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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  • This was a great salad to accompany a soup supper. I paired it with the Italian Wedding Soup and served red wine poached pears as a dessert. A healthy and well reviewed dinner party menu!

    • — Pat Grieshop on November 12, 2021
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  • Absolutely delicious! Prepared this last night as a prelude to Jacques Pepin’s Split Pea Soup from his Apprentice book. This salad harmonizes crisp, saltly, tart, creamy, sweet, peppery. Loved it so much, it will be our salad for Sunday dinner alongside Pepin’s Poulet a la Creme, rice, green beans (cooking through the Apprentice book…) Thank you for the great recipes, instruction and inspiration.

    • — Sarah Currie, Castlegar, BC on October 31, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn, would you be able to include the metric measurements? Many thanks, Claire.

    • — claire on October 28, 2021
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    • Hi Claire, I just added them. Hope you enjoy the salad!

      • — Jenn on November 2, 2021
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  • A lovely and pretty salad for autumn (and any time)! I used pecans, slightly toasted, since I have a large bag of them in the freezer. Served it with Jen’s recipe for Penne with Vodka Sauce which I topped with some large roasted shrimp. A warm baguette and butter was great with both the salad and the penne. I’m definitely making this salad again! In making the cider vinegar vinaigrette earlier in the day which I poured into a jar, it was easy putting the salad together later on with just giving the vinaigrette a shake.

    • — Sandra H. on October 25, 2021
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  • Given Jen’s excellent talents, I decided to pair this salad with her French Lentil Soup (which I’ve made many times; but the salad was a first). My only problem was in figuring how to prepare this for my lunch guest, as I don’t like doing much prep while my guests are here for a meal. So this is what I did:

    I made everything a day in advance and stored the prepped ingredients in the ‘fridge … except the toasted almonds.

    I cut the apple (a Honeycrisp) into thin slices, but because it was a big apple, I also cut the slices to bite size. I then placed them in a bowl of water with paper towels on top. (The towels get wet and hold the apples in the water so they aren’t exposed to air, which is what browns them.)

    I then used the slicing element on my cheese grater, and cut what I guessed to be the right amount of manchego. (Close to 3/4 of a cup.) I placed the cheese slices in a sandwich baggie.

    I lightly toasted half a cup of almond slices, cooking them at 350° for 5 minutes. I put them in a cup and let them sit on the kitchen counter.

    The salad greens were a mix “spicy” greens that were prepackaged. (Baby arugula. red mustard leaves, mizuna, and water cress.)

    The next morning, I took the salad dressing, salad greens, and cheese out of the ‘fridge a few hours before my guest would arrive because I find most salads taste better when served at room temperature.

    When my guest arrived, I tossed the greens with the dressing, then added the cheese and toasted almonds. Then I took the apple slices from the refrigerator and dried them by setting them on paper towels and using a second set of paper towels to tamp them dry. Then I tossed the apple slices into the mix, tossed, and served.

    It was fabulous! And does, indeed, pair well with the French Lentil Soup. My lunch guest said “I can’t decide which bite to take next: the soup or the salad! They’re both perfect.”

    It’s that good. Thank you Jen, yet again.

    • — RobinS. on October 16, 2021
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  • This was absolutely delicious. It is my new favorite salad! So good. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Mollie on June 19, 2021
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  • This is my favorite salad and dressing!!! Thank you so much!!! My question is, how many calories per serving (2 tbsps) of the dressing?

    • — Emily on May 30, 2021
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    • Hi Emily, I just calculated the dressing ingredients and it looks like a serving of it would be 181 calories. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2021
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  • My favourite salad of all time! How long can I store the dressing for in a container in the fridge?

    • — Hilary on February 6, 2021
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    • So glad you like it! The dressing should keep nicely in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2021
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  • This is such a simple yet delicious salad I can make it on a whim. My family loves the dressing so I no longer need bottles of 5 different kinds. I usually have all the ingredients on hand and if I don’t, I easily substitute it with something similar. Love it!

    • — Kathy on January 29, 2021
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  • This salad is amazing. Simple and delicious. It’s easy to make and pairs well with so many foods. I love to support small and local stores… but if you have a Costco near you- it’s the most cost-effective way to buy Manchego cheese! I love making this recipe on “pizza” night because it’s so fresh and healthy and lightens up pizza night.

    • — Kaye Anne Starosciak on January 28, 2021
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  • I usually have arugula and apples on hand, and now thanks to this recipe, I make sure that manchego’s in the fridge, as well. Wonderful flavors and crunch, such a great addition to my salad repertoire!

    • — Kathy on January 28, 2021
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  • This is my husband’s favorite salad! I make it at least 4-5 times a week. Every time I make it for company, they ask for the recipe. Definite keeper!

    • — Marianne S. on January 28, 2021
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  • Delightfully balanced salad. The flavors are so complimentary. I would definitely make sure that your shallots are diced as small as possible as this improves the flavor and presentation.

    • — Rachel on January 28, 2021
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  • Fantastic! My family wanted to lick the bowl. A great combination of flavors and textures. Delicious.

    • — Michele on January 28, 2021
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  • I made this AH-mazing salad last night to accompany your French Lentil soup and both were so delicious! I loved how light but filling the lentil soup was and also the salad dressing paired with the manchego, apple, and almond slices was exquisite. Thank you for creating these!

    • — Deborah H on January 25, 2021
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    • Great salad! Made it for Valentine’s dinner and we loved it. Really simple too. Thanks!!!!

      • — Danielle on February 14, 2021
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  • If you don’t have maple syrup at hand, do you have any suggestions for substitutes? (We only use pancake syrup/honey in our house) Looking forward to trying this!

    • — Judy on December 22, 2020
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    • Hi Judy, Honey would work really well.

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2020
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  • This is one of my family’s favorite salads!! We have it all the time, and it’s so easy to make.

    • — Virginia Mead on December 14, 2020
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  • Excellent! Not sure why this is so outstanding but it really is! Will make often!

    • — Kim Douglas on November 1, 2020
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  • Really great salad – have used both Manchego and Parm and they both work. I always have these ingredients on hand so this has become a go to for our family.

    • — Andrew Wren on October 28, 2020
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  • Easy, fresh, delicious! Will definitely be making again!! Enjoyed with Jenn’s baked ziti with sausage.

    • — Hilary on October 25, 2020
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  • 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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