This salad with candied nuts and/or seeds is my go-to salad recipe. It’s the salad I make over and over. My favorite salad. I shared it back in November and titled it Thanksgiving salad (<- and I stand by this being the best Thanksgiving salad) but it wasn’t named properly, so I’m here to fix that.
The beauty of this salad is that it’s made with easy homemade candied nuts (think candied pecans or seeds like pepitas). I heard the most useful feedback on this salad from someone who started making it after I shared the recipe: this is a great salad to serve for someone with nut allergies, because you can make it with candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or even sunflower seeds.
Candied nuts or seeds for salad can be made in a few minutes on the stovetop. Or you can purchase them already candied. I recently found a bag of candied fruits and nuts at Costco (called Orchard Valley Harvest Salad Toppers – here they are via Amazon; they go great in this salad. Or Trader Joe’s has awesome candied nuts too.
How do you make this salad with candied nuts and/or seeds?
- First things first, you’ll want to toast the pepita seeds (or nuts). For this, you simply put the following ingredients in a stovetop skillet and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and is bubbling. Add pumpkin seeds (or nuts like pecans) and cook for another 2 minutes. Spread on parchment paper to cool. Once cooled break up and crumble over salad.
- brown sugar
- Then you’ll want to prepare your homemade dressing. I talk a bit more about this below.
- Now it’s time to assemble the salad. Before putting your lettuce in a bowl, I rip it into smaller bites. Cut your apple and combine all ingredients in your favorite salad bowl. Crumble goat cheese on top, pour dressing and toss.
What substitutions can you make in this salad?
There is a lot of room to get creative with this salad if one of these flavors isn’t your favorite.
- If you don’t have pepitas at home, you can absolutely use pecans, or even walnuts or sunflower seeds. I would just suggest toasting them or candying them first. It really helps add some nice texture/crunch to the salad. You could use a combination of nuts/seeds
- I used a pink lady apple in this salad, but you can substitute any apples you have on hand. If you have options, I would do my best to stick to something that is more tart, like granny smith.
- You could use dried cherries or raisins in place of dried cranberries
- Goat cheese is not everyone’s favorite, although I love it so much! If it’s not your thing, you can select another crumbly, soft cheese, like feta.
If you have never homemade a dressing, don’t fret! This dressing, and most dressings, are so easy to put together. For the dressing, you need the following ingredients:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Garlic clove
What to serve with this salad?
- I like serving this salad with candied nuts as a side to parmesan pork chops or cheesy air fryer chicken
- Butternut squash soup and this salad are a favorite meal of mine
- I also like having a 1/2 ham and Swiss sandwich and this salad
Next time you’re looking for a delicious salad with candied nuts and/or seeds, this should be your go-to recipe!
Salad with candied nuts and or seeds
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp water
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or nuts
- 1/4 cup honey (4 Tbs.)
- 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 garlic clove pressed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 apple finely sliced. Pink Lady or Granny Smith
- 4 oz. goat cheese crumbled
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 5 oz, package Spring mix about 4 cups. I used a 5oz. package
To Toast and Candy Seeds or Nuts
- Combine all pepita ingredients, except pumpkin seeds, in a nonstick skillet.
- Cook over high heat for a minute or two until sugar is dissolved and bubbling.
- Add in pumpkin seeds and cook for another two minutes, until well-coated. Continue stirring.
- Remove from heat and spread on parchment paper. Cool and break apart.
To Make Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a Weck Jar and shake!
To Assemble the Salad
- Add greens into a salad bowl.
- Top greens with apple, candied pepitas, goat cheese, dried cranberries and pour dressing over salad. Toss salad, serve and enjoy