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Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas

best green salad recipe

Healthy, attainable, feel-good recipes—those are my favorite. Take this simple green salad, which has been my go-to holiday salad for five years now.

I’ve brought it to too many Friendsgivings to count, and my family has enjoyed it at Thanksgiving as well. It’s beautiful, easy to make, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

This salad features fresh spring greens, tart Granny Smith apple, sweet dried cranberries and creamy goat cheese, tossed in a simple apple cider vinaigrette (recipe included).

green salad ingredients

I usually try to outdo myself when it comes to salads, but I kept this one simple. It’s the perfect side salad for all of your cool-weather meals.

Make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any meal in between!

toasted pepitas and chopped green apple

Green Salad Serving Suggestions

This is my favorite green salad to serve with heavier holiday/comfort foods. Consider pairing this salad with lasagna, baked ziti and stuffed acorn squash.

Serve this salad with a creamy soup to round out a light meal. It would go especially well with my creamy pumpkin soup, best butternut soup, and creamy roasted cauliflower soup.

easy green salad recipe

Green Salad Tips

Spring greens wilt quickly once they’ve been tossed with dressing. If you are preparing this salad in advance, keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to serve. For best results, chop the apple just before tossing everything together, since apples brown when they are exposed to air.

For a salad with greater longevity, swap a big bunch of chopped kale (thick ribs removed) for the spring greens. Kale is a more hardy green that can withstand a long soak in dressing—in fact, it gets better as it marinates. At this rate, you could also add the apples—the vinegar will help keep them fresh.

favorite green salad recipe

Please let me know how this salad turns out for you in the comments! I’m always so happy to hear from you.

Looking for more healthy yet holiday-worthy salads? Check these out:

  • Pomegranate & Pear Green Salad with Ginger Dressing
  • Honey Mustard Brussels Sprout Slaw
  • Farro and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese
  • Arugula and Wild Rice Salad with Zippy Lemon Dressing
  • Hearty Sweet Potato, Arugula & Wild Rice Salad with Ginger Dressing
  • Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese

green salad recipe with apples pepitas goat cheese

Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side salads 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: By hand
  • Cuisine: American

My favorite fresh salad featuring healthy greens, sliced apple, toasted pepitas, dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese. Toss with my simple apple cider vinaigrette (recipe below) or use balsamic dressing in a pinch. Recipe yields 2 full-sized salads or 4 to 6 side salads.



Green salad

  • 5 ounces (about 5 cups) spring greens salad blend
  • 1 large or 2 small Granny Smith apple(s)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or chopped raw pecans
  • 2 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup)

Apple cider vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Toast the pepitas: In a medium-sized skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are turning golden on the edges and making little popping noises (if using pecans instead, warm them just until they are fragrant). Transfer the pepitas to a small bowl to cool.
  2. Make the dressing: In a cup or jar, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and salt until well blended. Season to taste with pepper.
  3. Just before serving, chop the apple into thin, bite-sized pieces. Place your greens in a large serving bowl. Top with sliced apple, dried cranberries and toasted pepitas. Use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad.
  4. Drizzle the salad with just enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves once tossed (you probably won’t need all of it). Gently toss to mix all of the ingredients and serve!


Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup for the honey and omit the cheese.
Storage suggestions: Spring greens wilt quickly once they’ve been tossed with dressing, so store dressing separately from the greens. Apples oxidize quickly once they’re cut open, so I chop them just before serving the salad. For a salad with more longevity, swap chopped kale for the spring greens (like this). Bonus? The dressing will keep the chopped apples looking fresh.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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