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.

Apple Walnut Salad

This summer salad provides a mix of interesting textures, and a subtle balance of sweet, sour and bitter flavours. You can serve it as a light starter, or turn into a main meal by adding slices of grilled chicken or bacon. For a vegan option, pair with chunky wedges of roasted parsnip.

Tips & Tricks

  • Crush the nuts separately – walnuts require much less force than hazelnuts, and would be pulversied to dust if bashed together
  • Toast the nuts – this intensifies the flavour as the natural oils are released and brown the flesh
  • Keep shaking the dressing until it thickens – the mustard and honey will emulsify the oil and vinegar, creating a thick coating that clings to the salad rather than running off and pooling at the bottom of the plate
  • Add dressing just before serving – this stops the salad leaves from getting limp and soggy
  • Toss with your hands – this is the most effective way to evenly coat the leaves in dressing
cooking time
Apple & Walnut Salad with Wholegrain Mustard Dressing


for the salad:

  • 50g walnuts
  • 30g hazelnuts
  • 3 sweet apples (390g)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 1 lettuce, leaves separated and chopped (I used batavia, but baby gem also works well)

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 until fragrant and just starting to colour, stirring frequently – about 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully, as they can quickly burn! Remove from the pan and spread over a plate to cool for a few minutes. Bash the hazelnuts until they break apart into largeish pieces – you can use a pestle and mortar to do this, or seal in a bag and bash with a rolling pin. Repeat with the walnuts.
  2. Peel the apple (or not – peel can be hard to digest). Chop into wedges or matchsticks (stand the apple upright. Cut down to slice off a side, as close to the core as possible. Turn the apple 90° and repeat until all four sides have been removed from the core. Lay the sides cut-side down and slice lengthways into 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch slices. Stack slices and repeat). Toss immediately in the lemon juice to stop the apple from discolouring.
  3. 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).
  4. Combine the lettuce, apple and celery in a large bowl. Pour over the salad dressing just before serving. Toss until evenly coated using your hands, then scatter over the nuts.

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