year-round. Crunchy apples, chewy cranberries, and sweet candied walnuts make this a salad lover's delight!
I love a dish that you can serve year-round, and this fresh candy apple salad goes effortlessly from a springtime lunch entrée to a holiday side dish.
This is a less-fussy variation of the mid century favorite classic Waldorf salad, and is sometimes referred to as cranberry apple walnut salad. Borrowing apples, walnuts, and greens, then deviating with cranberries, feta cheese, and an apple cider vinaigrette, it's a light and tasty cousin of the mayonnaise-based Waldorf. The "candy" in the name comes from the candied, or glazed, walnuts used in the recipe.
When to Serve Candy Apple Salad
There are so many great serving ideas for this sweet and savory salad. Here are just a few:
- Add grilled chicken and feature it as a main dish in the spring or summer
- Bring it to a potluck gathering as a fall harvest salad
- Make it an autumn fruit salad Thanksgiving side dish
- Feature both red and green apples for a beautiful holiday salad
- Serve as a healthy fruit and nut salad at a vegan meal
As you can see, this festive apple walnut salad is as versatile as it is delicious!
- Butter lettuce
- Feta cheese
- Dried cranberries & glazed walnuts
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
How to Prepare a Cranberry Apple Walnut Salad
Preparing this salad couldn't be easier. Simply tear the butter lettuce leaves to bite size pieces, slice & add the apples, then toss in the cranberries & glazed walnuts and sprinkle the feta on top!
Combine all the ingredients of the salad dressing, and stir well or shake, then mix it again right before serving.
Tips for a Great Salad
- Put the dressing on each individual serving when it's time to eat. Putting it on the salad earlier will make it turn soggy.
- Feta cheese is recommended for a nice mild taste that doesn't overwhelm. As an alternative you can use gorgonzola or bleu cheese.
- Butter lettuce is recommended for its nutritional value. Feel free to add other greens to the mix such as fresh spinach, kale, or arugula.
- Choose an apple with a sweet/tart balance like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji or Empire. If you enjoy a tart apple in contrast to the sweet cranberries and walnuts, a Granny Smith will work. I brush a little bit of orange juice on my apples after I slice them to slow down the browning process.
- For quick & easy salad prep, use a bag of dried & sweet cranberries & glazed walnuts. If you prefer to add them separately, add ⅓ cup of cranberries and ½ cup homemade candied walnuts.
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Candy Apple Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 2 heads butter lettuce
- 2 apples thinly sliced
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 3.5 oz package dried & sweet cranberries & glazed walnuts salad topping
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Tear lettuce into bite sized pieces.
- Toss in sliced apples, feta cheese, and cranberries & walnuts.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Instructions
- Add all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, and whisk vigorously until well combined. Serve with salad.
- Store in an airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.