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Need a quick and healthy side dish, breakfast, or snack this season? Packed full of nutritious ingredients, this Light and Creamy Apple Salad is such a treat, and it’s ready in about 10 minutes!
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Have you noticed that we’ve been enjoying a few apples recently? Actually, about 54 pounds of apples, to be exact!! To say that I had to get creative in the kitchen would be an understatement.
After canning my last batch of Slow Cooker Applesauce this week, I can honestly say that we have eaten our way through every single bit of that delicious fruit! Today’s recipe is one that I pulled together as a quick side dish to have with dinner one evening, but I have also continued to enjoy it with breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Fresh, simple ingredients are THE BEST, right?
Ingredients for Creamy Apple Salad
- Apples: are crunchy and juicy, and perfect for Fall flavors. Leave the skin on for added color.
- Raisins: add sweetness and a bit of tang. Dried cranberries would also be delicious!
- Juice: a splash of apple juice, orange juice, or lemon juice keeps the apples fresh and flavorful without unsightly browning.
- Greek Yogurt: is the base for the creamy dressing. You can use plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt.
- Mayonnaise: a secret ingredient that adds the perfect hint of tanginess to the creamy apple salad dressing.
- Apple Pie Spice: brings all the flavors of fall – cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg pair perfectly with apples. You could also use pumpkin pie spice.
- Pecans and Coconut Flakes: add crunch and sweetness as a garnish to the top of the apple salad.
How to Make Creamy Apple Salad
I love the combination of flavors and textures in this sweet apple salad! It includes creamy Greek yogurt and mayonnaise, warm spices, plump juicy raisins, and a crunchy pecan topping.
- Toss together apples, raisins, and a splash of juice.
- Whisk together vanilla Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and apple pie spice.
- Fold the dressing into the apples until completely combined.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve, or garnish & enjoy right away!
First, start by tossing together the apples (I like to use a combination of both red and green apples for a perfect combination of color and taste), the golden raisin (dried cranberries would also be great), and a small splash of apple juice, orange juice, or lemon juice. The juice adds a nice touch of bright flavor, while also preventing browning on the apples.
What are the best kinds of apples to use in apple salad?
Some apples are best for eating fresh (like in salads), and some are best for baking. Ambrosia, Courtland, and Honeycrisp apples are the best sweet apples to use in a fresh apple salad. They’re low-acidity, hold up well to being sliced (and don’t brown quickly), and have a perfectly sweet, crisp flavor. Granny smith apples and green dragon apples are both great green apple options, with balanced sweet-and-sour flavors.
What’s in a creamy apple salad dressing?
The base of this creamy apple salad dressing is Greek yogurt, which is thick and tangy and really coats the apples perfectly. Adding a little bit of light mayonnaise really brings out the tanginess. The balance of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise gives this apple salad with mayonnaise a rich flavor with a healthier nutritional profile! Speaking of spices, if you don’t have apple pie spice, simply substitute it with a quarter teaspoon of both cinnamon and nutmeg. Because this is a yogurt-based dressing and doesn’t have any cool whip in it, it’s not as light and fluffy as a typical Ambrosia salad dressing.
Prep & Storage Tips for Apple Salad
If You’re Making Apple Salad Ahead of Time: I don’t recommend making this creamy apple salad more than a day ahead of time. The apples will soften and brown after being cut, which will completely alter the texture of the salad. Additionally, if making ahead of time, don’t combine the apples with the dressing until you’re ready to serve.
To Store Leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. I do not recommend freezing apple salad leftovers; apples will become mushy when thawed and the creamy dressing does not freeze well.
Serving Tips: After combining the apples and dressing, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve; or you can go ahead and garnish it with the pecan and coconut toppings and serve immediately.
What to Serve with Apple Salad
- As a dinner side dish, serve with Crispy Fried Chicken, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Nuggets, roasted chicken breast, or chicken cordon bleu.
- Apple salad would also pair well with Grilled Pork Tenderloin or Grilled Pork Chops.
- Pair with ham dishes like Virginia Country Ham Biscuits, Citrus Glazed Baked Ham, or Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Steak.
- For breakfast, serve with a quiche like Spinach Quiche or Ham and Broccoli Quiche. It also pairs well with Fluffy Pancakes, Baked Oatmeal with Almonds and Berries, an Apple Coffee Cake.
- Make this apple salad with celery — it will be like a Waldorf Salad!
- Substitute with other types of nuts like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, or cashews.
- A dusting of brown sugar or a drizzle of caramel or honey on top of this creamy apple salad would add some sweetness and Fall flavors.
- Dried cranberries are a great substitute for the raisins.
- Lemon or orange zest would add a stronger, brighter citrus flavor to the dish.
- Substitute cream cheese for the mayonnaise for an equally creamy dressing with a little bit of a different flavor.
- Top with a toasted granola for an apple cobbler-like topping.
Light and Creamy Apple Salad
- 2 cups diced, unpeeled Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples (about 1.5 medium apples)
- 2 cups diced unpeeled red apples (such as Red Delicious, Gala, or Honey Crisp) (about 1.5 medium apples)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon apple juice (or sub with orange juice or lemon juice)
- 5.3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) Greek-style vanilla yogurt can substitute with plain Greek yogurt and a dash of vanilla extract if you prefer a less-sweet option
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (can substitute with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg)
- ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- In a medium bowl, toss together apples, raisins, and juice.
- In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise and apple pie spice.
- Gently combine yogurt mixture with apple mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with pecans and coconut.
- Make this apple salad with about 1/2 cup diced celery — it will be like a Waldorf Salad!
- Substitute with other types of nuts like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts or cashews
- Dried cranberries are a great substitute for the raisins
- Lemon or orange zest would add a stronger, brighter citrus flavor to the dish