Apple Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

You might not have thought of using apples as an ingredient in a salad before, but adding apples and nuts to a savory dish is as classic and American as it gets. The first iteration of an apple-and-nut salad with greens was presented by Oscar Michel Tschirky (aka "Oscar of the Waldorf"), maitre d'hotel at the legendary Waldorf Astoria in New York. Oscar's version of this apple dish — which today is known as the Waldorf Salad — has a heavier consistency, since it called for the use of mayonnaise instead of a lighter vinaigrette. The dish has moved through several versions since it was first served in 1896, and today, the apple salad is served with celery and an option of walnuts or pecans (via What's Cooking America).

Recipe developer and private practice registered dietician Kristen Carli's take on a classic American salad combo sees the use of romaine leaves, diced apple, nuts, as well as something Oscar of the Waldorf might not have considered using at that time: chevre or goat cheese crumbles. "[This salad] has the combination of salty, sweet, tangy, and fresh," Carli notes. 

We think you'll find that the robustness of romaine salad leaves hold their own and act as an obliging palette on which the apples, pecans, and cheese work together to shine. For those of you who might want to give this recipe a try but are allergic to nuts, we've added suggestions on how to add extra crunch to your greens, too.

Here's what you'll need to make apple goat cheese salad

In order to make this delicious apple goat cheese salad recipe, you'll need to round up romaine lettuce, goat cheese crumbles, honey roasted pecans, Honeycrisp apples, and a good quality vinaigrette like Girard's champagne dressing. If you'd prefer to add something other than a store-bought dressing to this dish, Carli says using a basic vinaigrette will still be a foolproof way to dress the salad you're craving for. This recipe is yummy, whichever dressing you choose.

Chop all the ingredients, and lay them out in a serving bowl

Once you have all the ingredients in hand, chop the romaine, and dice your apples. You can then add all the ingredients — including the pecans and goat cheese crumbles — before tossing the fruit and greens with Girard's dressing or your choice of vinaigrette, serving, and enjoying!

If you've never had goat cheese before, know that like cow's cheese, goat cheese can come in a range of different flavors and aromas — from mild and slightly sweet and from gamey to outright pungent. The type of goat cheese that Carli uses for this recipe is described as being "simple, mild, and fresh," according to Roth Cheese, so that will definitely need to be kept in mind should you need to track down a chevre substitute.

What to do if you are allergic to nuts

Salads are appealing for a number of reasons. Not only are they healthy, but they also come in a range of eye-popping colors and textures. If you are unable to enjoy having nuts in your salad due to allergies, The Spruce Eats suggested a number of other add-ins you might want to consider in order to make this recipe a success. These optional substitutions include pumpkin or sunflower seeds, granola, or a nice crispy rice cereal. Try your favorite from the suggested list, or switch it up, and add a different ingredient each time you whip this salad up!

How to select the best apples for this salad

If Honeycrisp apples are not available, there are other apples in the market that you can use to make this salad a success. Eating Well suggested selecting an apple variety that won't lose its shape, will stay true to its own color, will resist browning, and one that doesn't taste mealy. Apples that sit in this variety include Ambrosia, Cortlands, Fuji, and Gala apples.

Since browning only happens when an apple's soft white flesh is exposed to air, you can further keep this from happening by soaking your apples in plain water, water and salt, or water and honey, according to Epicurious. A citrus juice — such as lemon, lime, or orange — can also keep your apples looking fresh, but you'll need to be prepared to have your diced apples taste like citrus if you take this option.

How to pack a salad to take on a picnic

According to Carli, "This is my favorite salad to make for family gatherings or big group affairs. It is healthy, but delicious!" And while fruit salads may look and sound like the perfect addition to a summertime picnic or backyard get-together, there are a few suggestions to keep in mind to make sure your apple goat cheese salad doesn't cause problems later on. 

Philadelphia-based farm market Wolffs Apple House recommended that you ensure your cooler can keep food at 40 F, and once you've taken the salad out of its cooler, it should really be consumed within two hours. And if it's a particularly hot afternoon, give that salad just an hour. The best way to avoid waste is to pack the salad into separate, smaller containers so that only one portion sits out at any point in time.

Apple Goat Cheese Salad Recipe
5 from 34 ratings
This fresh take on a classic American salad combo sees the use of romaine leaves, diced apple, nuts, and goat cheese crumbles.
Prep Time
Cook Time
apple goat cheese salad bowl
Total time: 4 minutes
  • 2 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup honey roasted pecans
  • 2 Honeycrisp apples, diced
  • ½ cup Girard's champagne dressing
  1. In a large bowl, add the chopped romaine, goat cheese crumbles, honey roasted pecans, and diced Honeycrisp apples.
  2. Add the dressing.
  3. Toss to combine.
  4. Serve, and enjoy!
Calories per Serving 339
Total Fat 24.3 g
Saturated Fat 5.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 13.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.9 g
Dietary Fiber 7.2 g
Total Sugars 12.2 g
Sodium 142.5 mg
Protein 9.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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