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On my endless quest to make salads as exciting as the rest of the meal, Arugula Apple Salad is a fresh take on the Arugula Salad that’s been a staple in our house for years. This version contrasts the frilly, peppery, deep-green leaves with crisp apple slices, creamy goat cheese, and buttery pecans with a sweet, tangy dressing that pulls it all together.

Arugula Apple Salad served on a white platter

Somehow a salad with just a few well-paired ingredients amounts to far more than the sum of its parts. It’s what makes salads so fun and satisfying to create.

Ingredients You need to Make Arugula Apple Salad

Arugula Apple Salad Ingredients on a white marble board
  • Baby Arugula: Ideally pre-washed and dried.
  • Olive Oil: Good, extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Ideally raw and unfiltered for the best flavor.
  • Honey: Maple syrup would also be delicious.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper:
  • Apple: Any crunchy, sweet or tart variety.
  • Goat Cheese: Feta is an option for those who don’t care for goat cheese.
  • Pecans: Walnuts would also work well.

But even with well paired ingredients, a successful salad needs a balanced dressing to round it out. Here, sweet honey softens apple cider vinegar’s acidity to enhance instead of overpower the other ingredient flavors, both bold and subtle.

Plating Tips

Plating is important too. Tender baby arugula tossed with half of the dressing creates the base for this salad, ideally spread across a serving platter. You’ll hand tuck the apple slices into the arugula instead of tossing them in, this way they’re visible, well distributed, and won’t all end up on the bottom of the bowl or platter. After you drizzle on the remaining dressing, you’ll shower with crumbled, creamy goat cheese and chopped pecans. Then your beautiful salad is ready to serve.

Arugula Apple Salad served on a white platter photographed from overhead

Recipe Options

Like me, you may enjoy adding your own twist to salad recipes. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Swap in crumbled feta cheese, blue cheese, or gorgonzola.
  • Use maple syrup in place of honey.
  • Instead of pecans, use walnuts or hazelnuts.
  • Add another layer of flavor and texture with dried cranberries or dried cherries.
  • Swap in white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar for some or all of the apple cider vinegar.
  • If you love kale, give this Kale Apple Salad a try as well!
  • And if you love apples, my Apple Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is another one of my favorites.

What to Serve with Arugula Apple Salad

How to Make Arugula Apple Salad

Step 1: Whisk together salad dressing ingredients until emulsified (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, kosher salt and black pepper).

Step 2: Toss arugula with half of the dressing and arrange on a platter. Tuck apple slices into dressed arugula so they are well distributed. Drizzle salad with remaining dressing an top with crumbled goat cheese and pecans. Serve.

Arugula Apple Salad

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 246
Servings: 4 people
A tangy sweet dressing, creamy goat cheese, crisp apple slices, and buttery pecans balance and enhance this peppery arugula salad.

Ingredients  

  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 small apple your favorite variety, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese crumbled
  • 1 ounce pecans toasted if desired and coarsely chopped, see recipe note #1

Instructions 

  • Place arugula in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey in a small bowl until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/2 of dressing over arugula and gently toss to coat.
  • Transfer salad to serving platter if desired and tuck apple slices into dressed arugula so they're visible and well distributed. Drizzle salad and apple slices with remaining dressing. Scatter goat cheese and pecans over and serve.

Notes

  1. If you prefer toasted pecans: Place a small dry skillet over medium heat until hot. Add pecans; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes until nuts are fragrant and lightly golden. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. (Don’t leave the nuts in the hot skillet to cool as they burn easily.) Coarsely chop once they’re cool enough to handle.
  2. Tucking apple slices into dressed arugula instead of tossing them in keeps them from ending up at the bottom of the salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1011IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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12 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    Such a wonderful salad! All I need to pick up is some arugula…plus I’d love to add some dried cherries!! Yummy!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Dried cherries would be a delicious addition, Liz!