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Apple Cranberry and Goat Cheese Salad

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This apple, cranberry and goat cheese salad, topped with candied nuts and a creamy maple mustard dressing, is simple and delicious. The combination of tart apples and cranberries, combined with the creamy goat cheese and maple mustard dressing is a definite winner.

An overhead view of cranberry apple and goat cheese salad.  Two forks are on the right of the bowl sitting on a blue linen.

I’ve been making a variation of this salad for about 10 years. I honestly can’t remember where I saw the original recipe, but I do know that it was a hit from the first time I made it. Of course, I’ve tweaked it here and there over the years, like I tend to do with all my recipes, but it continues to be a favourite.

This salad is really easy to make, even though it sounds like it has a lot of different ingredients. It is also easy to customize based on what you have in the fridge.

While this salad contains a lot of autumn and winter type ingredients, I can assure you it is delicious no matter the season. In fact, it is one of my favourites even in the summer.

This salad is great as a side dish, but I’ve also been known to eat it as my main meal. It goes especially well with chicken, such as this instant pot rotisserie style chicken. It also goes really well with pork dishes like these grilled pork chops with sweet bbq pork rub.

Close up of apple cranberry and goat cheese salad in a white bowl with candied nuts and salad greens.

What type of greens are best for this salad?

Honestly, any type of greens are great in this salad. Often I will use whatever is in season.

Some greens you may want to try:

  • Spring mix
  • Spinach
  • Romain lettuce
  • Kale

You can even try a combination of greens. Use whatever you like, or what your family will eat. I’ve used all of the greens listed above and it turns out great every time.

A bowl of salad greens in a white bowl.

What type of apples are best for this salad?

I love crunchy, tart apples. My favourite for this salad are Granny Smith, but you can use any type you like. Other apples that are great in this salad are:

  • Royal Gala
  • Fuji
  • Macintosh
  • Honeycrisp
A green apple is diced on a cutting board.  A bowl of crumbled goat cheese in sits on the board.

What type of goat cheese is best for this salad?

For this apple, cranberry and goat cheese salad I like using soft, unripened goat cheese. It is super creamy and pairs well with the crispiness of the apples and candied nuts.

You can use plain goat cheese, but I love using the goat cheese that is rolled in cinnamon and cranberries. You can find this at most grocery stores near the deli counter.

What could I substitute for goat cheese?

If you don’t like goat cheese, you could try substituting with another soft cheese like feta or queso fresco.

Cranberry goat cheese crumbled on a cutting board.  Two green apples sit on the cutting board, a bowl of candied nuts and dried cranberries in the background.

Where can I get candied nuts?

You should be able to find candied nuts in most grocery stores. They are commonly found with the nuts or snacks, or in the bulk aisle.

However, I always make my own using this incredibly easy recipe for slow cooker maple glazed nuts. It makes a large batch and if they are kept in an airtight container, they keep a long time.

Close up of apple cranberry and goat cheese salad with candied nuts and salad greens.

How to make creamy maple mustard dressing.

The dressing for this salad is so good and so easy to make that I’m sure you will be making it often. It pairs well with any green salad and the fact that it is made with greek yogurt, without any additional oils or fats, makes it a healthy alternative to most other creamy dressings.

  • Place the yogurt in a small bowl
  • Whisk in the mustard and maple syrup
  • Whisk in the Apple cider vinegar until dressing is smooth
  • Pour into a jar and refrigerate until time to use

Feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your tastes. If you like your dressing a bit sweeter, you can add more maple syrup. If you want a stronger mustard flavour, go ahead and add a bit more.

Creamy maple mustard dressing being poured onto salad.

How to make apple, cranberry and goat cheese salad.

Making the salad is easy.

  • Place the greens in a large bowl
  • Top with apple, cranberries, goat cheese and candied nuts
  • Just before serving, add the dressing. Or leave the dressing on the side to be added as desired.

Don’t worry about adding too many toppings. Use the recipe as a guideline only. You can add as much apple, cranberries, goat cheese and nuts as you like.

Things to know & helpful tips

  • How long will the creamy maple mustard dressing keep? If kept in a sealed jar or container, the dressing should keep for about 5 days in the fridge.
  • Could I use different fruit in this salad? Yes you can. I’ve used pears and blueberries in this salad instead of apples and cranberries and it is delicious. Feel free to experiment based on what’s in season.
  • We are allergic to nuts, can we substitute something else? While the candied nuts make this salad really special, you could leave them off or substitute with roasted pumpkin seeds or roasted chickpeas.
  • Will the apples turn brown? Depending how long you wait to serve the salad after cutting the apples, they may turn brown. To prevent this, you can toss the cut apples in a couple teaspoons of lemon juice before adding to the salad.

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Apple Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad

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Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 211kcal
Author: Deanna

Ingredients

  • 8 Cups Mixed Greens
  • 1 Large Apple diced
  • 1/2 Cup Soft goat cheese Crumbled
  • 1/2 Cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup Candied nuts

Creamy maple mustard dressing

  • 1 Cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Place the greens into a large bowl
  • Top with diced apple, crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries and candied nuts
  • Drizzle dressing on the salad just before serving

Creamy maple mustard dressing

  • Place the yogurt in a small bowl
  • Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth
  • Transfer to a jar or other air tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 821IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 1mg
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