My favorite Apple Pecan Salad is flavor-packed with apples, pecans, bacon, dried cranberries, and blue cheese. It’s gorgeous, easy to make, and is a perfect light, family-friendly, main-dish or side-dish salad.
Not only that, but this salad is simple to make and only takes minutes to prepare. Topped with a yummy homemade sweet and citrusy apple pecan salad dressing, this dish is a nutritional bonanza and one that will quickly become one of your favorites too!
What kind of apples:
Tart, green Granny Smith apples, are always a crowd-pleaser, but you can use any apples you like. I like to stick with crisp, sweet-tart varieties including Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, and Honeycrisp.
Not only are the apples delicious in this dish, they are high in fiber and vitamin C, and they are also low in calories.
What’s in it:
Romaine Lettuce: Crisp and delicious, this romaine salad with apples is the epitome of fresh, flavorful salads.
Apples: That old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” couldn’t be more accurate. Apples are one of the healthiest foods a person can eat and add a sweet, crisp note.
Roasted Pecans: Buttery roasted pecans provide a delicious crunch and a nice contrast to the sweet apples. Pecans are no slacker in the nutrition department either; loaded with fiber, they contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals.
Dried Cranberries: Always a favorite in salads, tasty dried cranberries provide color and a pleasing tartness.
Blue Cheese: Apples and blue cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, and this pungent cheese lends a creamy deliciousness to this salad.
Bacon: Crispy, salty, and smoky, bacon always ups the ante on any dish.
Apple Pecan Salad Dressing: Sweet and tangy and the perfect dressing for this salad. To make this delicious dressing, you need apple cider vinegar, an orange, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and kosher salt and pepper.
How to make the salad dressing:
Add the following ingredients to a mason jar: grated orange zest, orange juice, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, and salt, and pepper. Shake the jar vigorously.
If you don’t have a mason jar, you can add all the ingredients except the olive oil to a small bowl and whisk together. Once everything is combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil.
How to make the salad:
Right before you are ready to serve it, add the chopped lettuce, apple, pecans, bacon, blue cheese, and cranberries to a large bowl and toss with a small amount of dressing.
And there you have it, a delicious light and healthy salad!
What to pair it with:
With just the right combination of complex flavors, this salad with apples and pecans is very satisfying and works well as a main dish salad.
It also makes a show-stopping salad for your holiday or Thanksgiving table!
To make it ahead:
You can make the dressing, cook the bacon, roast the pecans, and prep the lettuce ahead. However, I would wait until just before you are ready to serve it to toss together. Also, don’t add the dressing until you are ready to serve it.
For the best results, wait to chop and add the apple just before tossing everything together to keep them from turning brown. A quick soak in a lemon juice water mixture will help with this too.
How to prep and store the lettuce:
Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces and discard the core. Place it in a large bowl or salad spinner and fill it with water. Let the lettuce to soak for about five minutes and swish it around.
Drain and allow the lettuce to dry. Store in a large plastic storage bag, lined with a paper towel, in the refrigerator for up to five days.
This dressing recipe makes enough for two complete salads. Refrigerate the unused portion for up to seven days and save for another meal.
I used romaine lettuce in this recipe, but you can use any type of lettuce you have on hand or like.
I usually bake my bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. You can also cook it in the microwave or simply fry it in a pan.
To toast the pecans, place them on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven. If you are toasting pecan halves, toast them for approximately 10 minutes, if you are toasting pieces, toast them for about five minutes. Either way, check frequently towards the end to make sure they don’t burn.
If you like salad recipes like this one, you might also be interested in these delicious recipes: Tomato Salad with White Acre Peas, Romaine Wedge Salad with Green Goddess Dressing, and Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pecans.
Other main dish salad recipes you might like include Panzanella, and Fall Harvest Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes.
Need more recipes or menu ideas? Check out all of my salad recipes here.
★ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and give it a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Apple Pecan Salad Recipe
- 8 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 9 ounces romaine lettuce washed, drained and chopped
- 1 granny smith apple cored and chopped
- 2/3 cups pecans toasted
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbled
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- To make the dressing add the following ingredients to a mason jar and shake well: vinegar, grated orange zest, orange juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
- In a large bowl add the romaine lettuce, bacon, apple, pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese. Toss with a small amount of dressing and serve!
**This recipe was originally posted on August 13, 2015. It was republished on August 5, 2020, with expanded tips and the addition of answers to frequently asked questions.