Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I’m sure when I grew up in the “olden days” there was a variety of apples available, but really, all I remember was the Red Delicious Apple. Now I certainly don’t want to offend any apple growers out there who grow the Red Delicious, or insult avid fans of the Red Delicious, but it’s because of that particular fruit that I never really took a liking to apples.  Unfortunately the Red Delicious is a mealy apple that’s not crisp or sweet or appealing in any way. Please don’t be mad at me for saying this, but I think it’s the truth.

Okay, fast forward to modern times. So, I walk into my local Whole Foods the other day and was overwhelmed by the sheer variety of apples they had for sale. You name it, Gala, Fuji, Jazz, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia, just to name a few. I couldn’t decide which variety to go with, so I bought them all.

Now, armed with a plethora of fall apples, came the decision of what to do with them. I had been to a restaurant the day before call Gjelina in Venice, California (which was quite hip and happening, I must say) and had their apple salad. I loved it so much I decided to recreate it at home. This Apple & Cheddar Salad is the perfect beginning to an autumn dinner or a Saturday brunch. The sweet crunch of the apples goes perfectly with the saltiness of the cheese.

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 large crisp apples, any variety
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 ounces of good quality cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 head of mustard greens
  • Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Place first 6 ingredients in a small jar and shake real well. Add in the olive oil and shake vigorously again so that dressing begins to thicken. I make the dressing a day in advance so that the flavors meld together. Refrigerate for up to one week.


  1. Place pine nuts in a small, frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until nuts begin to brown and release their natural oils. Place in a small dish to cool and set aside.
  2. With a sharp knife, chop your celery stalks crosswise into thin slices, or use a mandolin. Set aside.
  3. Thinly chop your mustard greens (chiffonade) and toss into a bowl or your can individually plate 4 separate salads.
  4. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the cheddar cheese and set aside.
  5. You can use a mandolin to slice the apples in round slices, or use a sharp knife to slice the apples into thin wedges, removing the core and seeds. Place the apple slices into a bowl of acidulated water. When you’re ready to plate your salad, take slices out of water, and pat dry.
  6. Plate all ingredients onto individual plates, or combine into a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

Makes 4 appetizer sized salads

Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Mama’s Tips

To stop fruit from oxidizing, place fruit in a bowl of 1 cup cold water to 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Increase the amount of water/juice depending on how much fruit you are using. When you’re ready to use the fruit, just pat dry with a paper towel.

Crisp Fall apples make a perfect salad.

Crisp Fall apples make a perfect salad.

Recipe: Easy

29 Comments on “Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette”

  1. This is a gorgeous salad. Lovely texture, flavors and variety of ingredients. The aged cheddar and crisp apple combination reminds me a bit of a delicious apple pie slice with a bit of cheddar on top – very midwestern.

    The mustard greens also peak my interest – they are SO tasty in a salad. Gosh, I am adoring this recipe, down to the crunchy, slightly sweet pignoles and unapologetically mustard forward vinaigrette. Dijon mustard is just toothsome.

    Isn’t it amazing how many apples are available to us now? Do you have any personal favorites? Gone are the days of only mealy, bland, mass-produced Red Delicious.

    Thanks for sharing – I have missed your posts!

    • Thanks Shanna, I always appreciate your comments! I was having some home remodeling done and didn’t have the use of my kitchen (it was awful) and therefore couldn’t post! Glad to be back. Anyway, I love all the apples out there today, but still don’t by the Red Delicious! LOL!

      • I am looking forward to reading/seeing the great food coming out of your newly remodeled kitchen! 🙂 You must have been in posting withdrawal! 😉 I am also really enjoying apple season. WF had some delicious organic, local Fuji apples on special – the kids and I bought about 15! 🙂 Happy cooking.

  2. What an absolutely beautiful salad.. I am definitely trying this on Sunday. I have all the ingredients, except for the mustard greens which I’ve added to my grocery list for the weekend… such wonderful flavors, I can’t wait to see how they dance! ❤ LOVE this. Your photos are fabulous…

  3. taplatt says:

    Apples and cheddar…such a good combination.

  4. Photos looking spectacular there lady!

  5. marazavrori says:

    I’m a real salad lover, so this means I’ve just got to try it. It sounds so extra crispy the way the discription you gave is such so harmonizing using ingredients that aren’t offten used in salads.

  6. dinnerbysusan says:

    Thanks for the oxidation tip! I usually put the slices in my vinaigrette, but that doesn’t always work so well, and they can get mushy. This is so much better!

  7. I have such a fondness for apple & cheese. It’s actually a favourite go-to snack, we always seem to have these in our home. My parents had three apple trees whilst I grew up (so funny enough,) there was always an overload of apples. My favourites were the Fuji for their crispness.

    Sadly the crab apples are the only ones left with their snowy tartness. Still very much loved but certainly snack & lunch worthy!

  8. Red Delicious Apples = I HEAR YOU. No imagination there whatsoever.

    This salad, though, looks sooo tasty. What a perfect combination of flavours.

  9. cloverleaf says:

    What a pretty salad! Have never had mustard greens in one — great idea!

  10. ohlidia says:

    Oh Sheryl, that looks utterly delish! I love salads, but never take the time to make beautiful ones like this. Must try!

  11. lolarugula says:

    Love the mix of ingredients in this! I will absolutely be making this soon. And it truly is amazing the variety of apples available nowadays…I remember there being about 3 or 4 in my youth, which I’m sure isn’t true, but it certainly seemed that way. 🙂

  12. KerryCan says:

    There’s a new apple, called Autumn Crisp, that’s perfect for salads because it is bred not to oxidize–it’s very slow to turn brown. And it’s yummy!

    • Mama's Gotta Bake says:

      Wow! I have never heard of the Autumn Crisp but love the idea of an apple that doesn’t turn brown quickly. Where do you find these apples, what part of the country?

      • KerryCan says:

        Upstate New York–I think they were developed by Cornell University. We first had them when they only had a number–New York 674–but then they got a cool name, too!

  13. This recipe and the photos made my mouth water! Apple and cheese is a wonderful combination.

    It is the season for all things apple. I have two big boxes of cooking apples from the tree in the garden. I need to make some applesauce to put in the freezer.

    I am not a fan of Red Delicious apples either, but I remember asking my mother to buy them when I was a little girl because I thought they looked so pretty. I think I was probably disappointed by the taste!

  14. Totally agree with you on the Red Delicious review. Hated them as a kid, still won’t choose them now. Fuji and Granny Smith all the way!

  15. thefolia says:

    We love Gjelina! I am in love with these photos too! Happy Nesting.

  16. Brooks says:

    Dear Sheryl, thank you for outing the Red Delicious and its mealy demeanor. Better yet, thank you for doling out this inspired recipe. The biggest surprise was the mustard greens—it has me completely intrigued. So much so, I’ve pinned this for a run in my new kitchen as soon as I settle into it. Cheers to you and your new culinary digs!

  17. themondaybox says:

    My afternoon nibble is often cheddar and apples! (I completely agree about Red Delicious! Its sort of like eating a slightly sweet potato.) Spicing it up with some mustard vinaigrette sounds wonderful. I tend to forgo salads as the weather gets cold but a salad with crunchy apples is just right for this season.

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