Spiralized Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing

4.87 from 51 votes
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A healthy spiralized apple salad made in only 15 minutes! A refreshing salad topped with oranges, pecans, cheddar cheese, cranberries, sunflower and chia seeds.

For more flavorful dishes, check out my recipes for zucchini noodles, kale salad, and vegetable salad.

Bowl of spiralized apple salad with citrus dressing and chia seeds.

I never thought I would be digging a fork into a bowl of apple salad. They usually aren’t the star of the dish, but this time, I’m spotlighting one of my favorite fruits! The naturally sweet and savory combination of ingredients is the perfect pairing.

This spiralized apple salad recipe is packed with nutritious ingredients bursting with flavor and irresistible textures. The best part is it all comes together in 15 minutes so that you can nourish your body and get back to rocking your day.

“Great recipe! I love the addition of the white cheddar- it really makes it. The leftover dressing was great on a salad the next night!”—Charlotte

Recipe ingredients

Bowl of apple salad topped with walnuts and sliced oranges
  • Apples: I use two types of apples. Tart green Granny Smith and sweet, juicy Honeycrisp apples. They give a nice balance of color and flavors for the salad.
  • Dressing: The citrus dressing combines lemon juice, orange juice, citrus zest, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Simple!
  • Toppings: A mixture of sweet, savory, and crunchy ingredients: cheddar cheese, orange segments, pecans, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and chia seeds.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Make the dressing

Step 1: I use a tangy citrus vinaigrette to keep this spiralized salad light and bright. I added freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice, their zest, olive oil, and a touch of honey to create an easy dressing. Salt and pepper enhance the flavors. Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl to create a light emulsion.

Cut the apples with a spiralizer

Granny Smith apple being sent through a spiralizer.

Step 2: You’re missing out if you haven’t yet tried creating vegetable or fruit noodles with a spiralizer. When spiralizing apples, select larger symmetrical fruit with no bruises. I removed the apple’s stem before slicing it, then placed it into the spiralizer, with the bottom sliced first.

I used the spaghetti noodle shape setting to achieve thin strands for the salad. I find that sometimes you have to stop and remove some seeds. Be careful when clearing the seeds from the blade, and keep turning.

Assemble the salad

Top view of a spiralized apple salad with nuts, orange slices, and cubes of cheese

Step 3: The salad base is naturally sweet from the apples, so I add small pieces of sharp cheddar cheese for a little savory flavor and protein. The pecans and sunflower seeds add a nice crunch and richness.

Dried cranberries mirror the Granny Smith apples’ sweet and sour notes but with a different texture. Fresh orange segments add juiciness. The final topping is a sprinkle of chia seeds for extra fiber and crunchiness in each bite.

Step 4: The salad dressing is a semi-permanent emulsion. If needed, give it a quick whisk. Toss the salad in a large bowl with the homemade citrus dressing, and you are ready to dig in!

Fork holding up strings of spiralized apples with chia seeds sticking to them.

Flavor variations

  • Apples: Any type of apple can be used for the salad. Try Pink Lady, Gala, Braeburn, or any mix of your favorites.
  • Cheese: Add cubes of provolone, mozzarella, or smoked gouda. Add tangy crumbles or feta cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese, or gorgonzola.
  • Sweetener: Instead of honey, use maple syrup, brown sugar, or agave.
  • Vegetables: Add extra veggies with spiralized cucumbers, sugar snap peas, sweet tomatoes, avocado slices, diced celery, or carrots.
  • Greens: Apple baby spinach, kale, or arugula to make a heartier salad.
  • Nuts: Mix up the pine nuts and pecans with walnuts, cashews, or almonds. Try my candied pecans for a decadent treat!

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

What is Spiralizing?

Turn fruit and vegetables into ribbons or thin-shaped strands of noodles. Choose fruits or vegetables that have firm, solid flesh, are void of large seeds, and are not hollow. It’s best to have an ingredient that is 1.5 inches in diameter and at least 2 inches long for spiralizing. Some good candidates are apples, butternut squash, broccoli, beets, zucchini, melon, sweet potato, and cucumber.

How can I cut the apples if I don’t have a spiralizer?

There are different ways to cut the apple if you don’t have a spiralizer that makes thin ribbons. Cut the apple into thin sticks or half-moon-shaped pieces for more volume. The apples can also be diced for a denser texture.

Recipe Science

Preventing apples from browning

If you are not using the apples immediately, place them in a bowl or store them in an airtight container covered with cold water, lemon juice, salt, or honey, to prevent the apples from browning. Refrigerate and use within a few hours for the best texture. Drain well before adding them to the salad.

Spiralized Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing

Healthy spiralized apple salad made in only 15 minutes! A refreshing salad topped with oranges, pecans, cheddar cheese, cranberries, sunflower and chia seeds.
4.87 from 51 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American


Citrus Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 2 teaspoons honey, or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Apple Salad

  • 1 large red apple, Honeycrisp or Fuji
  • 1 large granny smith apple
  • 1 large orange, cut into segments
  • 2 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into ¼" cubes
  • cup pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds, optional


  • Make the Dressing – In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice an zest, orange juice and zest, honey, salt, and black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until a lightly thickened dressing is formed. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cut the Apples Spiralize all of the apples. I used the "D" setting on my Inspiralizer (or noodles) and it yielded about 6 cups total of spiralized apples.
  • Assemble the Salad – Add the cut apple to a large serving bowl. Top with orange segments, cheese, pecans, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds (if using).
  • To Serve – Whisk the dressing right before adding to the salad. Drizzle citrus dressing on top of the apple salad.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Storing: The dressing can be made 1 day in advance. Whisk before using. It’s best to serve the apples the same day for the best texture. 
  • Working with Apples: If not serving the apples right away, submerge the cut pieces in a bowl filled with cold water and a paper towel on top. Refrigerate and use within a few hours. Drain well.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 394kcal (20%)Carbohydrates 28g (9%)Protein 5g (10%)Fat 31g (48%)Saturated Fat 6g (30%)Polyunsaturated Fat 3gMonounsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 15mg (5%)Sodium 159mg (7%)Potassium 139mg (4%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 21g (23%)Vitamin A 300IU (6%)Vitamin C 14mg (17%)Calcium 140mg (14%)Iron 0.4mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

22 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Stephanie D. Jones says

    THIS SALAD IS IT!! I made this salad today (8/13/2020) for lunch. I only used 4 tbsp. of olive oil. Anyway, my daugter and grandchildren tore that salad up! It was so good! I didn’t even use cranberries…and I couldn’t find my chia seeds. But this salad is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAZING!!

  2. Charlotte says

    Great recipe! I love the addition of the white cheddar- really makes it. The only change I made was using a lot less of the dressing. I probably used 1/4 of it and that was more than enough. The leftover dressing was great on a salad the next night though!

  3. Jessica says

    Looks great except for the oil and honey. With a fruit salad you do not need added sweet and oil is empty calories, there is no good oil! I hate the saying … but it’s good fat… no oil is good, get fat from REAL FOOD, add more nuts!

  4. julie mcintyre says

    Hi Jessica,

    tonight we had this salad with bbq pork rashers. it was quick and easy to make and was refreshing alternative to serve with pork

  5. Lisa R says

    This sounds delicious. I’ll have to try it soon. Can you tell me if it will keep well in the refrigerator? I don’t think my hubby and I would finish it all in one sitting.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Lisa! The ingredients are pretty hearty in texture so it should hold up well for a day. I would just lightly toss the apples with some of the dressing to reduce the browning of the apples once cut and exposed to oxygen. The acid in the dressing should help with reducing the browning (oxidation).

  6. L Taylor says

    This looks delicious! Quick questions- how do you store the leftovers so apples don’t brown? How long will they keep fresh? Thanks!

  7. Carol says

    Okay, this looks so beautiful and creative that I followed the amazon.com link and purchased the spiralizer. I’ll be making this as soon as it comes in!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yay Carol! I’m so happy to hear that you are ready to start spiralizing at home! Please let me know how you like the recipe and what other things you try 🙂

  8. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    This sounds wonderful. Crispy and refreshing. I like the sharp white cheddar cheese a lot so was glad to see it in the recipe. I always picture you laying in bed at night with all these ideas popping into your head. Thank you for another beautiful recipe.


    • Jessica Gavin says

      You are the sweetest Judy! When I was making the recipe I thought, something is missing. The cheddar cheese was the perfect savory addition to the salad! You are right, I do think about the next recipe before bed, all the time really! haha.

    • Arlaine Richards says

      I made this only didn’t have cheddar so substituted feta and it was delicious. I will definitely make it again.