This delicious green salad is filled with flavor from apples, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and maple spice roasted walnuts. It’s easy to make in under 30 minutes for an easy weeknight side dish win.

Close up of apple cranberry walnut salad in a bowl with gold serving spoons

As a Registered Dietitian, you won’t be surprised to hear that I love a good salad recipe. From green salads, to grain salads, to kale salads, I will take them all! This apple cranberry walnut salad is the perfect side dish for a weeknight dinner. It features homemade maple spice roasted walnuts, and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s delicious dressed in a simple apple cider vinaigrette.

This green salad recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, and soy free. You can easily make it dairy free by just leaving out the goat cheese – it will still be super tasty. This recipe serves 6-8 as a side dish.

Ingredients in apple cranberry walnut salad

Here is everything you need to make this salad, which includes maple spice roasted walnuts and apple cider vinaigrette.

  • Mixed greens, such as spring mix
  • Honeycrisp apple or Granny Smith apple
  • Goat cheese
  • Red onion
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raw walnuts
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard

Ingredient substitution ideas and dietary restriction swaps

  • Make it a grain salad by adding cooked quinoa, farro, or wild rice.
  • Make it nut free: swap the walnuts for pumpkin seeds.
  • Make it dairy free: eliminate the goat cheese, and add diced avocado or dairy free cheese.
  • Make it vegan: Make the dairy swap recommendation and switch out maple syrup for the honey in the vinaigrette.
  • Swap apples for pears for a similar flavored salad.
Apple cranberry walnut salad ingredients

How to make apple cranberry walnut salad

Start by making the spice roasted walnuts. You can use plain toasted walnuts for this recipe if you want, but this step is so simple and adds SO much flavor, so I recommend giving it a try.

  1. Toss the walnuts in olive oil, maple syrup, chili powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Transfer the walnuts to a foil-lined baking sheet, spreading them out so each nut has space.
  3. Roast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the maple syrup has hardened and the walnuts are a rich golden color.
  4. Let them cool completely – the maple and spice coating will harden as they cool.
Close up of bowl of maple spice roasted walnuts

Then make the apple cider vinaigrette.

  1. Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to a small jar.
  2. Close the jar and shake it all up so the dressing emulsifies.
  3. Set aside.

Prepare and assemble the salad.

  1. Thinly slice the apples and red onion.
  2. Add the mixed greens to a large salad bowl.
  3. Arrange the sliced apples on top of the greens.
  4. Then add the sliced red onion, crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries, and spice roasted walnuts.
  5. Wait until just before serving to dress the salad and toss it all together.

Tip: Toss the apple slices in 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice to prevent enzymatic browning after they’ve been sliced.

Salad storage

Like most salads made with softer greens, this salad is best eaten right away after you toss it all in the salad dressing. If you want to prepare it ahead of time, you can do so a day in advance and store it covered in the fridge without dressing. Make sure you toss the apple slices in lemon juice to prevent browning if you make it ahead of time.

Apple cranberry walnut salad in large salad bowl with gold mixing spoons, surrounded by small bowls of ingredients and salad dressing

Serving suggestions

This salad is an excellent side dish for plenty of meals, including salmon, other proteins, pastas, and tofu. Try it with one of these recipes:

Apple nutrition benefits

Apples are a very nutritious, affordable, and widely available fruit to include in your diet. One whole, medium sized apple provides:

  • 4.4 grams of dietary fiber
  • 8.4 mg Vitamin C (9 percent of your daily needs)
  • A source of several other nutrients including B Vitamins, potassium, copper, and Vitamin K

Apples are a good dietary source of soluble fiber. This type of dietary fiber is beneficial for heart health, because it can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Walnuts nutrition benefits

Walnuts are in incredibly nutrient-dense food. One ounce (about 1/4 cup) of walnuts provides:

  • 2 grams of dietary fiber
  • 4.3 grams of plant-based protein
  • 0.152 mg Vitamin B6 (12 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.450 mg copper (50 percent of your daily needs)
  • 44.79 mg magnesium (11 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.968 mg manganese (42 percent of your daily needs)

Walnuts have about 19 grams of fat, but a majority of the fat comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Walnuts are one of the best plant-based sources of ALA omega-3 fatty acids.

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad with Goat Cheese

This delicious green salad is filled with flavor from apples, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and maple spice roasted walnuts. It’s easy to make in under 30 minutes for an easy weeknight side dish win.

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 68 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

Scale

Maple Spice Roasted Walnuts

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

  • 5 oz mixed greens, such as spring mix
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 oz log of goat cheese, crumbled with your hands

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Prep the maple spiced roasted walnuts by mixing all the ingredients together to coat the walnuts in oil, maple syrup, and spices.
  3. Spread out the walnuts evenly on the baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Walnuts will be done when the maple syrup has caramelized and thickened significantly, and nuts are a deep golden, orange brown.
  5. Transfer the walnuts to a plate, and put it in the fridge to cool while you prep the rest of the salad.
  6. Make the vinaigrette by adding all the ingredients to a small jar. Cover and shake the jar vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
  7. Assemble the salad in a large salad bowl: start with a base of greens, then arrange the sliced apples, red onion, cranberries, goat cheese, and the cooled walnuts.
  8. Toss the salad in the vinaigrette whenever you’re ready to serve it.

Notes

Tip: Toss the apple slices in 1-2 tbsp lemon juice to prevent browning.

Ingredient substitution ideas and dietary restriction swaps

  • Make it a grain salad by adding cooked quinoa, farro, or wild rice.
  • Make it nut free: swap the walnuts for pumpkin seeds.
  • Make it dairy free: eliminate the goat cheese, and add diced avocado or dairy free cheese.
  • Make it vegan: Make the dairy swap recommendation and switch out maple syrup for the honey in the vinaigrette.
  • Swap apples for pears for a similar flavored salad.

Serving suggestions

This salad is an excellent side dish for plenty of meals, including salmon, other proteins, pastas, and tofu

Salad storage

This salad is best eaten right away after you toss it all in the salad dressing. If you want to prepare it ahead of time, you can do so a day in advance and store it covered in the fridge without dressing. Make sure you toss the apple slices in lemon juice to prevent browning if you make it ahead of time.

Keywords: apple cranberry walnut salad, spice roasted walnuts, honeycrisp apple recipe, apple cider vinaigrette

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Apple cranberry walnut salad in large salad bowl with gold mixing spoons, surrounded by small bowls of ingredients and salad dressing