My Mom's Apple-Feta Salad with Candied Walnuts

Sharing my second family recipe of the week. First, it was a cranberry dish from my dad. And today, it's a salad from my mom. 

This salad is the best...and I'm not kidding you! We make it for pretty much every holiday and you can bet it'll be on the table this Christmas.

For the past several years, I've been on "salad duty" for Christmas day lunch - which involves making a big bowl of this apple-feta salad. Growing up (and still), my favorite part was the candied walnuts. They are nutty, sweet, salty and I found myself picking them out and eating them all by their crunchy self. And I don't think I was the only one. So, I always make double or triple the batch of these nuts because everyone snacks on them in the kitchen throughout the day! Just pour the extra candied walnuts in a small bowl and watch them disappear.  

This recipe is a crowd pleaser and has become a family tradition. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as my family does! 

My Mom's Apple-Feta Salad

(makes 12 servings)

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (or oil)

  • 1 cup walnut halves (or large walnut pieces)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

  • 5 cups chopped romaine

  • 5 cups red leaf lettuce or mixed greens

  • 1 medium red apple, unpeeled and chopped

  • 1 medium green apple, unpeeled and chopped

  • 1/2 - 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • Dried cranberries (I prefer Eden brand - naturally sweetened!)


  1. Make the candied walnuts: In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the walnuts and sprinkle with the sugar and black pepper. Stir until well coated. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool.

  2. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, apples, feta and cranberries. Toss salad in the vinaigrette (recipe below) and sprinkle with the candied walnuts.


  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 tsp. sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1/8 tsp. salt

  • 1/8 tsp. dried parsley flakes

  • 1/ 8 tsp. black pepper


  1. In a blender, process all of the vinaigrette ingredients together until blended. Or, you can just shake the ingredients up in a mason jar with a lid or whisk them together in a bowl.

  2. Drizzle over the salad and store any extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator for the week.

This recipe is very flexible! Use whatever lettuce you have on-hand. You can add chopped tomatoes or mushrooms. You can omit the feta if you don't want the dairy. Or, omit the sugar in the candied walnuts and the vinaigrette if you want to cut back on the sweet stuff. And I prefer to use Eden brand dried cranberries which are naturally sweetened with apple juice and no added sugar!

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods and #MyHolidayTradish. Be sure to check out for more holiday traditions! Plus there is also a Free Groceries Giveaway to enter!