There’s a few components to make this Apple Salad – and it’s worth it! With candied walnuts or pecans, plumped cranberries, thinly sliced apple and leafy greens, this is a salad that’s worthy of festive gatherings.
This Apple Salad is tossed with a simple vinaigrette – because with all the fabulous textures and flavours going on here, we don’t want the dressing to steal the show!!
A SHOW-OFFY APPLE SALAD
There’s 3 types of salads in my world:
1. quick and easy salads for midweek meals;
2. giant meal salads; and
3. show-offy salads.
In my world, the definition of “show-offy salads” are those that require a bit more effort, reserved for gatherings, lunch with friends, and for family dinners where I’m sulking because everybody else “bagsed” the “fun” courses – starters, main and dessert, leaving me with “just” salad.
“You want me to bring salad? I’ll show you a salad!!” I fume silently to myself.
And thus, I embark on a mission to make a great salad. Tasty, pretty and interesting – but still fresh enough to be a side dish.
This Apple Salad with Walnuts and Cranberries is one such salad.
This recipe centres around apples, the crisp, juicy sweetness and pairing it with leafy greens and an assortment of other ingredients to create a salad that’s loaded with great textures.
Well, actually, just one apple. That’s all you need for this recipe. Once sliced thinly, one apple stretches quite far.
I like to use red apples for this, mainly for colour and also because I prefer the sweet with a bit of tart that is inherent with most varieties of red apples here in Australia. But feel free to use any apple you want!
HOW TO MAKE MY APPLE SALAD
I did say upfront that there’s a few components to this apple salad, and I think it’s worth it if you’re going all out! BUT you can absolutely simplify it – note the significant use of the words “optional step”in the following section:
- Candied walnuts (or pecans or other nuts) – Super quick, 5 minutes on the stove for crunchy toffee coated nuts. This is an optional step for show-off purposes;
- Plump cranberries – Just a 5 minute soak in hot water is all that’s required to transform shrivelled up dried cranberries (or any berries) into plump little balls that burst in your mouth when you bite into them. Again, optional!
- Sliced apple drizzled with lemon to stop them from browning – optional if serving immediately;
- Simple dressing made with vinegar, oil, mustard and sugar. Keep it simple to let everything else shine!
- Leafy greens, onion for a fresh bite and the teeniest crumble of feta or goats cheese mainly for garnish.
As I always do out of interest, I did a quick search on the internet to see how others do Apple Salad. I was somewhat bemused to see an astonishing array of mayo-laden salads made with apple.
Suffice to say, this is pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’d describe this salad as fresh and bright with the zingy dressing, the crisp sweet juiciness of apple, and the leafy greens, with added pops of flavour and textures from the sweet-tart (plumped!) cranberries and the crunch of the candied walnuts.
It really is a terrific combination! – Nagi x
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Apple Salad with Candied Walnuts and Cranberries
Recipe video above. A terrific bright, fresh salad with a great combination of flavours and textures. The candied nuts and plumping the cranberries is optional – but don’t skip it if you’re making this for company! The dressing is best kept simple to let the ingredients in the salad take centre stage. Makes more candied nuts than you need but I find it hard to make a smaller batch.
- 1 red apple (, quartered, seeds remove, finely sliced)
- Squeeze of lemon juice ((to stop apple browning))
- 120 g/4 oz mixed salad leaves ((4 to 5 big handfuls))
- 1/2 red onion (, finely sliced (wedge way, not half moon))
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp feta or goats cheese (, crumbled (garnish, optional))
Candied Walnuts (or other nuts):
- 1 tbsp butter (, salted)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1.5 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Place butter in a small non stick skillet over medium heat. When melted, add sugar. Stir briefly, then leave until the sugar mostly melts.
- When it starts bubbling a bit, add nuts.
- Stir 2 minutes. Pour out on parchment paper lined tray.
- Spread nuts out, allow to cool. Roughly chop half, leave some whole.
Place in a bowl, pour over freshly boiled water. Leave to soak 10 minutes then drain.
Drizzle with lemon juice and toss (stops apple from browning).
Place Dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Adjust to taste – more oil to make it creamier, sugar for sweet, vinegar for tart.
- Place salad in a large bowl with half the apple slices and all the onion. Drizzle with half the dressing then toss.
- Scatter over the cranberries, desired amount of walnuts, remaining apple slices and feta. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve immediately!
1. Apple – I like using red apple for appearance and also because most are sweet / a bit tart. Whereas granny smiths are tarter and gold apples tend to be sweeter.
2. Nuts – use any nuts you want here. Pecans and almonds are ideal.
Recipe makes more candied nuts than you need but I find it hard to make a smaller batch. Leftovers keeps for a week or two in an airtight container (or even freeze for months!)
Nut substitute: sunflower seeds and pepitas would also be great here for texture and flavour.
3. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings assuming 3/4 cup of candied walnuts used.
Calories from Fat 234
LIFE OF DOZER
I seriously think he’d make kids cry with this Halloween mask!!