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For a healthy holiday side dish or a simple weeknight dinner, this Tossed Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette boasts the best ingredients that autumn has to offer! Full of crisp green apples, crunchy toasted walnuts, sweet cranberries and rich blue cheese, it’s a hearty, fresh, and easy recipe that celebrates the season.

A side shot of a tossed salad with cheese and dried cranberries

I have my mom to thank for this tossed salad inspiration, and as soon as she mentioned it to me I went to work in the kitchen!

My parents went on vacation to their house at the Vineyard earlier this month. It was the start of fall, the quiet, cool, off-season on the island, and instead of driving straight through from Virginia to the Cape in a rush to reach the ferry, they decided to take it slower this time.

Instead, they made an overnight pit stop in Mystic, Connecticut to break up the trip. There’s a restaurant in Mystic that my dad had been to many years before, and it was so good that he’s been dying to share it with my mom ever since. Perfect opportunity!

A close up of apple butter vinaigrette in a glass bottle ready for drizzling over a tossed salad

After their dinner at Anthony J’s Bistro, my mom sent me a photo of the tossed salad that she had ordered as an appetizer. In particular, she was raving about the unique apple butter dressing that paired so perfectly with the rest of the autumnal ingredients.

Since I love a salad that combines a variety of textures and flavors, I knew that this recipe would be delicious. Apples, walnuts (or pecans), cheese, and sweet dried cranberries transform the dish from boring leafy greens into a simple-yet-elegant side.

A side shot of a tossed salad with apple

How To Serve This Tossed Salad – Tips And Suggestions

  • While I think that it would be an ideal lighter component to a rich, festive Thanksgiving spread, I also think that the tossed salad works well for a regular weeknight dinner. It’s so easy to “toss” together that it’s ready in a matter of minutes, and it can be prepped in advance for even faster meals.
  • If you add leftover roasted turkey, chopped rotisserie chicken, or even a nice piece of fish, you’ll have a nourishing and fresh entree in less than 30 minutes!
  • The apple butter dressing is very similar to a regular vinaigrette that’s sweetened with honey or maple syrup, only this time the sweetener of choice is a subtle apple flavor in the background. As my mom said, it’s the perfect addition to the best seasonal ingredients!
  • While I used walnuts in this recipe you could also use hazelnut, cashew or pistachios
  • The blue cheese goes so well and feels so festive but you could also use something like brie or feta

A tossed salad in a white bowl topped with apple and autumn ingredients

A side shot of a tossed salad with vinaigrette

Autumn's Best Tossed Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 388 kcal
A healthy holiday side dish or simple weeknight dinner, this tossed salad with apple butter vinaigrette boasts the best ingredients Autumn has to offer!


For the Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup apple butter
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of pepper

For the Salad:

  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese or substitute with an equal amount of feta cheese or goat cheese
  • 1 Granny Smith apple thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place walnuts or pecans in a shallow pan and toast in the oven until fragrant (about 5-7 minutes), stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the Apple Butter Vinaigrette:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously until completely combined. The dressing can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • To assemble the salad, place mixed greens in a large serving bowl. Add cranberries, blue cheese, and apple. Pour dressing over top, to taste (you probably will not need all of the dressing in the jar). Toss to coat. Add nuts to the top of the salad just before serving.


Want to Serve this as a Main Dish? Just add some rotisserie chicken on top for extra protein, increase the amount of nuts and cheese to make it more filling, or just serve a nice loaf of Fresh bread on the side.
  • While I used walnuts in this recipe you could also use hazelnut, cashew or pistachios
  • The blue cheese goes so well and feels so festive but you could also use something like brie or feta


Serving: 1/4 of the salad with 2 Tablespoons of VinaigretteCalories: 388kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 7gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 12.7mgSodium: 465mgFiber: 5.1gSugar: 19g
Keyword: apple salad, tossed salad
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Author: The Seasoned Mom

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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  1. I can’t wait to try the salad. It’s right up my alley. What really caught my eye is your absolutely gorgeous photos of it. I could frame them; they are that pretty.