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Apple Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

This Apple Arugula Salad will be your new go-to for a light and refreshing meal that’s absolutely bursting with flavor! It combines some seriously tasty ingredients and tops them off with a homemade lemon dressing that will make your kitchen smell like a citrus grove.

Plus, you can put it together in no time – we’re talking less than 15 minutes here. So, it’s perfect for a quick lunch or a last-minute side dish.

Apple and Arugula salad with goat cheese and pecans being served on a plate.

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When it comes to fast, healthful dishes, salads are my jam! This Arugula Apple Salad is a mix of peppery arugula that perfectly complements the sweet crunch of crisp apples.

Throw in some zesty red onions for a little kick, creamy goat cheese for a smooth contrast, and pecans that deliver just the right crunch. It’s a delicious salad that’s got all the textures and flavors you crave.

And the best part? It’s a restaurant-quality salad you can make at home, in less than 30 minutes.

Love salads? Try this TikTok Grinder Salad next.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Flavor Galore! – Peppery arugula, tart apples, tangy goat cheese, and crunchy pecans all play together to create a flavor explosion.
  • Quick and Easy – Got 10 minutes? Then you’ve got time to whip up this salad. It’s that simple.
  • Flexibility – Feel free to swap in your favorite cheese or nuts. This recipe is super adaptable.
  • Healthy Choice – Loaded with vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats, it’s a meal you can feel good about.

Rachel’s Nutrition Tip: While this salad packs a good punch of fiber and healthy fats, it’s not quite a full meal by itself. Round it out with a protein source like chicken or shrimp, and a helping of complex carbs like whole grain bread or crackers, to cover all your macronutrient bases.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Arugula salad with Apples:

Ingredients for apple arugula salad.

Ingredient Notes

Baby Arugula: I absolutely love arugula’s unique ands lightly spicy flavor! It pairs so well with the sweetness of the apples and tartness of the goat cheese. But it can be substituted for a milder leafy green like baby spinach!

Apple: Choose a variety that’s both sweet and tart for the best flavor, such as Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Granny Smith Apples. Remember to thinly slice the apple to make it blend well with the rest of the salad.

Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can.

Honey: I prefer this dressing with just a touch of honey, I love the little added sweetness and honey flavor. This can be left out or substituted for agave or pure maple syrup.

How to make Apple Arugula Salad: Step by Step

Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper until olive oil is separated and well combined.

Lemon dressing being mixed together in a bowl for apple arugula salad.

Step 2:  Place arugula in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing on top, gently toss until well coated.

Step 3: Top with apple slices, red onion, goat cheese, and pecans. Serve promptly.

Arugula salad with apples in a large bowl.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Slice ’em Thin: Thinly slice your apples and red onions to ensure they integrate well with the arugula and other ingredients. This way, you get a bit of everything in each bite.

Make it a Meal: To turn this salad into a more filling meal, consider adding some grilled chicken, tofu, or even chickpeas for extra protein.

Dress to Impress: Only dress your salad just before you’re ready to serve. This keeps the arugula and apples crisp and fresh, and prevents them from getting soggy.

Multiply The Dressing: You can multiply the salad dressing by 4 (1/2 cup lemon juice and olive oil, 2 teaspoons of honey, zest from 4 lemons, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper) and store in the fridge to use throughout the week! Just give it a good shake before use

Storage

  • I recommend storing the salad and the lemon dressing separately.
  • Store salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • Store lemon dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can also freeze using an ice cube tray or in a freezer safe airtight container.

Additions, Substitutions, and Variations

SUBSTITUTIONS
Arugula: If you find arugula too peppery, baby spinach, salad greens, dandelion greens, or baby kale are great substitutions.

Goat Cheese: Not a fan of goat cheese? Try feta, blue cheese, or for a dairy-free option, avocado can add a similar creaminess.

Pecans: You can use walnuts, almonds, or even sunflower seeds if you prefer.

ADDITIONS
Protein: Grilled chicken, tofu, shrimp, or chickpeas can make this salad even more filling.

Fruits: Pears, berries, or dried fruits like cranberries or raisins can add more flavors and textures.

Grains: Quinoa, farro, or couscous can make the salad more substantial.

VARIATIONS
Asian Twist: Use a soy-sesame-ginger dressing and add some mandarin oranges.

Mediterranean Vibe: Replace the apples with tomatoes and cucumbers, and use feta instead of goat cheese

Fall Flavors: Use roasted butternut squash in place of apples and add dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds.


How To Meal Prep

  • Arugula: Wash and dry your arugula, if it’s not already pre-washed. Store it in an airtight container lined with paper towels to keep it fresh in the refrigerator.
  • Apple: Slice the apple just before serving to prevent it from browning due to oxidation. If you need to cut it in advance, toss the slices in a little bit of lemon juice to slow down the browning process, but remember that they still may not stay as crisp.
  • Red Onion: You can pre-slice your red onion and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. However, keep in mind that it might make other items in your fridge smell like onions.
  • Goat Cheese and Pecans: These can be prepped ahead of time. Simply crumble the goat cheese and store it separately in an airtight container in the fridge. For the pecans, you can chop them in advance and keep them in a sealed container at room temperature.
  • Dressing: Prepare the lemon dressing in advance and store it in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator (I love storing mine in a mason jar). Give it a good shake or stir before using.

When you’re ready to eat, assemble the salad ingredients, toss with the dressing, and enjoy! Remember, salads are best when they’re fresh and crisp, so try to combine everything as close to serving time as possible.


How To Serve

Serving this Arugula and Apple salad can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. Here are a few suggestions:

As a Starter: This easy salad works beautifully as a refreshing start to a meal. You can serve it in individual salad plates or bowls before the main course.

Side Dish: Pair it with a protein like grilled chicken, steak, or fish for a balanced, nutritious meal. It also complements heartier dishes by adding a bright, fresh contrast.

Light Lunch: Serve this salad as a light, standalone lunch. If you want it to be more filling, consider adding a source of protein like grilled chicken or fish. Pair it with a slice of crusty bread or a cup of your favorite soup.

Part of a Buffet: If you’re hosting a party or family gathering, you can serve this salad as part of a buffet. Just remember to dress it close to serving time to maintain its freshness.

In a Wrap or Sandwich: For a fun twist, you could use this salad as a filling for a wrap or sandwich. Add some sliced turkey or chicken for a complete meal.

Arugula Apple Goat Cheese Salad being served in a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can prep the individual components of this salad ahead of time. Just remember to add the dressing and assemble the salad right before serving to keep it fresh and crisp.

If you’ve dressed the salad, it’s best consumed immediately. If you have leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day, though the arugula may wilt and the apples may become a bit soggy.

While the lemon dressing pairs wonderfully with the ingredients in this salad, you can use any dressing you prefer. A balsamic vinaigrette, apple cider vinaigrette, or a honey mustard dressing would all be great choices.

Arugula and apple salad with goat cheese and pecans being served on a plate.

Apple Arugula Salad

This easy Arugula Apple Salad recipe is made with crisp apples, peppery arugula, creamy goat cheese and a tangy lemon dressing all mixed in one bowl for a flavor-packed meal. Perfect for anyone looking to add a tasty twist to their salad game.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 183kcal
Author: Rachel

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 apple thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup peans chopped

Lemon Dressing

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper until olive oil is separated and well combined.
  • Place arugula in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the dressing on top, gently toss until well coated.
  • Top with apple slices, red onion, goat cheese, and pecans. Serve promptly.

Notes

  • You can multiply the lemon dressing by 4 (1/2 cup lemon juice and olive oil, 2 teaspoons of honey, zest from 4 lemons, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper) and store in the fridge to use throughout the week! Just give it a good shake before use. 
  • Only dress your salad just before you’re ready to serve. This keeps the arugula and apples crisp and fresh, and prevents them from getting soggy.

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Please note that the nutritional information provided for each recipe is an estimate sourced from the My Fitness Pal database. It’s important to be aware that the nutritional content may vary depending on the specific products used, the accuracy of measurements, and the reliability of the nutrition data source. While we strive to provide accurate information, we cannot guarantee the exact accuracy of the nutritional information provided.

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