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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.
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
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.
Tips for making the best apple walnut quinoa salad
- Wash the quinoa under running water before cooking it. If you don’t, it can taste bitter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
If you don’t have quinoa, you can easily make this recipe with other grains such as wild rice, barley or cous cous.
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.
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:
- Quinoa Avocado Salad
- Chicken and Quinoa Bowl
- Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- Quinoa Burger
- Quinoa Breadsticks
- Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini
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!
Apple Walnut Salad
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.