Crunchy celery, sweet apples, and toasted walnuts are tossed with mayonnaise and tossed with warming flavors like radish, cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg for a fun twist on Waldorf salad. If you are looking for a yummy side to accompany your holiday meal, look no further than this yummy Apple Salad recipe!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
I, for one, am a huge fan of just about any type of apples. They’re beautiful to look at, crisp to bite into and a perfect balance of sweet and tart. They are nature’s treat!
There are so many types of apples out there, so feel free to experiment.
I also like to add radish to my apple salad recipe. Their peppery flavor and crunchy texture are a natural pair for apples! If you are not a fan of radishes, feel free to omit them.
The creamy dressing for this apple salad recipe is mayonnaise based. You can use your favorite store bought brand of mayonnaise, or make my Vegan Eggless Mayonnaise Recipe.
Finally, I add some toasted walnuts for extra flavor and crunch. You can easily substitute your favorite nut to customize the salad to your preferences – almonds, cashews or pecans would all be lovely.
Feel free to customize even further with more add-ins like dried berries, vegan marshmallows, halved grapes or banana slices.
Perhaps the best thing about my apple salad recipe is that it can easily be scaled up or down depending on the size of the crowd you are trying to feed.
This apple salad with walnuts can also be made ahead of time, keeping well in either the refrigerator or freezer. It is the absolute perfect side dish to serve at any gathering.
How to Make Apple Salad
1. Place 2 to 2.25 cups peeled and chopped apples in a mixing bowl. (That’s roughly 2 large; 3 medium; or 4 small apples, or just about 320 grams/11.3 ounces of apples.) Add 2 tablespoons grated radish if using.
2. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and mix very well. The citric acid will prevent the apples from browning as you assemble the salad later.
TIP: If you have citric acid on hand from canning, you can dissolve a teaspoon in a cup of water and do a quick 5 to 10 minute soak instead of using the lemon.
3. Add 5 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts and 2 tablespoons chopped celery. I prefer my celery and nuts to be chopped quite fine so there’s a little bit in every bite. If you prefer more variety per bite, leave them in slightly larger bits.
TIP: For more flavorful walnuts, you can quickly toast them before chopping. Either bake them in an oven preheated to 175 Celsius for about 10 minutes, or in a dry sauté pan on the stovetop.
Just be careful to keep your eyes and nose sharp; the nuts can go from beautifully toasted to rather burnt in a flash. When you start smelling the aroma of the nuts more intensely, they should be ready!
4. Add ¼ cup mayo (your favorite brand, homemade recipe, vegan or egg free). Season with 2 pinches ground cinnamon, 2 pinches grated nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper.
5. Mix very well. You’re ready to enjoy a delicious, creamy, crunchy apple salad with walnuts!
6. Serve apple salad garnished with some chopped celery and chopped walnuts.
How else can I customize the salad?
- Mayo: First up, feel free to use any kind of mayonnaise that you prefer. Perhaps you have a store bought version on hand, or you prefer to make your own eggless or vegan mayonnaise. Feel free to use any mayo you like! Not a fan of mayo? Try Greek Yogurt (or vegan Greek-style yogurt) instead.
- Nuts: Next, feel free to swap nuts or remove them entirely. Good substitutions include pecans, almonds, cashews, or pistachios.
- Nut-free: Prefer to have a nut free salad? Opt for dried fruit or sunflower seeds instead!
- More variations: You can also feel free to make your apple salad a little sweeter by adding mini vegan marshmallows or banana slice or berries (fresh or frozen).
Should I peel the apples before using them?
Apples are a part of the so called “Dirty Dozen,” which are considered to be the fruits and vegetables most affected by pesticides. If that weren’t bad enough, many conventionally farmed apples have a wax coating on their skins that makes it difficult to effectively wash them.
For this reason, I suggest that you opt to peel them, after washing them of course! It is also better if you use apples from your own orchard or buy organic.
To wash your apples, let them soak them for 15 to 20 minutes in water with some vinegar and baking soda added in it.
Expert Tips + FAQs
For this take on Apple Salad, you can feel free to use any variety of apples. I personally prefer a crisp, sweet variety like Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady or Gala. I also feel that very tart varieties – like Granny Smith – or more mealy varieties – like Red Delicious – are better suited for baking than eating raw, but that’s just my opinion.
The whole purpose of lemon juice in this recipe is to prevent the apples from oxidizing. If you do not have lemons on hand, you can do a quick soak in either citric acid water (1 teaspoon per cup) or even salt water for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you do not have access to any of these options, try not to cut the apples much ahead of serving them. In a pinch, even tossing them into plain, cold water will keep them from oxidizing while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Apple salad is best when it is enjoyed right away. That said, you can refrigerate this salad for up to three days or freeze it for up to a month.
Of course! If you don’t like something or it doesn’t work for your diet, feel free to omit it. There are some good customization options I have listed above.
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Apple Salad Recipe
- 2 to 2.25 cups chopped apples or 320 grams (2 large, 3 medium or 4 small)
- 2 tablespoons chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons grated radish – optional
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or add as required
- ¼ cup Veg Mayonnaise – vegan or eggless
- 2 pinches ground cinnamon
- 2 pinches grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 5 tablespoons chopped walnuts (lightly toasted) or 8 to 9 walnuts
- salt as per taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts or 1 to 2 walnuts
- Place the peeled and chopped apples in a mixing bowl. Add grated radish, if using.
- Add lemon juice and mix very well.
- Add chopped walnuts and chopped celery.
- Add the mayonnaise. Season with ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and crushed black pepper.
- Mix very well. You're ready to enjoy!
- Serve apple salad garnished with some chopped celery and chopped walnuts.
- Chopping celery & walnuts: I prefer my celery and walnuts to be chopped quite fine so there’s a little bit in every bite. If you prefer more variety per bite, leave them in slightly larger bits.
- Toasting walnuts: For more flavorful walnuts, you can quickly toast them before chopping. Either bake them in an oven preheated to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 10 minutes, or in a dry sauté pan on the stovetop. Just be careful to keep your eyes and nose sharp; the nuts can go from beautifully toasted to rather burnt in a flash. When you start smelling the aroma of the nuts more intensely, they should be ready!
- Scaling & Storage: Apple salad is best when it is enjoyed right away. That said, you can refrigerate this salad for up to three days or freeze it for up to a month. You can easily double or triple or quadruple the recipe to make a big batch.
- Skipping celery or radish or walnuts : If you don’t like some ingredient or if it doesn’t work for you, feel free to omit it. I have listed above some good customization options in the post.
- Apples turning brown: Lemon juice is added in this recipe to prevent the apples from oxidizing. If you do not have lemons or lemon juice, you can do a quick soak in either citric acid water (1 teaspoon per cup) or even salt water for 5 to 10 minutes. If you do not have citric acid, try not to cut the apples much ahead of serving them. Even tossing them into plain, cold water will keep them from oxidizing while you make the rest of the salad.