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Arugula Apple Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

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Our Arugula apple salad is a delicious mix of sweet apple, peppery arugula, fresh red onions and, candied walnuts or pecans. Topped with a sweet and tangy vinaigrette, this simple arugula salad is the perfect “anytime” salad recipe that is a breeze to pull together!

Overhead view of a serving of arugula apple salad and a dinner fork.

Arugula and Apple Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

This salad has all the flavors of fall: apples, candied pecans (or walnuts), creamy goat cheese, and a honey lemon vinaigrette.

It works as a delicious main dish topped with your favorite protein like shrimp or chicken, or as a fresh side salad for any main course.

Crisp apples, nutty arugula and creamy goat cheese make an ideal combination. However, you can change things up by swapping out the cheese or adding cranberries, avocado, or roasted beets.

We have used Parmesan cheese, Feta cheese, and smoked Gouda, but just about any cheese works.
Top this easy salad with a sweet lemon mustard vinaigrette for the finishing touch that complements this delicious medley of fresh flavors.

Why You’ll Love This Salad

Basic ingredients shine in this simple garden medley, but it is a nutritional power house. It’s not only a delicious salad you can enjoy any time of year, but it also makes the perfect side for a special occasion!

Pair it with our Pan-seared Blackened Halibut for a light and summery elevated dinner or serve it with our Traeger Smoked Turkey and Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole as a great addition to your holiday dinner. It would also make a beautiful salad to go alongside this creamy Sweet Potato Sage Soup

We love the vibrant colors and flavors- it’s the perfect blend if you’re looking for light fall recipes or a healthy side during the holiday season. 

Here’s why this recipe works:

  • Fresh flavors, healthy fats and crisp vegetables create a light and tasty combination. 
  • Sweet apples and spicy greens are a delicious contrast in flavors. 
  • This simple apple and arugula goat cheese salad is easy to make and is sure to impress!
Overhead view of arugula apple salad with walnuts and red onion slices, ready to be tossed.

Ingredients for Arugula Salad with Apples

Basic salad ingredients is what this recipe is all about. From the medley of fresh fruit and vegetables to the simple vinaigrette, this is an all-around a no-fuss recipe. 

Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Lemon mustard vinaigrette. An easy mix of freshly squeezed lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic and olive oil. This simple dressing combination is delicious on salad greens and the touch of honey adds just the right amount of sweetness!
  • Fresh apples. Cored and cut into thin slices. You can use tart apples like Granny Smith or a sweeter variety like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Arugula. The light nutty and peppery bite of arugula is a yummy contrast to the crisp, sweet apples and creamy goat cheese. 
  • Red onion. You’ll only need a portion or you can use a shallot to give the salad that extra savory flavor. 
  • Candied walnuts or pecans. The sweet, buttery flavor and crunchiness of our Brown Sugar Candied Walnuts or candied pecans is so good in this salad! Store-bought candied pecans is a good option if you’re looking to save some time. 
  • Soft goat cheese log. Also known as chevre, the bright and tangy flavor and creamy texture is the perfect finishing touch.

Ingredients to make the arugula apple salad recipe.

The Salad Recipe with Arugula and Apple

Here’s a look at how to make this apple salad with arugula, but be sure to check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page for all of the details and ingredient amounts. 

  1. In a small bowl or jar (preferably a mason jar), add the vinaigrette ingredients. Cover it with a lid and shake to combine (or whisk well if using a bowl). Set aside until ready to use. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl or salad bowl, add the greens, apple (cored and sliced thin), onions and half of the candied pecans or walnuts. 
  3. Drizzle a 1/4 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss well. Divide the salad among four chilled salad plates and top each serving with goat cheese crumbles and the rest of the candied pecans. 
  4. Top with extra dressing, if desired. You’ll likely end up with leftover dressing that you can save for later use!
Large cutting board with halved and cored apples. Melon ball tool along side of the apples with rounds of core from the apples. A lemon rind to the left of the cutting board.

Recipe Tips for the Salad

  • This recipe will make enough apple salad for four side salad portions. Alternatively, you can divide it in two and top it with your favorite protein if you’re looking to enjoy a main course salad. If you anticipate having any leftovers, skip tossing the salad in the dressing and instead, serve it on the side to prevent the salad leftovers from getting soggy. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. 
  • If you don’t have honey, agave or maple syrup is a good substitute. 
  • Store any leftover dressing in a covered container, refrigerated for 7-10 days. 
  • Feel free to switch up the vinaigrette. Balsamic or apple cider vinaigrette would taste great as well as our blue cheese dressing.
Overhead view of a bowl of arugula apple salad with walnuts.

Making the Salad in Advance

  • If you make this salad in advance, don’t add the candied pecans. The moisture from the salad and the refrigerator will make them soft. Instead, add them when you serve the salad so the nuts stay crunchy. 
  • Keep both the salad and the dressing refrigerated separately, then finish assembling them when it’s time to serve. 
  • You can make the vinaigrette and candied nuts several days ahead of time.
Salad bowl with arugula apple salad and a vinaigrette dressing being poured on.

Serving Suggestions

In search of some ideas for what to serve with a green salad loaded with crisp apples? Here’s a list of tasty recipe inspiration!

⭐️ Helpful Tools

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More Salads You Will Love:

Arugula Burrata Salad is the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Salty prosciutto, creamy burrata cheese and juicy peaches combine with fresh mint for a fantastic medley of flavors and textures!

Our Hot German Potato Salad is so good and makes a delicious side dish for any meal! Crispy bacon, tender potatoes and a tangy dressing are dreamy in this hot potato salad. It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks and special occasions and is sure to disappear fast!

Roasted Beet and Squash Salad is earthy and refreshing. Roasted beets, grapefruit, creamy blue cheese and chopped pistachios make a delicious and exciting combination that will wow dinner guests.

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Overhead view of arugula apple salad with walnuts and red onion slices, ready to be tossed.

Arugula Apple Salad

A simple salad made with crisp, sweet apples, peppery arugula, red onion rings, and candied walnuts or pecans. The sweet, tangy vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for this arugula apple salad.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 301kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


For the Honey Lemon Dressing

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • ½ cup olive oi

For the Salad:

  • 2 fresh apples cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 oz. arugula
  • 1/4 of medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup candied pecans or walnuts divided
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese log chevre


  • Add the dressing ingredients to a jar, cover with a lid and shake to combine.  Set aside until ready to use.  This dressing is more than enough for one large salad. 
  • In a large salad bowl, add the arugula, sliced apple, onion, and half of the candied pecans or walnuts. Drizzle ¼ cup of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. 
  • Divide among 4 chilled salad plates/dishes and top each serving with goat cheese crumbles and the remaining candied nuts.


  • If making this salad in advance do not add the candied nuts as the moisture in the salad and refrigerator will soften the crispness of the candied walnuts or pecans.
  • To make this salad in advance keep both the salad and the dressing refrigerated separately, then finish when ready to serve.
  • The remaining vinaigrette will keep in a covered container, refrigerated for 5-7 days.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 225mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating

John/Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 21st of October 2015

What a great combo of ingredients! I love salads that double as a main, as this is terrific. The dressing looks superb! Thanks so much.


Thursday 22nd of October 2015

Thanks for your comments, John. :)

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