Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad

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Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad with spinach, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a simple maple mustard dressing is the perfect salad for fall. It goes great with any meal. 

Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad with spinach, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a simple maple mustard dressing is the perfect salad for fall. #salad #glutenfree

I have been baking up all of my favorite fall recipes…pumpkin cinnamon cookies, apple slab piepumpkin cream cheese muffins, and salted caramel apple crumb bars. Our kitchen has been smelling so good and I have been enjoying every bite, but my jeans have been feeling a little tight…ha! I decided it was time to take a break from fall baking and make a healthy fall salad. I am all about balance:) I made this easy Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad and it is fall perfection!

Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad is the perfect side dish for fall and Thanksgiving!

I eat apples every single day, no matter what time of year it is, but I usually eat more than one apple a day during the fall because they are SO good. I HAD to put them in this salad because I can’t get enough. I love apple season.

This easy salad recipe has all of my favorite ingredients:

  • spinach
  • quinoa
  • apples
  • walnuts
  • dried cranberries
  • goat cheese

The quinoa salad is finished with a maple mustard dressing that pulls all of the fall flavors together. Don’t skip the dressing, I promise it is easy to make. You can whisk it up in just a few minutes.

Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad with maple mustard dressing is an easy side dish for the holidays!

This loaded salad is filling enough to be a meal, I love eating it for lunch, or it can be served as a side dish to any meal. You will love all of the textures and flavors… protein-packed quinoa, leafy green spinach, crisp apples, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, creamy goat cheese, and that amazing maple mustard dressing.

This easy Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad would make a great side dish to your Thanksgiving meal too. I know it will be making an appearance at our holiday meal, but I can’t wait that long to enjoy it again so it will be lunch today! I love this salad and I hope you do too!

Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad with spinach, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a simple maple mustard dressing is the perfect salad for fall.

Apple Walnut Quinoa Salad

This is the perfect salad for fall! Enjoy it for lunch, dinner, or serve it as a side dish for Thanksgiving.
4.84 from 56 votes


For the maple mustard dressing:

For the quinoa salad:

  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples (Honeycrisp, Gala, or Fuji are my favorite)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (can use feta cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


  • First, make the maple mustard dressing. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the spinach, cooked quinoa, apples, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and walnuts. Toss until salad is combined. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Drizzle with dressing and toss again. Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 330kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 83mg, Potassium: 274mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 1554IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 2mg
Keywords gluten free

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. 5 stars
    Look so delicious!!! I want to eat all of this at the first moment when I see them.Thank you for sharing these food.

    1. I just made this for lunch (sized it down for one). It was so delicious!! I will definitely be making it again.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner and it was fantastic!! Great fall recipe that isn’t a soup, it’s been super hot and humid this week! The dressing was great too, I added a little more mustard and apple cider vinegar for some extra punch. Great combination of flavors!

    1. Glad you enjoyed your first experience with quinoa! We have a lot of other quinoa recipes on our site too!

  3. 5 stars
    I love salads with quinoa, such a special flavor! I’m thinking of adding just a wee bit of sliced onion…think it’d give a nice touch (since I love onion).

  4. 5 stars
    Made this salad tonight,it’s so good can’t stop eating .I’ve been  making yours salad and I’m never disappointed.

  5. How long will this keep? I like to make lunch for the week on Sunday and need it to hold up. Any tips/suggestions are welcome. TIA

    1. If you want it to last longer you can always wait to add the dressing until you are ready to serve it.

  6. How far ahead of serving can I add the dressing? Need to hold it for a big buffet dinner spread this evening

    1. You can toss the dressing in right before serving. I enjoy the leftovers the next day and the salad is still good, but if you are serving it to guests, I would wait to toss right before.

  7. 5 stars
    The best grain salad ever! I’ve subbed farro for quinoa for a bit heartier salad; I’ve also used different greens. The combo of ingredients and the dressing makes this fabulous!

  8. In one word: Phenomenal! The combination of savoury and sweet flavours is superb! This will be my go-to quinoa salad recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      Dry quinoa triples, so just divide by three. Two thirds cup dry quinoa, one and one third cups water or broth. (Twice as much liquid as quinoa)

  9. Hi Maria,

    If I wanted to use 3 cups of cooked quinoa should I make a little more dressing? 1 cup dried gives you 3 cups cooked, 1/2 cup yields 11/2 cups cooked so I am in a quandary…LOL



  10. We had this for lunch today. We used Spring Mix greens and Granny Smith apples. It turned out delicious! Thanks!

  11. All the comments about this salad raved about how delicious it is. So we made this tonight for dinner. It was so very good. Great combination of ingredients. I think the homemade citrus vinegarette dressing puts it over the top.

  12. 5 stars
    The flavors in this salad are so delicious not to mention colorful. The only thing I would do differently is to tear the spinach into smaller pieces. Since I planned this for lunch over the course of two days for my husband and myself, I added apple to each plate rather than the whole salad.

  13. 5 stars
    This salad was so good! I enjoyed the combination of flavors. Since there are 2 of us, I made the whole recipe, but only assembled enough for 2, and have left overs for a few more days. Actually, I was so obsessed with this salad that in the middle of the night I decided I was going to have another one for breakfast with a fried egg on top – it made for a great breakfast!

  14. 5 stars
    I just had to to comment because I’ve been making this salad regularly for around a year now and this dressing is literally life changing, I never used to be able to eat salad every day until now! I switch the toppings up, right now I’m doing quinoa, strawberries and blueberries, homemade granola and goat cheese and it is DEEEEELISHHHHH! thank you <3

  15. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this recipe. I really enjoyed the ingredients and the salad dressing. A good complement with other proteins or by itself. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for another winner, Maria.

  16. 5 stars
    I made this for lunch and it’s incredible! I’m trying to eat healthier and this is the perfect delicious and filling salad for the fall.

  17. 4 stars
    I made this recipe using blue cheese crumbles because that seems to be what my husband comes home with whenever I have feta on the shopping list. I also substituted blueberries for the cranberries because that’s what I had on hand. All very good. Basically any combination of sweet autumnal fruits will work well in this recipe. It’s the lovely maple dressing that carries the day.

  18. 5 stars
    Used feta because our grocery was out of goat cheese, but it was still so good! My 7 year old asked to try it and ate a whole bowl – her first time eating raw spinach!

  19. I just tried this even the dressing tried to modified it to a lower fat and sugar content but still turned out really good and very healthy too. Thank you for this recipe. I just want to suggest to please include the nutrition facts of your recipe

    1. With everyone’s modifications, it’s probably better for people to enter their own food for nutritional information.

  20. 5 stars
    I wish I could rate this 10 stars!! SO. GOOD!! I had some kale to use up and no spinach, so kale it was! This truly a new favorite. Thank you.

  21. 5 stars
    LOVED! Super easy, great to make ahead of time and delicious, bright flavors with lots of color and pizazz.

  22. 5 stars
    This salad is delicious! I used mixed greens instead of spinach. I brought it to a picnic at the beach and everyone loved it; I even got asked for the recipe. This salad is so easy to make, with ingredients I always have on hand. I will be making it again and again.

  23. This salad is wonderful. So much good flavor. I take it to parties and everyone loves it. I use feta
    cheese because most people love that.
    Thanks for a great recipe.
    I did not wait til fall to make it.

  24. 5 stars
    The dressing is fabulous! Added dried apricots and blue cheese crumbles bc it’s all I had on hand. Definitely a keeper.

  25. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this recipe. It comes together very quickly and the dressing is sooo good. I have also added rotisserie chicken to it.

    1. Yes! You can make the dressing and quinoa ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for 4 days. Assemble the salad when you are ready!