Winter Apple Salad
This Winter Apple Salad features fresh apples and pomegranate arils, plus crunchy, sweet & salty candied pecans. And a bright lemon poppy seed dressing brings it altogether!
Apple Salad Recipe with Pecans
This Winter Apple Salad recipe, with Honeycrisp apple slices, sparkly pomegranate arils, and candied pecans, is the perfect fresh dish for the holidays. And it’s so easy, you’ll be making it all winter long!
I adore a fresh salad with bright bites to serve and enjoy with the heavier meals of the holidays. And this is my perfect answer, as this salad’s loaded with crisp, juicy apple slices (especially Honeycrisp apples from my parents’ tree, shown here!) and tart little pops of pomegranate.
For a little sweet & salty crunch, I include a sprinkling of candied pecans. They’re easy to make and ridiculously crunchy – do yourself a favor and make a double batch. Because you’re going to want to snack on these and gift them to all your favorite peeps!
To bring this salad altogether, I serve it with a bright lemon poppy seed dressing >>> my new favorite dressing that I canNOT live without!! It’s super lemony and lightly creamy, just plain perfect.
This easy fresh salad with apples and pecans is on our Christmas dinner menu. Will you be serving it, too?!
The Inspo Behind This Apple Pecan Salad
This salad is a riff on two different salads I’ve enjoyed from two different friends.
Audra, our next door neighbor, served a similar salad a few years ago when they invited us over for a Christmas meal. And Annmarie brought a similar salad to our Friendsgiving gathering this year.
I love that this salad is really so simple, and yet it hits all the notes.
There’s bright, tart wintery fruits with tender greens. Crunchy, sweet & salty nuts. A bit of red onion bite. A sprinkling of cheese. And a to-die-for lemon poppy seed dressing.
What You’ll Need
Here’s the ingredients list. You can find measurements in the recipe card below.
- Fresh greens: I most often use a spring greens mix, but baby spinach or butter lettuce (torn into bite-size pieces) are also nice.
- Honeycrisp apple: This is my apple variety preference for this salad, but you can use your own favorite. Just make sure that the apple is crisp and juicy and brightly flavored. Core it and slice it nice and thin – I like to use a mandoline for thin, even slices.
- Lemon juice: Toss the apple slices with fresh squeezed lemon juice so they don’t get brown.
- Pomegranate arils: I love the little pops of bright flavor and texture that these jeweled bits add!
- Red onion: This gives added crunch and a great flavor contrast. I like to slice it very thin – a mandoline works great.
- Swiss cheese: This adds a creamy, nutty component.
- Candied pecans: My easy candied pecans recipe comes in handy for this recipe!
- Black pepper: As with most salads I make, I like to add some freshly cracked black pepper over the top.
- Lemon poppy seed dressing: My lemon poppy seed dressing recipe is so delicious, I’m betting you’ll want to keep this on hand at all times!
How to Make This Salad with Apples
Once all the ingredients are prepped, it’s just a matter of combining.
- Toss apple with lemon. In a small bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice until slices are evenly coated. Drain away any excess juice.
- Layer the ingredients. Place half of the fresh greens in a large salad bowl. Layer half of the apple, onion, Swish cheese, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, and some black pepper over the top. Repeat with the remaining half of the ingredients.
- Serve with dressing. Serve with lemon poppy seed dressing on the side.
Alternatively, you can toss all the salad ingredients together. And then drizzle some dressing over the top, and toss again, adding more dressing as desired. While this is nice when you want to make it super simple on the table, it’s not so great if you want to save any leftovers – as the dressing will cause the salad to become soggy.
Tips & Variations
There are lots of options for changing up ingredients. Mix and match as you please!
- Greens – I prefer tender greens, such as a spring mix, baby spinach, or torn butter lettuce. But you could easily substitute torn Romaine for a sturdier salad base. Peppery arugula would also be nice. (I just wouldn’t recommend iceberg lettuce.)
- Apples – I prefer crisp, juicy Honeycrisp apples for this recipe. But if you have a favorite apple – then I’m sure that’ll taste great, too!
- Other fruits – Pears would lovely in this salad, as well. Instead of pomegranate arils, consider dried cranberries. Look for ones that are plump and brightly colored.
- Vary the cuts – For the apples (and pears), you could cut them into small cubes or thick slices, instead of thin slices.
- Other vegetables – Thinly sliced celery or fennel would be a nice addition.
- Nuts – I often substitute roasted, salted cashews or almonds. Or roasted, salted pecan halves.
- Cheese – I love the Monterey Jack cheese in this strawberry salad, so I will often sub in that. A mild cheddar can be nice. And feta or goat cheese are also good!
How to Serve This Salad
I most often like to serve this in a big bowl, with the salad ingredients layered, and dressing on the side. This way, individuals can add as little or as much dressing as they like.
You can also make this into a main entree salad. Simply top the dressed salad with some sliced grilled steak or chicken, or some salmon!
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- 8 to 10 cups spring greens mix - or use baby spinach or torn butter lettuce
- 1 medium/large Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- half of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 cup candied pecans
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- freshly cracked black pepper
- lemon poppy seed dressing
- In a small bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice until all slices are evenly coated. Drain away excess juice.
- Place half of the fresh greens in a large salad bowl. Layer half of the apple, onion, Swish cheese, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, and some black pepper over the top. Then top with the remaining fresh greens, followed by the remaining apple, onion, cheese, pecans, and pomegranate - finish with some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Serve with lemon poppy seed dressing on the side.
If desired, you can toss all the ingredients together in the bowl, rather than create 2 layers. You can also drizzle some dressing over the salad and toss to combine, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 162mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 8gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.