Apple & Walnut Salad with Wholegrain Mustard Dressing

Crisp, refreshing salad made with sweet apples, toasted nuts and a thick and creamy wholegrain mustard and balsamic vinegar dressing. A Dairy-free recipe.

Most salad dressings consist of oil, vinegar and flavourings which are shaken vigorously together to blend. As oil does not dissolve in water, this forces a liaison by breaking down the oil molecules so that they are dispersed and suspended in the vinegar. However, this creates only a temporary emulsion, which will soon break down and separate out into layers. Emulsions can be made stable by adding natural emulsifiers like egg yolk, mustard or xanthum gum. Emulsifiers contain proteins that coat the oil particles and so stop them from binding together again. The trick to creating salad dressings that contain emulsifiers is to keep shaking until they thicken to a gel-like consistency.

Variations: turn into a main meal by adding cooked chicken and / or crisp bacon. It also pairs well with roasted parsnip if you want to keep the dish vegetarian.


serves cooking time
Apple & Walnut Salad with Wholegrain Mustard Dressing
Ingredients Instructions

for the salad:

  • 50g walnuts
  • 30g hazelnuts
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 sweet apples (390g), peeled, cored and chopped into matchsticks, then tossed with the lemon juice to stop from discolouring
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 2 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated and chopped

for the dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey (or, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the nuts and dry fry for 5 – 10 minutes, or until fragrant and brown. Keep watching and stirring to prevent them from burning. Remove immediately from the pan when done. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then coarsely chop.
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jam jar, and shake vigorously until emulsified (the dressing will thicken when the oil becomes incorporated into the vinegar).
  3. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over the salad dressing just before serving, and toss until evenly coated using your hands.

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