Moreover, this gorgeous fall + winter salad with tangy homemade vinaigrette is vegan, gluten-free, protein & fiber-packed, and bursts with a complex sweet-tart flavor! You can enjoy it all seasons as a light yet balanced meal that's low in calories, nutritious, weight loss-friendly, and incredibly yummy.
Green salads can be such a rich and comforting treat!
Are you on the hunt for an impressive yet simple side dish that will perfectly complete your Thanksgiving menu? Need a quick plant-based salad idea for the next dinner party?
Look no further! This colorful cranberry apple walnut salad is a brilliant way to enjoy fresh produce God blesses us with all year round. The crispy sweet apples, crunchy walnuts, nutty buckwheat groats, and superfood greens paired with a zingy cinnamon-lemon-maple dressing combine the best flavors and textures of autumn in one vibrant dish.
You'll need a few pantry staples to prepare this easy recipe for apple walnut salad:
- Apples (your favorite)
- Mixed greens (I used spinach and arugula)
- Buckwheat (cooked)
- Dried cranberries + dried figs
- Apple and walnut salad dressing (fresh lemon juice + pure maple syrup + extra virgin olive oil + ground cinnamon + pinch of salt)
As always, you can find the full recipe with a list of ingredients with measurements in a printable recipe card at the end of this post.
How To Make Simple Apple Walnut Salad?
Cooking buckwheat is super easy. First, place buckwheat groats in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse it well and drain. Place ½ cup buckwheat groats with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Let it boil then reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until groats are tender and had absorbed the water. Fluff them with a wooden spoon and let them cool before using them in the salad.
Next, make the cinnamon apple and walnut dressing. In a small container whisk together lemon juice, pure maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
Finally, combine baby spinach, arugula, cooked buckwheat, sliced apples, roughly chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and chopped dried figs in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the salad with the homemade maple-cinnamon vinaigrette and give it a gentle toss. Taste and adjust maple, lemon juice, salt, or cinnamon as desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Missing an ingredient? Don't worry. This vegan apple salad recipe is super versatile and customizable.
- Buckwheat - instead of buckwheat you can use cooked quinoa, barley, wheat, or couscous
- Walnuts - swap walnuts with chopped pecans, roasted cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts. For a nut-free version, you can use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds.
- Mixed greens - use fresh greens you have at hand. Swap baby spinach and arugula with thinly chopped kale, swiss chard, tender lettuce leaves, or chopped broccoli.
- Dried cranberries and figs - substitute with dried cherries, raisins, or chopped dates.
- Maple syrup - you can use agave nectar or date syrup instead of maple.
Although this healthy apple salad tastes best the day it is made you can store any leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- You can cook buckwheat in advance so you can have it on hand whenever you decide to make this apple walnut fruit salad recipe. Cooked buckwheat keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Thus, it will be cooled and ready to eat right away.
- How do you keep apples from turning brown in apple salad? Squeeze extra lemon juice over apple slices before mixing them into the salad to prevent them from turning brown. Keep in mind that lemon juice may add an enhanced tart flavor to your salad. That's why it's best to use sweet or sweet-tart apple variety. Alternatively, you can use less lemon juice in the dressing.
For fresh salads, you want a sweet or tart apple that is crispy, juicy and doesn't brown too quickly. We love using Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Golden Delicious, or Granny Smith.
One serving (about 2 cups) contains only 264 calories.
Apples turn brown due to enzymatic browning. When apples are cut and exposed to oxygen they tend to change color. Even though this process doesn't affect the taste of the fruit it definitely makes it look less appetizing. You can squeeze fresh lemon juice over apple slices to slow the oxidation process.
Absolutely! This apple walnut salad can be made ahead of time.
- Cook buckwheat in advance, let it cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Wash greens, drain, or dry them in a salad spinner and gently dry them with a paper towel. Store them in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- Make salad dressing and store it in a jar.
- Slice apples just before assembling the salad to keep them from turning brown.
- Just mix everything together before serving and enjoy.
More Easy Healthy Salad Ideas
More Vegan Apple Recipes
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