Apple Walnut Salad

5 from 40 votes

This Apple Walnut Salad is a flavor and ingredient loaded fall-inspired salad that's vegan, nutrient dense and vibrant - perfect as a meal or side salad!

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In just ten minutes, you can whip up this supremely delicious Apple Walnut Salad that is packed with flavor, texture, color, and nutrition. Whether you are a fan of salads for lunch or dinner, this vegan salad will keep you feeling full and satiated; enjoy it on its own as a main dish or side salad.

Walnut apple quinoa salad serve in a large bowl with utensils
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What I like the most about this apple and walnut salad is that it’s not just quick to make, but it also calls for ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Even the salad dressing is simple yet flavorful, featuring everyday items like olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of maple syrup. It’s an easy way to elevate your meal without having to go out and buy a bunch of new ingredients. So if you’re looking to try something new without the hassle, this Apple quinoa salad has got you covered!

Why you’ll love this walnut quinoa salad

  • A nutritious powerhouse. Aside from its delicious taste, this quinoa apple salad is loaded with beneficial nutrients. Apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C, walnuts provide essential omega-3 fatty acids, and quinoa offers a complete protein source. It’s not just about the flavor; it’s about feeling good about what you’re eating too.
  • Naturally vegan-friendly. This salad doesn’t rely on dairy or meat products to be yummy. It’s naturally vegan, which means it’s perfect for those following plant-based diets or anyone looking to incorporate more vegan meals into their routine.
  • Kid-friendly. Got picky eaters? No worries! This salad has got you covered. The sweet apples and the hint of maple syrup in the dressing make it a hit with the kiddos. It’s a smart way to sneak in some greens and healthy grains.
  • Zero waste. If you’ve got a couple of leftover apples and you’re not sure what to do with them, this salad is the answer. It’s a great way to make sure those delicious apples don’t go to waste.

Ingredients to make an apple walnut salad

  • Apples: Apples add a great crunch texture, and their sweetness works so well with the other ingredients – perfect for fall when apples are at their peak.
  • Quinoa: Packed with proteins (even more than some meat sources), quinoa is an excellent base for this salad that acts like a grain but actually makes the salad more filling!
  • Walnuts: These make the salad more appealing with their flavor and crunch, and actually have amazing antioxidant benefits. If you want a sweet addition you have to try making homemade candied walnuts!
  • Spinach: Spinach is an amazing source of iron and vitamins A, C and K.
  • Red onions: Red onions are milder that white or yellow and they work great in salads.
  • Cranberries: Dried cranberries add pops of flavor and they have a tangy sweetness that works so well in salads.
  • Dressing: Made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt and pepper
Ingredients to make to make the salad recipe

How to make apple walnut salad

  • Toast the quinoa seeds before adding water and cooking until soft.
  • Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
  • Place the salad ingredients in a bowl, pour over dressing and toss to combine.
Putting together the ingredients to make the salad

Tips for making the best apple walnut quinoa salad

  1. Wash the quinoa under running water before cooking it. If you don’t, it can taste bitter.
  2. Toast the quinoa before cooking it in water. This brings out the nuttiness to bring richness and flavor to the salad. Check out my tips for cooking quinoa.
  3. Cool the quinoa before adding to the salad ingredients. Otherwise, the heat from the quinoa will quickly wilt the spinach, thereby losing the salad’s freshness.
  4. Don’t add the apples if you are planning to make this salad a day or too ahead of time. Apples brown quickly so add them in before serving.

Popular substitutions & additions

  • Switch up the nuts. If walnuts aren’t your thing or you’re looking to experiment, try almonds or pecans. They’ll still give you that satisfying crunch and healthy fats, just with a different flavor twist.
  • Protein add-ins. If you’re looking to add a bit more protein to the mix, feel free to toss in some tofu cubes. They’ll blend right in and make the cranberry walnut salad even more filling.
  • Spice it up. While the dressing is already flavorful, you could add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to enhance the fall vibes. Just a touch can bring out the sweetness of the apples even more.
  • Oil alternatives. Olive oil’s great, but if you want to change it up, you can use avocado oil or even melted coconut oil for the dressing. It’ll give your Apple Walnut Salad a unique flavor kick.

How to store this Apple Walnut Salad

If you have any leftovers, simply transfer your Apple Walnut Salad into an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Just a heads-up, if you’ve already mixed the dressing in, the greens might get a little soggy over time. If you’re planning on storing it, it might be a good idea to keep the dressing separate and add in the apples before serving so that they don’t brown.

How long will this Apple Walnut Salad last in the fridge?

Your Apple Walnut Salad should stay good for about 2 to 3 days in the fridge. After that, the texture of some ingredients might change, and it won’t taste as fresh. If you’ve kept the dressing and apples separate, you might be able to stretch it to 4 days.

What to serve with your apple and walnut salad

This salad is hearty enough to be served as a main, and it’s also great for a side dish. Try it with:
Grilled Mahi Mahi
Oven Baked Chicken Breast
Air Fryer Salmon
Homemade Hamburgers

Frequently asked questions

What apple varieties work best for this salad?

While the choice of apple is totally up to your personal preference, crisp apples like Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Gala hold up well in salads and have a nice balance of sweetness and tartness.

Do I need to peel the apples?

You don’t have to. The peel adds color, fiber, and extra nutrients. But if you or someone in your family isn’t a fan of apple skin, feel free to peel them.

What can you use in place of quinoa?

If you don’t have quinoa, you can easily make this recipe with other grains such as wild rice, barley or cous cous.

Can I add cheese to this salad?

Sure! Some crumbled feta or goat cheese would add a creamy texture and tangy flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the apples. Just note that adding cheese will make the dish vegetarian instead of vegan.

Walnut apple quinoa salad in a large bowl with serving utensils

This Apple Walnut Salad is so good! Bursting with the natural sweetness of apples and the crunch of walnuts, it’s not only delicious but packed with nutrition too. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant side dish or a main that’s both hearty and healthy, this recipe is sure to be a regular on your dining table.

For more quinoa recipes, check out:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Apple Quinoa Salad recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

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Apple Walnut Salad

This Apple Walnut Salad is a flavor and ingredient loaded fall-inspired salad that's vegan, nutrient dense and vibrant – perfect as a meal or side salad!
5 from 40 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Calories 492
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
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  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach roughly chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups diced apples
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion finely chopped



  • Place the quinoa in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Toast until the seeds start to pop and become aromatic. Add 2 cups of water to the quinoa and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer the quinoa for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
  • When the quinoa is cool, place it in a bowl and add all the ingredients for the salad on top. Pour the dressing on top and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 2-3 days in the fridge. Don’t add in the apple until serving or it will start to brown.


Calories: 492kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 342mg, Potassium: 528mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1432IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 75mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Salad

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Recipe Rating


  1. sheery says:

    it’s amazing, I never tried apples in salads and I was not sure to mix apples and onion, but it turned out amazing
    thank you for the recipe

    1. Yumna J. says:

      I’m so glad you decided to give it a try and that it turned out good!

  2. Navdeep Mann says:


    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you so much!

  3. Niloofar says:

    I tried this recipe and it was delicious! Thanks Yumna!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear it! Thank you!!

  4. Sara says:

    This salad was sooo good. It was also my first time ever really cooking/trying quinoa and I really enjoyed it here! Loved the sweetness and crunch of the apple alongside the tangy vinaigrette, nuts and fresh spinach. Fall is full of hearty veg and meals, so it’s great to get those flavors and vibes in a light and refreshing salad! Thanks Yumna!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad you liked it! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  5. Joanna says:

    I made this today and it turned out great! Your notes on toasting the quinoa really made a difference!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear it! Thank you so much for sharing your feedback 🙂

  6. Amber says:

    My mom and I made this for lunch today when she visited and it was so delicious! My only complaint was that we didnt want to wait for the quinoa to cool
    Off 😂- so we put it in there warmish! I Will definitely make this quick, easy, healthy salad a regular.. I just might need to make it before I’m too hungry to wait to cook the quinoa! Thanks so much!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      LOL I totally know what you mean! It works out well when you have leftover quinoa to use in the recipe!

  7. Olga Perez says:

    My mom LOVED it!!! For me, I would put less apple cider vinegar because my tastebuds are not ready yet but it was so good!!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yay, so glad she loved it! And I agree, you can definitely tone that down a bit or try a milder vinegar like red wine vinegar next time. Thank you!

  8. Alfred Thomas says:

    That’s so easy to make. I’ll have it on my Sunday lunch menu as an appetizer/salad. I’ll have to go through your other recipes to choose a main course and, of course, desert! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thanks so much! Hope you like it when you try it! And let me know what dessert you end up making 😉