This apple, Parmesan, and mixed green salad brings together a few simple ingredients to a sophisticated effect. Effortless and elegant, what could be better? Oh yeah, it’s healthy, too.
The combination of these ingredients makes a beautiful salad. Use the best-quality Parmesan you can find. It makes a world of difference. That doesn’t mean the pulverized stuff that comes in a tall green can but rather a chunk of really quite lovely stuff that you grab at your local Italian deli or cheese shop. Although really, “best-quality” pertains to all the ingredients in this recipe, because given that there are so few, each stands out. Think in-season apples and greenhouse baby greens from the farmers market. If you happen to have kids or houseguests who seem to need something productive to do with their time, by all means, buy walnuts in the shell and task your bored loved ones with prying them open.–Gena Knox
Apple, Parmesan, and Mixed Green Salad
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad
- 5 cups mixed greens
- 1 Braeburn or Gala apple* thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup walnuts lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese curls (made by drawing a vegetable peeler across the surface of a chunk of cheese)
- Combine the mustard, water, honey, vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, apple slices, and walnuts. Toss with the dressing. Add the Parmesan curls and gently toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.
*What Kind Of Apples Are Best For Salads?The best apples for salad are the kind that you love to eat right out of hand, but with the added benefit of not browning quickly and being able to hold its shape for a little bit. You want something with a combination of sweet and tart, crunchy and juicy. So, what does that leave you with? Braeburn and Gala, like Knox suggests, but you’ll find Ambrosia, Cortland, and Honeycrisp are also terrific choices.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
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This apple, Parmesan, and mixed green salad was simply delicious. The spoonful of honey helped to round out the bite of the mustard and vinegar, and the flavor of the mustard shone through without being overpowering. The apples, nuts, and Parmesan were a complementary combination. I thought there was a bit too much dressing and Parmesan, so next time I’ll add those ingredients to taste, but otherwise, this was a very easy and wonderful salad.
I know it’s a simple recipe, but sometimes even those need to be noted and placed in a file. I may make this dressing without the water, but I will definitely leave in the sherry vinegar. It leaves a milder finish than balsamic or other kinds of vinegar, and I like the balance against the apples in the salad. I like my salad lightly dressed, so I had enough dressing for the four plates. I think it would also be nice to switch the Parmesan for some good goat cheese.
Originally published January 14, 2008
I love this salad. Super adaptable and makes me feel like a fancy grown-up. Not because it’s hard, but because it has apples. I use what I have on hand and it’s super forgiving. Pine nuts instead of walnuts, apple cider vinegar instead of sherry, and Dijon because it’s what I had…it all just works. Yum .
We’re so glad you love this recipe, Diane! It’s wonderful and made it your own by coming up with just the right substitutions for some of the ingredients!
This is a really nice salad and dressing. I prefer bleu cheese rather than Parmesan, however.
I was standing in my kitchen about to make my usual standard green salad & I thought I would mix it up & googled apple & parmesan salad and this recipe appeared. I had to substitute pecans for walnuts & Dijon for wholegrain but the salad was delicious. I also halved the mustard as I am not a huge mustard fan. Will definitely make again maybe I’ll stick to the recipe next time.
Thanks, Colleen. So glad we were able to provide inspiration for your dinner salad and we love hearing how people adjust to make it their own.
This was a refreshing switch from the standard mixed-green side salad. I’ve used dozens of different and increasingly unusual ingredients over the years to bring something original to salad, but this recipe accomplished the task with few ingredients and very little effort. Even the honey-mustard dressing tasted new; the sherry vinegar lent it a tang not generally found in dressings of this variety. Also, though I can’t explain this, the dressing alone had a hint of apple in the taste, even before I added it to the salad. The individual components of the salad-whole mustard grains, sherry vinegar, lightly toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese blended together with a unique and pleasing flavor, and putting this dish together could not have been easier. I will definitely make this again.
I so appreciate what you expressed about the simplicity and originality of this salad, Tracy. Thank you! Thrilled that you like it.
Great salad! The meaty toasted walnuts and the sourness of the mustard balanced the sweetness of the sherry vinegar and honey. The apple provided crispness. As I write this, I am thinking some bits of smoked bacon would round out the flavor even more. I will make this salad again.
Anne, I agree: some bacon would be excellent in this. As a matter of fact, I just smoked 10 pounds if it, and I think several slices might make their way into this the next time we make it!
This is a lovely salad. I added thinly sliced fennel tossed in lemon juice, and omitted the water from the dressing. Excellent as a light but interesting side salad for Thanksgiving.
Thanks for letting us know, Alisha. And a lovely long weekend to you…
One of the best salads I’ve ever tried. Simple ingredients, but they all get well together, and the dressing helps to get the full taste!! I specifically bought whole grain mustard (though I usually never eat it) and sherry vinegar (which is hard to find in my town). Made it several times already.
Lovely to hear, Nadya. I agree, the whole-grain mustard with its roly poly seeds is perfect with sherry vinegar and apple. Curious, since you’ve made it several times, if you’ve tried any variations on this salad or kept true to the recipe…