Heirloom Apple Salad

The sort of hearty apple salad I love. It has heirloom apples, shaved celery, and toasted nuts of your choosing. The dressing is creamy and spiked with rosemary, garlic and champagne vinegar.

Heirloom Apple Salad

If you're looking for a simple apple salad, you're in the right place. There's a reasonable chance that you have the ingredients needed to make it sprinkled around your kitchen - on counter tops, or in the crisper. And if not, there are lots of ways to make substitutes. It's hearty and substantial, colorful and crunchy - made with heirloom apples, shaved celery, and toasted nuts of your choosing. The dressing is crème fraîche (or sour cream) spiked with rosemary, garlic and champagne vinegar. 
Heirloom Apple Salad

Apple Salads - All About the Crunch

This salad is big on crunch. And that alone is likely the reason it has become a fall favorite. There's crunch from crisp apples, celery, and nuts. Pair that with the creaminess in the dressing? It's a nice contrast. My main tip? Seek out crisp apples with good flavor. And pass on mealy apples.
Heirloom Apple Salad


Think of this recipe as more of a sketch than anything else. I used arugula because it's what I had on hand, but the baby gems at the market looked great and would have been a nice substitute. Same goes for the nuts. Toast whatever you have on hand - pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts. And on the dressing front, crème fraîche brings a beautiful luxe texture into the mix, but  you can certainly use sour cream or even yogurt, and whatever good-tasting white wine vinegar you like.
Slicing Apples for Apple Salad

Slicing the Apples

Another variable you can experiment is the cut of the apple. You can see my preferred slices up above. They thick enough to retain some snap, and bite-sized. I like them sliced this way so you can get a bit of everything on a fork - some arugula, apple, nuts, etc. But if you really love apples, add more and slice them thicker. I also have it in my notes to do an apple salsa of sorts - with everything chopped smaller & a few serrano chiles chopped and added to the mix. For use on winter panini, and the like.
Bowl of Apple Salad in the Kitchen

The Dressing

The dressing is great on all sorts of things. Not just apple salad. It's decadent drizzled over roasted potatoes (or sweet potatoes!), as a finishing kiss for mushrooms, or as a slather on panini. I also love it drizzled over oven-roasted broccoli, or a medley of sheet-pan baked vegetables.Heirloom Apple Salad

Your Apple Salad Ideas

Over the years you've left some great suggestions and variations in the comments. I'm going to highlight a few and also encourage you to let us know of any riffs on the recipe you enjoy in the future!

  • Amanda says, " I grated a half a celery root into the salad as well, which boosted the yummy celery flavor and added another texture. So good!"
  • Chase brilliantly swapped in pears, "I have made this salad 8 times in the last 10 days!!!! An instant favorite! Hazelnuts were the nut of choice and a pear/apple mix with some added Rosemary crostini crumbled in gives it a great crunch!!!"
  • Dana turned it into more of a main dish, "I added some cooked and cooled wheat berries to this salad and it was divine! Nutty crunch and great nutrition to bulk it up for a main course dinner."
  • Kara introduced a few ingredients, "“Hallelujah!” is what I thought when I bit into this salad today for lunch! I substituted baby broccoli for the celery, used walnuts, and some sliced Parmesan."

Have fun and poke around for more salad recipes, or more fall recipe inspiration. I love this Genius Kale Salad, this Shaved Fennel Salad from Super Natural Every Day, this pure Cilantro Salad for the cilantro fans out there, and for more of a main, this Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad is always a go-to.

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Heirloom Apple Salad

4.32 from 19 votes

A bit of hard, aged cheese is welcome here as well - shave of thin strips and add toward the end.

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 12 rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 large celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 2 crisp heirloom apples, cut into sixths, and then thinly sliced*
  • 4 handfuls arugula, baby gems, or baby romaine
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts
  1. Make the dressing first. Crush the sea salt, rosemary, garlic, and sugar into a paste with a mortar and pestle (or smash it all together with a knife). Work in the creme fraiche and vinegar, taste and adjust with a bit of pepper and more salt if needed.
  2. When you're ready to serve, combine the celery, apples, salad greens, and most of the nuts with a few half of the dressing. Toss well, adding more dressing until it is to your liking. Finish with the remaining nuts, and any torn celery leaves.

Serves 4-6.

* If you're not going to use the apples immediately keep them in a bowl of water spiked with a bit of lemon juice (or the white wine vinegar you're using for the dressing). Drain and pat dry before using.

Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


"Hallelujah!" is what I thought when I bit into this salad today for lunch! I substituted baby broccoli for the celery, used walnuts, and some sliced Parmesan. So yum, and I'm thrilled to have a new salad recipe to add to my repertoire. Thanks!


Thank you for the delicious apple salad recipe! What a refreshing change of pace for this time of the year.

CarolAnne Bopp

I love salad. I at least make one salad a day for my family because it taste fresh and it's very healthy. Now I read your recipe, I think we are going to have something different tomorrow. Nice to try! Thank you!


Great salad! Did you get those apples at Bi-Rite market? Or the SF Ferry Building? If so, I think we grew those beautiful Arkansas Blacks! HS: Hi Jolie! I did - at the Ferry Building! I love Devoto gardens, and try to get to your stand as early as possible to see what sort of flowers you have as well. Those huge pale pink dahlias (earlier in the year) are my absolutely favorite, but they go so fast!


Are those Arkansas Black apples? Their one of my favorite, but difficult to find.


This looks like the perfect salad! The pine nuts are a nice touch!


Made this salad today - delish! I used sour cream, walnuts, and thinly sliced fennel instead of celery. It was lovely!


I made this yesterday and was beyond pleased. The dressing is amazing. I think i had it for every meal today! i used Fiji apples & sour cream BTW. thanks Heidi.


Delicious salad! Went over extremely well at potluck in Mexico-teemed with tamales! Thanks!




Wonderful recipe! I cant wait to try this one. I came across these super interesting Arkansas Black Apples last month while ingredient hunting for Thanksgiving. I picked up a few to taste... loved them! Running to get more to try this recipe. Thanks!!!


Some feedback to above comment - this is my new BEST SALAD EVER! I might add some roasted kabocha squash next time because, being honest, what recipe doesn't benefit from winter squash! p.s. vegan tip - I made this with a blend of soy yoghurt and soaked cashews for creme fraiche


Hi Heidi, I just got a bunch of napa cabbage from greenhearts so I'm going to try to add some of that as well, but I'd like to sub the sour cream with plain greek yogurt. Will there be some unexpected chemical reaction if I do that? Yogurt and vinegar doesn't sound like a good combo, but I'm hoping it's unexpectedly good? Leah in Nopa


This looks delicious! I have some gorgeous fresh apples from market today as well and with some brown rice I think this will be the perfect crisp/creamy combo for a winter salad! Thanks Heidi!


Thank you! Have totally enjoyed this and the orange broccoli this week. While I believe that walnuts and apples are born to be together, I used almonds as I was too lazy to take the steps for the walnuts. This dressing (made with sour cream) is intoxicating. Thinking of holiday parties and the addition of dried cranberries! Oh yes, your castle shortbread is heavenly. Thanks for creative and reliable. Hopefully you are high and dry now! Happy Everything.


Was thinking...mache (aka Lamb's Lettuce) would be a great sub for arugula for those that find its taste to peppery! Mache is one of my ALL time favorite lettuces - soft, buttery - but it wouldn't steal the show from the apples. Wishing you strength and grace in the midst of your basement disaster.....


This apple salad is very delicious! I'm gonna make some more this weekend. Anyway, good luck with cleaning out the mess in your basement.

Jeff @ Cheeseburger

Sounds like a fabulous base for any sort of interchangeable ingredients one might have on hand. Belgian endive is a fave with apples and lends the crunch of paper-thin celery as an option. Thanks for your continuous inspiration and creativity!!

Diane T.

I made this salad and it was amazing! That dressing was one of the best ones I have ever made (I also used it to top some baked sweet potato wedges that night) - definitely going to be using it again! Thank you!


I enjoyed this salad last night. Thank you so much! This helped get me out of a basic improvised dressing rut.


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