This apple arugula salad is tart, crunchy, sweet and nutty. It’s layered with pickled golden raisins, velvety bloomy rind goat cheese, tart apples and a nutty walnut dressing. Delicious for fall!
This apple arugula salad is one of my favorite fall salads. Tart, crunchy green apples and pickled raisins are a fresh contrast to the bitter baby arugula. The walnut vinaigrette adds layers of nutty sweetness and flavor.
But the best part of the whole salad? The soft-ripened goat cheese. It’s adds creamy, oozy texture and mellow flavor are the perfect way to finish this apple arugula salad. If you can’t get your hands on a soft-ripened goat cheese, you can use fresh goat cheese instead. You’ll miss the gooey layer and extra flavor from the bloomy rind, but the crunchy apples and pickled raisins will be there to console you.
what you need to make this apple arugula salad:
- Baby arugula
- Granny Smith apples
- Golden raisins
- Soft ripened goat cheese
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sherry vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Walnut oil
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
why this is the best apple arugula salad:
Soft-ripened goat cheese: this goat cheese adds a ton of textures (gooey, creamy, crumbly) and complex bloomy rind flavors. You could use blue cheese for more intense flavor, or fresh goat cheese for a creamy texture. But try to search out a bloomy rind goat cheese. The dense, velvety texture is just so good with the apples and arugula.
Granny Smith apples: the tart flavor and crunchy texture are key qualities to this apple arugula salad. The crisp acid balances out the arugula, and provides a delicious contrast to the soft-ripened goat cheese. You could use other high acid apples, such as Pink Lady, but don’t go sweet!
Baby arugula: arugula can be very assertive and, at times, quite bitter. I really prefer the softer flavor from baby arugula. It brings plenty of peppery, grassy flavor without dominating the salad with bitterness. The leaves are also tender and great for salads.
Pickled raisins: these sweet-tart morsels add a fun pop to this apple arugula salad. They’re quick to make and they add so much interest to salads. Don’t skip them!
Walnut vinaigrette: this walnut dressing packs in a bunch of flavor without being fussy to make. Nutty walnut oil, two vinegars, maple syrup, and a touch of dijon mustard combine into a delicious fall salad dressing. The mellow sweetness and nutty complexity are a great way balance out the spicy arugula.
how to make this apple arugula salad:
- Toast the walnuts: Five minutes in the oven at 350°F.
- Pickle the golden raisins: Heat raisins and vinegar together, let cool.
- Make the walnut vinaigrette: An immersion blender is my favorite method!
- Build the salad: Toss arugula with some dressing. Top with apple slices, pickled raisins, walnuts and goat cheese. Drizzle with extra dressing and serve.
what to serve with this apple arugula salad:
This apple arugula goat cheese salad is filled with flavor and texture, so I prefer to keep the main dish relatively simple. Grilled steak or smoked lamb chops are a wonderful option for a casual dinner.
For fancy entertaining or holiday dinners, I love to serve this apple arugula salad with this porcini crusted roasted beef tenderloin and rutabaga mash. Or, for a seafood twist, with these roast lobster tails and a cheese soufflé.
The big challenge with pairing wines and salads is the acid. You need to find a wine with more acid than the salad, or the wine will fall flat. That’s extra tricky here, since we’re using very tart green apples. So high acid white wines are the best bet– and preferably those with minimal oak influence (there is plenty of nuttiness from the walnut vinaigrette). Here are some fresh, high acid white wines to try!
- Hunter Valley Semillon: crisp, pure, brimming with green apple and tart lime
- Austrian Grüner Veltliner: zesty, white pepper and green fruit
- Rias Baixas Albariño: light and fragrant, with citrus zest and stone fruit aromas
- Sancerre: citrusy, grassy and crisp
- any Prosecco DOCG: fresh, floral complexity, soft mousse
apple arugula salad with pickled raisins and walnut vinaigrette
This apple arugula salad is tart, crunchy, sweet and nutty. It’s layered with pickled golden raisins, velvety bloomy rind goat cheese, tart apples and a flavorful walnut dressing. Delicious for fall!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1/3 cup walnut halves
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 5 oz baby arugula
- 2 tart apples, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
- 4 oz soft-ripened goat cheese, sliced into rounds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and toasted, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
In a small saucepan, bring apple cider vinegar and raisins to a simmer then remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes. Transfer 2 tbsp vinegar brine to a glass jar. Add sherry vinegar, dijon, maple syrup, walnut oil, olive oil, salt and black pepper and blend with an immersion blender until thick and emulsified. Alternatively, whisk together by hand. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
Place arugula in a large bowl, toss with a few tablespoons of dressing. Top with sliced apples, pickled raisins, toasted walnuts and goat cheese. Drizzle with more dressing and serve.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 406
- Sugar: 18g
- Sodium: 180mg
- Fat: 32g
- Saturated Fat: 7.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 24g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 25g
- Fiber: 3.8g
- Protein: 8.1g
- Cholesterol: 13mg
Keywords: apple arugula salad