This apple salad recipe turns apples with some veggies and nuts into an unforgettable experience.
Some salads are boring to eat, but the fault for that lies with the maker — they haven’t played with textures and flavors. Today, we’re walking you through a salad with heaps of juicy veggies and apple chunks, nuts, and raisins, all tossed in a creamy, savory dressing.
Best of all, the salad comes together in just 10 minutes and can be prepped ahead of time. It makes a great side to go with meat, or a light snack for when you don’t feel like eating a full meal and is a favorite for Apple Day (September 25).
Is Apple Salad Healthy?
“Aren’t all salads healthy?”, you might be wondering. That’s what we used to believe, but things turned out to be not so simple.
Besides eating a variety of foods, the USDA’s dietary guidelines also recommend having less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar. Without careful portioning, your diet can be high in these nutrients, which is bad in the long run.
That’s why we take nutritional profiles and meal planning seriously, even with innocent-looking salads like this one. A typical salad can be high in saturated fat and sodium (because of the dressing), but not ours.
Specifically, here’s what each serving of our apple salad recipe contains, compared to what’s recommended:
Daily Allowance — USDA’s dietary guidelines
Side Dish Allowance — Our guidelines
Besides these, a healthy diet also requires sufficient intake of both macronutrients and micros — vitamins and minerals. This is what we try our best to accomplish — making you wholesome meal plans and helping you meet these requirements.
If you love salads, here are a few more to keep your meals colorful:
Zucchini salad: a simple, flavorful salad to use up leftover zucchinis.
Fruit salad: full of fruit coated in a sweet dressing, a fun dessert.
This section covers everything you need to know about apples, from picking the right variety to prepping.
1. Types of Apples for Apple Salad
When it comes to making a great dish, ingredient selection speaks volumes. Tender, soft varieties like Empire, Gala or Fuji might be an awesome snack, but they make terrible salads.
What you want for an apple salad is those with a crisp, juicy texture, like Granny Smiths and Honeycrisps. We’re using both for a combination of colors and flavors (sweet and sour).
2. How to Cut an Apple for Apple Salad
A salad often comes with thinly sliced vegetables or chunks of them so they fit easily onto a fork. It’s a matter of preference really, so we went for the chunky presentation.
For apples, after rinsing them thoroughly, place one on a cutting board and cut it into inch-thick slices. Remember to remove the seeds in the middle slice, as they are inedible, and trim away the stem part.
Then, stack two or three apple slices, hold them tight and start slicing them into thick strips. Rotate the strips a quarter turn and cut them into large cubes, like so:
Slice celery on a bias, so they’re as large as the apples. Keeping the ingredients similar in size helps with the presentation as well as the eating experience.
How to Make Apple Salad
Here’s an overview of our apple salad recipe. For more detailed instructions, refer to the recipe card below.
Combine dressing ingredients in a large salad bowl
Toss in apples, onion, pecans, raisins, and celery
Lay the mixture on a bed of shredded lettuce
Serve (or chill and serve cold)
Tips to Make Apple Salad
Apples are prone to browning when exposed to the air, but this can be avoided with an acidic solution. Submerge the apples in a bowl of water, add a few drops of lemon juice, and they will stay fresh for longer.
We usually choose romaine lettuce for simplicity, but for this one, we picked iceberg. It gives a juicy, crunchy bite that embodies everything about this salad. You can use both if desired.
How to Preserve Apple Salad
After making, the salad can be eaten right away, or chilled in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should not be left in the open air for more than 2 hours.
To store leftovers, cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a maximum of 5 days. The FDA does not recommend freezing egg-related products, plus the vegetables lose their freshness when thawed.
To have fresh salad whenever you want, prep the salad ingredients, place them in a bowl without dressings, and refrigerate. When you want to have salad, simply make the dressing and toss with the salad — all done in only a few minutes.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
This apple salad is a refreshing and nutritious side dish that's perfect for any meal.