Vegan Apple Arugula Salad with Candied Walnuts, Dates and Feta

This Vegan Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Dates is like fall in a bowl! It has sweet, chewy, sticky Medjool dates paired with peppery arugula, crunchy apples, and decadent candied walnuts. Make it for a nutritious lunch or as a weeknight dinner and enjoy this delightful blend of harvest flavors!

Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates

This Vegan Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Dates puts sweet, crisp apples is centerstage! It is the perfect way to kickoff September when the weather is still warm but you are eager for fall flavors. I love incorporating apples into savory recipes like this.

When done right, salads are filling, delicious, and made with interesting combinations of flavor and texture. I think this salad has that perfect blend! It’s a salty-sweet, crunchy, chewy salad topped with homemade tangy maple apple cider dressing. You’re going to FALL in love (see what I did there?).

Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates

Candied Walnuts

I think the candied walnuts are a special touch that make this salad. They just feel special! They are refined-sugar free and sweetened with just maple syrup. I toast them briefly in the oven with avocado oil and salt, which gives them a salty, sweet, nutty, and savory flavor profile that’s incredible. It’s an autumnal touch that pairs perfectly with the refreshingly sweet apples. Walnuts also make this salad filling and hearty! They contain omega-3 essential fatty acids that could lower your overall risk of heart disease, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  An added bonus: omega-3s also reduce joint pain and improve brain function and development.  Walnuts are a good source of magnesium, which can lower blood pressure. I love adding them to salads like this.

candied walnut salad

The Best Apples for Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates

Apples are really great in salads! They not only add fresh and bright flavor, they have a satisfying crunch that takes your salad from “pretty good” to “WOW!” Use tart or sweet apples for more variety in every bite. Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp would all be perfect in this salad recipe.

fall apple salad

Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates

Adding Medjool dates to your salad is a kind of unexpected way to add so much flavor and texture. Dates have a subtle sweetness that shines without overpowering the other flavors in this salad. They also have a chewy, slightly sticky texture that you don’t usually get in a salad but it just WORKS! Dates are a fresh stone fruit that come from date palm trees. They are naturally “dehydrated” with a sweet, moist, and distinct caramel flavor. It’s a vegan go-to for sweetening dishes! They’re also full of amazing health benefits. Dates contain load of fiber to aid in digestion and heart health. They contain potassium (even more than bananas), zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, iron, and vitamin K…all while being fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free.

medjool date salad

Easy Homemade Maple Apple Cider Salad Dressing

The homemade apple cider maple dressing is so easy and fresh… just blend everything together in a mini food processor and it creates the best vinaigrette! It offers a robust and savory flavor that pairs perfectly with this mostly-sweet Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates. It’s just a couple ingredients, too! You’ll be blending:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper
maple apple cider dressing

Vegan Feta Cheese

The creamy vegan feta cheese is optional but I really like it for added texture and flavor on this Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates. My favorite kind of vegan feta cheese is Violife, which you can find in most health food or grocery stores. You can also order it online!

vegan apple arugula salad

More Flavorful Salads

Vegan Buckwheat Soba Noodle Sesame Salad

Plant Powered Fall Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Apples & Figs

Creamy Vegan Cucumber Salad with Dill & Red Onion

Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Maple-Tahini Dressing

Spiralized Radish and Arugula Salad with Quinoa, Hemp Seeds, and Pepita Seeds

Pecan Encrusted Delicata Squash and Quinoa Kale Salad with Creamy Maple-Garlic Tahini Dressing

Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Dates
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vegan apple arugula salad

Vegan Apple Arugula Salad with Candied Walnuts, Dates and Feta


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Vegan Apple Arugula Salad with Walnuts & Dates is like fall in a bowl! It has sweet, chewy, sticky Medjool dates paired with peppery arugula, crunchy apples, and decadent homemade candied walnuts. Make it for a nutritious lunch or as a weeknight dinner and enjoy this delightful blend of harvest flavors!


Scale

Ingredients

Candied Walnuts

  • 1 cup raw unsalted walnut pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Maple Apple Cider Dressing

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Salad

  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 sweet red apple, stem and core removed, sliced or chopped
  • 1 green apple, stem and core removed, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup when sliced)
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates, diced (soft dates work best)
  • 1/3 cup vegan feta cheese (I like VioLife brand from Sprouts or Whole Foods)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the candied walnuts: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the walnuts, avocado oil, maple syrup and salt in a small mixing bowl and stir to coat evenly. Place on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread the walnut pieces out so they are not touching. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Prepare the dressing: While the candied walnuts cook, prepare the vinaigrette. Place oil, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper in a mini food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Set side.
  3. Prepare the salad: Place all salad ingredients (arugula, apples, onions, dates and feta) in a large mixing bowl.  Add the warm candied walnuts overtop.  Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing. 
  4. Divide between two plates for an entree salad or four salad plates for an appetizer salad.  Enjoy immediately while the salad ingredients are cold and the walnuts are still warm.

Notes

For best results use apples that are chilled and dates that are soft (new packages work best here).

This recipe makes two entree salads or four side salads.

  • Category: Salad

Keywords: apple date walnut salad

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