A healthy spiralized apple salad made in only 15 minutes! A refreshing salad topped with oranges, pecans, cheddar cheese, cranberries, sunflower 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
- 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
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
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!
- 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!
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- ⅓ 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.
- 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.
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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