Arugula Salad with Apples & Manchego in Cider Vinaigrette

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With tart apples, nutty manchego, and a cider vinaigrette, this autumn arugula salad hits all the right taste buttons.

arugula salad

All I can tell you about this arugula salad is that I made half the recipe the other day to photograph it for Serious Eats and I ate the entire thing standing at my kitchen counter at 10:30 AM. Definitely not my proudest moment but delicious nonetheless!

Arugula, Apples & Manchego in Cider Vinaigrette

With tart apples, nutty manchego, and a cider vinaigrette, this autumn arugula salad hits all the right taste buttons.

Servings: 4


For the Salad

  • 5 ounces arugula or baby arugula
  • 1 crisp apple, such as Fuji or Honeycrisp
  • 3-1/2 ounces Manchego, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted if desired

For the Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, from 1 shallot
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place the arugula in a serving bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette again until well combined, then add to the salad, little by little, until the greens are well dressed; you may have a little left over. Right before serving, cut the apple into thin slices and toss into the salad along with the Manchego and almonds. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve immediately.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • What a fantastic salad! I added bibb lettuce to the arugula, and used avocado oil in the dressing which was perfect. I used chopped TJ’s lightly salted almonds, and Parmesano Reggiano for the cheese. I also sub’d red onion for the shallots which I didn’t have on hand. This is definitely a go-to and something that other ingredients can be used for, like strawberries with feta cheese and pumpkin seeds. Thank you so much!!

    • — Ellen on October 22, 2020
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  • Really delicious and balanced flavors with the manchego, Apple and dressing. The arugula is perfect with it.
    Thank you!

    • — Kathryn on October 22, 2020
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  • Excellent salad. Thanks Jenn. As always, your recipes are dependably delicious! Will be making this often : )

    • — Kim Douglas on October 16, 2020
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  • This was a hit! I did not have the recommended cheese and apple; I ended up using a Gala apple and parmigiano reggiano. It was amazing! Thanks again.

    • — Taline on June 14, 2020
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  • This has become a favorite salad; guests love it and it goes so well with Spanish/Latin dishes!

    • — Yolanda on February 9, 2020
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  • This salad is divine. I’ve made it twice now, once for my family and once for a dinner party where everyone raved about it. As my husband said, it tastes better than any salad has a right to taste.

    • — Jaclyn on January 29, 2020
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    • LOL – glad you like it!

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2020
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  • This salad is soooo good! Made it for a dinner party and everyone requested the recipe. Made it as directed, no changes. Every recipe I’ve tried do far from this site has been delicious. You need to make this!

    • — Christene on January 5, 2020
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  • Made it two nights in a row, absolutely to die for. Second night no arugula left, used mixed greens – worked well:)

    • — Kathy on December 29, 2019
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  • Jen, if guests are allergic to sheep’s cheese (manchego), what other cheese (cow’s milk) could you recommend? Thanks.

    • — M.C. on December 26, 2019
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    • Hi M.C. I think Parmigiano-Reggiano or a sharp, good quality cheddar would both work well.

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2019
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      • Thanks!

        • — M.C. on December 28, 2019
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  • I’ve had this salad for dinner three nights in a row. I love everything about it. After I made it the first time, I called my sister and said, “I’ve found our Thanksgiving salad.” It is sublime.

    • — Susy Hoefer on November 9, 2019
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  • I love your recipes. I want to make the salad tonight, but is Apple cider vinegar the same as cider vinegar? Thank you so much!

    • — Mary Kay Adamovicz on November 7, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary Kay, yes they are the same. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2019
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  • This was so very good! Absolutely love the dressing and the Manchego cheese is super yummy. Really makes the salad. I ended up using a combination of Arugula and baby spinach. Then added a spring mix (baby lettuce, radicchio) to it because I needed more greens – it went over very well at my house! Recipe makes a good amount of dressing too!
    Will definitely be making this for my Thanksgiving salad this year – light and fresh. Should be a beautiful combination with the turkey. In fact, my husband bbq’d some chicken to add to the salad for some protein. Perfection!
    Thanks Jen for yet another winner!!

    • — Lisa on November 7, 2019
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  • I love, love, love , love, love this salad Jenn! I didn’t change a thing! I even drove 20 miles to get Manchego cheese. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!

    • — Nancy R Schindler on November 7, 2019
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    • 20 miles — that’s commitment — so glad you like it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2019
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  • Hi Jen, I cannot have dairy and prefer not to use dairy free cheese as a substitute. Can you suggest a third ingredient that would pair well with arugula and apple? Thanks!

    • — Melissa on September 21, 2019
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    • Hi Melissa, you could incorporate another veggie of your choice here, or something with a different texture like croutons. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 22, 2019
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    • We have grandchildren who can’t eat dairy products, and I find that a little crisp bacon works well in the place of cheese in a recipe like this – gives a similar salty, savoury hit. If you don’t want to add meat, some roasted salted walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans would be good too, and would go well with the apples. Come to think of it, they would go well in here anyway. Might have to try that.

      • — Jayne on November 8, 2019
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  • Delicious summer salad! Making it for the second time👍

    • — Gloria Bolger on August 20, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn! This is one of my favorite dressings. How long would you say the dressing will last in the fridge?

    • — Caroline on February 11, 2019
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    • I think it would be at it’s best for 3 – 4 days, but you could probably get away with a day or two longer than that. Glad you like it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2019
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  • I’ve made this salad several times now and it always perfect as a side for lunch or tripled- and brought to pot luck party. It ALWAYS gets amazing compliments. I could eat just this salad twice in the same day. It’s crisp and crunchy and refreshing.

    Question Jen: is it better or healthier to use vegetable oil or olive oil for vinegrettes? I would love to hear your thoughts!

    Thank you for sharing so many special recipes. It has truly made a difference in our home!

    • — Kristen on November 26, 2018
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    • Glad you like the salad, Kristin! I’m sure it’s healthier to use olive oil in vinaigrettes but I don’t always think it’s the best choice. It depends on the salad but sometimes the flavor of olive oil can be overpowering. Vegetable oil is more neutral and allows the other flavors in the salad to shine. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 26, 2018
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  • Would you consider avocado oil the same as vegetable oil? If not, what do you mean by vegetable oil?

    • Hi Bette, vegetable oil and avocado oil are not the same. Vegetable oil is very mild tasting so I think that’s the best choice for this dressing. Using avocado oil would give it a slightly different flavor, but still enjoyable, I’m sure.

      • — Jenn on October 26, 2018
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  • This is a winner, Jenn! It pairs well with nearly everything and the flavors are so well balanced. I’ve made it twice and it was easy enough for an after work dinner on a busy day. My husband thought it was delicious and he isn’t a big fan of arugula. Thank you, Jenn!

  • You are a genius with salad! This was unbelievably delicious!

  • just made this for supper. I can understand why you ate half of it standing up in your kitchen – this salad is delicious!!!!
    looking forward to your cookbook.

  • This salad is SO YUMMY! I fallowed the directions exactly and have already made it three times in one week. It’s so easy to make and everyone I’ve served it to loved it! I served it as a side, but would totally eat this as a meal on it’s own. Such a great salad, I want to eat it every day.

  • This is one of my favorite dressings and the salad combination was amazing. I’m a Texas girl so I added some rare flat iron steak sliced on top! Sooooooo good!

  • I was unable to find Manchego cheese so decided to substitute Feta (any other suggestions?). I also had to substitute a bag of arugula/baby spinach mix. Still, the dressing was nice and zingy and the salad was a big hit and has inspired me to start adding to fruit to most of my winter salads.

  • This salad sounds amazing
    Can chick peas be added rather then the nuts. Also if not a fan of mustard what else can you use?…thank you!!

    • Hi Michele, Sure, chickpeas would work here. And you could try a bit of horseradish in place of the mustard, but it will give the dressing a slightly different taste. LMK how it turns out!

  • I can’t wait to try this recipe…I love all your recipes, as so many do!! Would I be able to take this to a tennis luncheon?? Not sure if this can be prepared in advance unless I put the apple slices in lemon juice?? What do you suggest? Thanks in advance.

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply
    • Sure, Wendy – you could try that or just slice the apple at the last minute. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • 5 stars!

    This was delicious! The salad is lovely.
    I did not change the ingredients but I did make it a second time with Parmesan shavings. Both times it was scrumptious!

    Any recipe I try of yours is always excellent as is without changes!

  • This salad dressing is the first homemade dressing I’ve loved for a very long time. It is so delicious that a few hours after dinner, I was thinking about how I’d like to use it in my lunch the next day. Combining it with the softly crisp, lightly sweet Fuji apple slices; the mildly bitter baby arugula; the gently crumbling, salty Manchego; and the smooth crunch of the sliced almonds is … well, heavenly. I will be making this many more times!

  • Thank you ! Perfect for Advent Social of Knights of Columbus , was enjoyed by all not drop left !!!
    Was not easy task this afternoon to cook two roast beef to the sounds of loud Army- Navy game , the recipe for this lovely salad which I increased for 40 people and served in giant antique punch bowl , well I thank you again St Marys and St,Joseph’s Parish Old Town Alexandria enjoyed to the last drop !!! Oh and thanks to our Valentino at whole foods who always advises so well !!!

  • This is one of my favorite recipes and I often bring it to pot-lucks: easy to double!
    Depending on the time of year (and if they are ripe) I have substituted pears for the apples and for an added kick, have thrown in some candied walnuts.
    Delicious no matter what!

  • Fantastic salad! I love how light the dressing is, let’s all the flavours come through. I’ve tried three of your salads so far and loved them all!

  • Can I use other lettuces than arugula?

    • Hi Nancy, while spinach lacks the peppery flavor that arugula has, it would be a good substitute. Watercress would also work well here. Hope you enjoy the salad!

  • Hi! Would roasted walnut oil or olive oil work for the dressing?

    • Hi Lori, vegetable oil is very mild tasting so I think that’s the best choice for this dressing. Using olive or walnut oil would give it a slightly different flavor, but still enjoyable, I’m sure.

  • Another very tasty salad! Love the flavor combinations.

  • This was wonderful & a great combo of tastes, sweet apples, salty cheese and peppery greens!

  • This has become my go to dressing. Love it! I wish that I understood dressing ratios better, for oils, vinegar, mustards, citruses, etc. I do not usually have shallots or fresh herbs on hand, so I substituted with onion powder.

  • I have been loving this recipe lately. And as commented above, delish with winter pears and cranberries. Keep these coming, all are favs in our house!

  • My family loves this salad. I add dried cranberries and it is delicious!

  • This salad dressing is actually how I got my kids to eat salad! They absolutely love it! I make it 4 times a week. Instead of almonds I substitute candied walnuts or pecans!

  • Amazing, enough said!

  • This salad is asked for over and over at my house. It is the favorite, hands down. The dressing, apples and cheese go great together.

  • What a beautiful website…very classy. And the recipes look fantastic!

    • Thank you, Allyson!

  • Made this the other night after an intense cycling workout, and I have to confess, I ate the whole flipping recipe, 5 oz of arugula, the juicy Fuji apple, the crunch of the toasted almonds, and that cheese…sweet Jesus it was good!!!!!!!!

  • Superb salad. Also very tasty if you have ripe pears (instead of apples

  • This is now my favorite salad!! The flavors are sooooo good together!! Nom Nom. Nom……

  • Arugula and manchego cheese are two of my favorite foods. This was the first time I had them combined. Wonderful!

  • This salad inspired me to begin making my own dressings. Love the shallots and manchego combination.

  • Love this salad. I’ve made it several times. Once when I was out of manchego cheese, I used parmigiano reggiano – that was good, too.

  • made this last night and i can’t wait to finish it off tonight!! love the combination of sweet and tangy and yummy!! delish! and i love the new website, so easy to find your wonderful recipes! bravo!!

  • This salad is fabulous – as are so many of your recipes.

  • This salad is great! It will be in my repertoire going forward. Thank you.

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