Honeycrisp apple salad is a refreshingly sweet and crunchy take on a traditional green salad, prepared with thinly sliced fresh apples and candied walnuts tossed with mildly spicy greens. Complete with a sweet, spiced cider vinaigrette, this scrumptious salad is my personal “apple season” favorite!
Honeycrisp Apple Salad, a Terrific Reason to Go Apple Picking!
When the late summer/early fall rolls around each year, my hubby and I try to get out to some of our favorite local “U-Pick” apple orchards to pick some fresh, sweet apples to turn into tasty seasonal apple-infused recipes.
Nothing tastes and smells quite like freshly-picked apples. We love 'em straight out of the fridge, or in apple fritters, pancakes, apple pie, or apple cake.
And if you've never tried a Honeycrisp apple, their texture is light and crisp, with a thin skin and very juicy flesh that's equal parts tart and sweet, making them perfect for a fresh apple salad.
Apple Salad Made Easy with a Few Delicious Ingredients
My fresh Honeycrisp apple salad recipe has just a few basic components: the greens, the apples, some nuts, and a tasty homemade dressing.
Each of these bring a little something special to this salad party, and create that mouthwatering flavor and texture.
I like to use arugula and frisee for my “greens”, and I use these because they have a slightly peppery flavor, with a hint of mild bitterness. They're also really pretty greens, and allow the thinly sliced apples to nestle into their nooks and crannies.
Of course, Honeycrisp apples are my preferred variety to use for this salad because of their strong apple flavor and their perfectly balanced sweetness and tartness. They're also very light and crisp rather than too hard or too mealy. A couple of apples go a long way here!
I like to add in candied walnuts (I simply use good quality store-bought nuts to save on time). They offer some additional texture and warm, nutty sweetness under tooth. Walnuts and apples are a delicious, natural pairing, and compliment each other really well in this salad.
As for my homemade spiced cider vinaigrette, I use a little apple cider vinegar to keep with the apple theme, and sprinkle in some warm spices such as cinnamon, black pepper, cumin and curry powder to add savory-sweet, warm notes—so delicious to dress the apples and greens in!
Here's a quick look at the prep for my Honeycrisp apple salad: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To prepare my dressing, I use my food processor to whirl up the tasty ingredients and set that aside until I'm ready to toss the salad. (This can be made ahead of time for convenience, and kept in the fridge.)
- When ready to prepare and serve my apple salad, I add my greens to a large bowl, add in the walnuts and about half of my matchstick-cut apple slices, and toss with some of the dressing.
- I turn the salad out onto a serving platter or onto individual plates, then top with the rest of the apple slices, some additional candied walnuts (if desired), and a little extra drizzle of the spiced cider dressing, and serve!
Honeycrisp Apple Salad
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 354 calories (with 2 tablespoons of dressing)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Apple Salad Ingredients:
• 2 heads frisee, chopped into bite-size pieces
• 4 cups wild arugula
• 1 cup candied walnuts
• 2 large Honeycrisp apples (unpeeled), sliced into thin matchsticks
Spiced Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons walnuts, lightly chopped (you can use candied or plain)
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch salt
• Pinch cumin
• Pinch curry powder
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- To prepare the dressing: add all of the dressing ingredients up to and including the curry powder into the bowl of a food processor, and process until everything is well combined and smooth; with the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil and continue to process until the vinaigrette is well emulsified and blended. (This makes about 1 cup of dressing, so you may have additional dressing left over which you can store in the fridge.)
- To prepare the apple salad: to a large bowl add the frisee, arugula, walnuts and about half of the matchstick-sliced apples, and drizzle lightly with some of the spiced cider vinaigrette; add equal portions of the salad to bowls or plates (or onto a large serving platter) and then top each salad with equal portions of the remaining matchstick-sliced apples and another generous drizzle of the vinaigrette.
- Serve as is, or garnish with a few additional candied walnuts.
Tips & Tidbits for my Honeycrisp Apple Salad:
- Honeycrisp apples for the most flavor: You can certainly use Gala, Fuji, or your favorite varietal of apple for this recipe, but the Honeycrisp apples truly offer some deliciously juicy, sweet flavor and texture with a thin skin. They are a bit on the pricier side, but the recipe only calls for two apples, and you can definitely taste the difference.
- Spicy, mildly bitter greens for balance: For a bit of balance to the sweetness in this apple salad, I opt for arugula and a couple of small heads of frisee, the sort of “wild” looking type of green. This keeps the salad nice and light yet super flavorful, and makes for a slightly fun and gourmet presentation. You could substitute some spinach or add some finely chopped kale if you prefer, or use your favorite greens.
- Prep the dressing ahead of time: You can add all of the spiced cider dressing ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and quickly whip up your homemade dressing a couple of days ahead of time, then keep it in a mason jar or other container in the fridge. Take it out about a half hour before you plan on using it, to allow it come to room temp.
- Aw, nuts: I love candied walnuts here for added crunch, but you can use candied pecans as well, or even use plain, roasted walnuts, cashews, pecans, or your favorite nut.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2012, and has been updated with even more love!