Arugula Salad with Apples & Manchego in Cider Vinaigrette

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

Bowl of arugula salad with apples and manchego in cider vinaigrette.

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
  • 3½ ounces Manchego, thinly sliced
  • ½ 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 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ 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.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 391
  • Fat: 35 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 9
  • Sodium: 356 mg
  • Cholesterol: 26 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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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  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m planning on making this salad for 8 people. Should I just double everything across the board? It seems like that will make a lot of dressing, but perhaps I won’t need all of it…?

    • — Helene on February 28, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Helene, Yes, I’d double everything. If you don’t want any dressing left over, you can get away with making 1.5 times the recipe.

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2024
      • Reply
  • Thanks for another terrific recipe, Jenn! This salad was a hit with everyone at Thanksgiving dinner. Really appreciate the clear and easy to follow step by step directions. And it’s a simple recipe – found everything needed in one trip to the gro.

    • — Staci on November 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Slowly working our way through your recipes. My boyfriend is increasingly impressed with your just right balance of flavours without resorting to huge list of ingredients. Made this rocket and apple salad to go with Kenji Lopez-Alt Chicken and Chickpea burgers (with mods by Ethan Cheblowski). Great pairing, your limited ingredients make for great balance in flavours, and yet another dressing to add to my repertoire. We omitted the nuts as burgers had enough protein. Realise I need to order your books – lovely original flavours for elevating everyday meals.

    • — Samantha on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • So great! Made this several times & it’s a hit every time. Currently scrolling thru other salad recipes on here to see what other fabulous ones you’ve got. Thanks!

    • — Heather W on May 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was a hit for Christmas dinner. I did sub spinach for the hostess who isn’t a fan of arugula. Very good, but I will definitely try with arugula next time.

    • — Sharon on December 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • Looks delicious – can I sub EVOO for the vegetable oil?

    • — RH on December 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • I like vegetable oil better here because it’s more neutral-tasting but olive oil will definitely work. Hope you enjoy the salad!

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • This salad was a big hit with the family. It was simple to make and really delicious.
    One of our family members has a mild allergy to apples. So, I substituted two pears and that worked out very well.

    • — Rob K on December 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • The salad dressing is very good, a perfect balance of flavours.

    • — Helen on July 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow!! This salad is one of the best I’ve had. Better than most restaurant salads. My family (all ages and picky foodies) LOVED it. Vinaigrette is perfectly balanced. I topped this salad with Jenn’s candied pecans. Memorable! Who thought a salad could be memorable?!

    • — S from DC on July 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • We really liked this. Very simple and tasty side salad. Would also work well with blue cheese crumbles and toasted pecans.

  • Thanks for another great recipe!! This is our absolute fave and “go-to” salad! I always use a combo of good quality olive oil and avocado oil, since we do not use seed oils (vegetable oils) in our home. Thanks again!

    • My son enlightened us on the seed oils. Can I ask you what you use in place of vegetable oil in cakes and desserts? We are really wanting to get away from seed oils. Thank you for any info you can share!

      • — Cindy on October 15, 2023
      • Reply
      • Wonderful salad as is or with combo of arugula, spinach and pears as an alternative to the apple. We too have jumped off the seed oil train and now uses avocado oil which is very neutral in flavor ( Marianne’s from Costco ) as replacement for anything calling for vegetable oil. Thank you Jen for your consistently great recipes!

        • — Dawn on December 4, 2023
        • Reply
  • a perfect salad from our perfectly wonderful chef…light, easy to put together and visually appealing. Thanks Jenn. The cheese is a must. I used toasted slivered almonds from Trader Joes Served with oven roasted salmon with a country Dijon mustard and dill weed topping and Israeli couscous with chopped dates, orange zest and chopped scallions. Harcourt Verte looked nice on the plate. A good white wine finished it off perfectly

    • — Carol J Winkelman
    • Reply
  • This salad and dressing have become weekly staples in my house. I don’t use arugula, but a spring blend lettuce mix, and it works perfectly. Just a really good salad and dressing.

  • I made this salad in October 2021… It was excellent! The vinaigrette was amazingly easy and super yummy!!

  • OMG this was fabulous! Up till now your Brussels sprout and Kale salad’s been the winner in our house but we have a new Number 1. 🥳 Thank you, love your recipes!

  • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, would you be able to include the metric measurements? Many thanks, Claire.

    • Hi Claire, I just added them. Hope you enjoy the salad!

      • Hi Jenn!
        Just wondering if you think this salad would work well with grilled/roasted salmon?

        • Sure, I think it would pair nicely. 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This was absolutely delicious. It is my new favorite salad! So good. Thank you Jenn!

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

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

  • My favourite salad of all time! How long can I store the dressing for in a container in the fridge?

    • So glad you like it! The dressing should keep nicely in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

  • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Fantastic! My family wanted to lick the bowl. A great combination of flavors and textures. Delicious.

  • 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!

    • Great salad! Made it for Valentine’s dinner and we loved it. Really simple too. Thanks!!!!

  • 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!

    • Hi Judy, Honey would work really well.

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

  • Excellent! Not sure why this is so outstanding but it really is! Will make often!

  • 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.

  • Easy, fresh, delicious! Will definitely be making again!! Enjoyed with Jenn’s baked ziti with sausage.

  • 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!!

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