Today, I made a simple apple salad with walnuts that my family loved. For some reason, apples and walnuts go together like peanut butter and jelly. There's some bizarre flavor combination that sparks my taste buds and sends them reeling. And, today's homerun sealed the deal for me. Although fairly mild, walnuts possess a complexity that includes some tangy and sharp notes; some say they are bitter. But when toasted walnuts are combined with the sweetness of apples, a romance forms.
Even the simplest ingredients, when put together, harmonize a distinct flavor and texture. With walnuts and some straightforward ingredients, apple and walnut salad, dressed in a tangy apple walnut dressing, scream success. Yes, I'm raving about a simple salad with a to die for dressing, and it's all about food combinations. So, let's make an apple walnut salad recipe your family will all rave about.
First, it began with walnuts toasted in the salad and used as the creamy component to the dressing. Oh, and did I mention the apples are a part of both too?
The incredible edible walnut
According to Healthline, walnuts are the best but around. To say that walnuts are a nutritious food is a bit of an understatement.
Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals — and that’s just the beginning of how they may support your health.
In fact, there’s so much interest in this one nut that for the past 50 years, scientists and industry experts have gathered annually at the University of California, Davis, for a walnut conference discussing the latest walnut health research.
The most common variety of walnut is the English walnut, which is also the most studied type.
Here are 13 science-based health benefits of walnuts.
- Rich in Antioxidant
- Super Plant Source of Omega-3s
- May Decrease Inflammation
- Promote a Healthy Gut
- May Reduce Risks for Some Cancers
- Supports weight control
- Could Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes and Lower Your Risk
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Supports Healthy Aging
- Assists in Good Brain Function
- Aids in Male Reproductive Health
- Improves Blood Fats
- Widely Available and Easy to Add to Many Foods
If you're allergic to nuts, obviously, this isn't the recipe for you. But, if you're a nut naysayer, a few nuts aren't going to hurt you.
Consider the minimal amount of nuts in a dressing or salad with the number of servings in a recipe. ½ cups of walnuts divided by 6 servings 1 ounce of nuts.
How to toast walnuts without oil in a non-stick pan
As a general rule, I always buy organic raw walnuts. Because all nuts easily absorb pesticides because of their high oil content, so you really should buy organic or shell the nuts yourself. There are also often loads of pesticides and fungicides sprayed on nuts after they're shelled.
With that being said, roasted nuts contain extra unwanted oils. When you toast nuts, you enhance their flavor and texture. Toasting walnuts takes only a few minutes, whether yoou toast them in the oven or on the stove.
Oil-Free Stovetop Toasting
- Place the nuts in a dry non-stick pan.
- Cook on medium-low heat, often stirring with a wooden spoon
- When the nuts start to release their natural oils, add seasoning.
- For this recipe, I used garlic powder, pepper, and sea salt
- Cook until browned (2-5 minutes)
- Do not, however, leave unattended. Nuts toast quickly.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding to the salad.
Oven Toasting Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat for easy cleanup.
Arrange walnuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Toast until browned and fragrant, occasionally stirring, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before adding to the salad
Apple Salad with Walnuts Ingredients
- Romaine Lettuce or Leaf Lettuce
- Red Onion
- Honey Crisp Apple (or sweet apple of choice)
- Granny Smith Apple
- English Cucumber
- Tofu Feta Cheese
- Toasted Walnuts
To keep the apples from browning, if making ahead of time, use the juice of a lemon and toss the apples. The citrus acts as a natural preservative for the apples. And, the salad will keep as long as it isn't dressed, for leftovers the following day.
Like all my recipes, it's all about the dressing that brings a great salad recipe together. I always make all my dressings homemade without oil. Sometimes, however, I add a few nuts for a creamy texture. This dressing, however, can be made with or without the nuts, and it still tastes fabulous.
So, if you don't like nuts, or your diet calls for fewer nuts, leave the nuts out and follow the note provided in the recipe.
Walnut Apple Salad Dressing Ingredients
- Apples (I used Granny Smith)
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Dijon Mustard
- Pure Maple Syrup or 2 dates if you want to make a raw dressing
For a lower-calorie dressing, omit the walnuts. The dressing, without the walnuts, is delicious!
Then, toss and serve in individual bowls or on plates and drizzle with dressing. YUM!
If you are trying to add more greens to your diet, try these recipes!
- Grape Salad
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Vegan Caesar Salad
- Mango Salad
- Chickpea Quinoa Salad - Southwest Style!
- Israeli Salad
- Mexican Salad
- Superfood Salad
- Sweet Potato Salad
Apple Salad with Walnuts
- 1 bunch Romaine or Red Leaf Lettuce chopped (approximately 5-6 cup)
- 1 Honeycrisp apple cored and sliced thin (or sweet apple of choice), skin on
- 1 Granny Smith apple cored and sliced thin, skin on
- 1 red onion cut into slivers
- ½ cup walnuts toasted
- 1 English cucumber cut in slices and then halves
- ½ cup vegan tofu feta cheese
- ½ cup chopped apples skin removed (I used Granny Smith)
- ½ cup Walnuts
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 small shallot peeled
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup or 2 dates if you want to make a raw dressing
Apple Walnut Salad
- Chop the Romaine or Leaf Lettuce and place it into the center of a large bowl
- Toast the walnuts in a non-stick skillet on medium-low; add 1 teaspoon garlic powder and salt and pepper as the nuts cook, releasing their natural oil.
- Stir the nuts continuously as they brown for 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- If making ahead of time, core and cut the apples into thin slices. Then transfer the slices to a bowl and coat with the juice of 1 lemon.
- Make sure you toss the apples, so all the apple slices are coated with lemon juice,
- Cut the red onion and cucumber.
- Prepare the vegan tofu feta cheese using the attached link (this recipe is best if made ahead of time). Because you only need ½ cup vegan tofu feta cheese, use the rest for other recipes through the week, or freeze the extra.
- Add the apple slices, red onions, cucumbers, toasted walnuts, and tofu vegan feta cheese to the bowl of lettuce.
- Toss and serve in individual bowls.
- Do not dress the entire salad unless you plan to eat the entire salad in one sitting, so the salad does not get soggy.
- Instead, dress individual salads.
Prepare the Dressing
- In a high-speed blender, add all the ingredients.
- Blend until smooth.
- Refrigerate until using.
- For a lighter, less calorie version of the dressing, skip the walnuts.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂