Autumn harvest salad: fennel-roasted apples, grapes, blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts

Autumn harvest salad

Raw apples are stunning in salads – they’re crunchy, not too sweet and delightfully refreshing. They add an addictive crispness to anything they’re tossed with. But oven-roast the slices before adding them to your favorite greens and you have a whole new way to experience your apples!

Here the apple slices are coated with crushed fennel seeds and Calvados (the powerful French apple Cognac) before being baked. As the apples roast, their flavor deepens and their natural sugars intensify.

Paired with grapes, blue cheese (or feta!) and toasted hazelnuts, the succulent fennel-roasted apples make every bite of this autumn salad a true celebration of fall’s bounty.

Food & wine pairing: Chardonnay with autumn harvest salad

White wine iconAlthough I’m not a fan of Chardonnays that have spent too much time in oak, a Chardonnay that has aged in old French oak barrels with a small percentage of new oak, would work perfectly with this salad. Look for a Chardonnay with apple and hazelnut notes, from The Côte d’Or or Mâconnais in Burgundy or from California.


Fennel-roasted apples


Autumn harvest salad: fennel-roasted apples, grapes, blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts

serves 4
active time: 30 min

For the roasted apples

  1. 3 firm-fleshed apples (Gala, Braeburn, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Macoun…) – unpeeled, quartered, cored and each quarter cut in half
  2. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted
  4. 1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
  5. 1 tablespoon Calvados or brandy
  6. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – coarsely crushed in a mortar

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  2. 3 tablespoons roasted hazelnut or roasted walnut oil
  3. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel greens or dill
  4. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  5. freshly ground white pepper to taste

For the salad

  1. 5 oz (140 g) baby mizuna, baby arugula or mesclun – rinsed and spun dry
  2. 24 large seedless grapes – halved lengthwise
  3. 8 oz (225 g) blue cheese or feta – cut in 4 – 1/4″ cubes
  4. 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts (see cook’s note) – coarsely crushed in a mortar
  5. freshly ground white pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 475ºF (246ºC).
  2. Step 1: Place the apple slices in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice, melted butter, oil, Calvados and fennel seeds and toss with your fingers until the apple slices are well coated. Lay the slices in a non-stick baking pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and drizzle with the juices left in the bowl. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the slices and return to oven. Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, transfer to a tray and cool to room temperature.
  3. Step 2: To make the vinaigrette – Place all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
  4. Step 3: Place the baby greens in a large bowl and toss with half the dressing. Place a small mound of the baby greens in the center of four individual plates or salad bowls. Garnish each salad with 6 apple slices, a few grapes and the cheese cubes. Drizzle with the balance of the dressing. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and finish with white pepper. Serve immediately.
  5. Cook’s note: To roast the hazelnuts – Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Place hazelnuts in a small baking dish and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden and skins have split. Remove from oven, transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, rub the nuts between your fingers or between clean kitchen towels to remove the skins. Discard skins and store nuts in a sealed jar until ready to use for up to 1 month.

Autumn harvest salad

salad, apples, blue cheese, hazelnuts

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34 Comments

  • Reply Liz September 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I’ve never had roasted apples in a salad…but they sound fabulous!!! What a gorgeous, autumnal salad…always something lovely here on your blog :)

    • Reply Viviane September 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you so much Liz!

  • Reply Rachel @ Baked by Rachel September 29, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I’ve never had oven roasted apples in a salad, only raw but I may have to try this. And I’m so loving this recipe in general. I have a bit of a thing for apples :) I wonder how adding different meats would taste with it?

    • Reply Viviane September 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Rachel, I do list quite a fresh different kinds of apples you could use in the recipe. The best is to use firm-fleshed apples. I’ve tried the salad with several kinds and they all end up tasting delicious. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply lisaiscooking September 29, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This is so fresh and light for a salad full of fall flavors. Love it! The crispness, crunchiness, and tender greens sound like a great mix. Can’t wait to try roasting apples like this.

  • Reply Kelly September 29, 2011 at 11:02 am

    What a gorgeous salad, this looks perfect for Fall! :)

  • Reply Island Vittles September 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I am in love with this salad! (She says reaching through the screen…) Theresa

  • Reply Steph@stephsbitebybite September 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    This salad is something I’ve got to try! I love the apples

  • Reply Kimmi September 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    This salad encompasses some of my favorite flavors. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Viviane September 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Lisa, Kelly, Theresa, Steph and Kimmi! Thank you for your comments. I’m really thrilled you like the recipe. I have a thing for apples too… The good news is that the season has just started!

  • Reply RChristopher September 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    This sounds and looks amazing. I’ve used apples in salads before but never thought about roasting them. Now I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. Thanks for the post and beautiful pictures.

    • Reply Viviane September 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much Russel! I’m pretty sure you’ll love the roasted apples… They’re pretty delicious!

  • Reply Tiffany September 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    What an elegant autumn salad! Especially love those roasted apples … and the hazelnuts!! (I made a roasted apple-blue cheese vinaigrette for labor day weekend that was amazing! :D).

    • Reply Viviane September 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Sounds superb Tiffany! Thank you for stopping by.

  • Reply Sandra September 30, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I love apples in salad and this is a creative way to enjoy them.

  • Reply Christine September 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    WOWZERS THIS LOOKS DELICIOUS!! I can’t wait to try this one out! Thank you for posting a recipe featuring apples that ISN’T a cake or pie!

    • Reply Viviane September 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Christine! I am reading your comment and laughing out loud! You’re most welcome… I hope you enjoy every mouthful of this salad.

  • Reply Ann September 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    What a creative way to make a salad…..I love it!

  • Reply Anna September 30, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    My friends should look forward to a whole new level of salad-making…This time, I’ll use your suggestion of oven-roasted apples instead of just the usual wash and serve apples in my salads. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply Treat and Trick October 1, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Stunning photo and this salad looks awesome!

  • Reply easyfoodsmith October 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Wonderful salad and your food pics are awesome :-)

  • Reply Christine October 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Congrats on Foodbuzz top 9!

  • Reply mjskit October 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    WOW! What a fantastic salad! I can see why it made the Foodbuzz Top 9! Your roasting method with the fennel and Calvados is incredible! This recipe definitely goes in my “saved” box.

  • Reply Peggy October 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    What a great idea to roast apples for salads! I always throw in some raw ones for my salad, but next time I’m going to have to try it your way =)

  • Reply Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen October 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I thought the roasted apples would already taste quite wonderful, but you flavored them with fennel seeds and Calvados as well. So all the extra flavoring must’ve elevated the salad to something that tasted quite incredible!

  • Reply Donna Ford October 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Viviane! Great looking recipe. We’ve been eating a lot of salads lately and I can’t wait to try this recipe!! Have a great weekend!

  • Reply Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes October 21, 2011 at 2:24 am

    oh yum! This looks super delicious. I need this for my diet… lol

  • Reply Boulder Locavore November 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Viviane! I’m working my way through your recipes and it’s better than a good book. I’m hanging on every word and wondering how many I can add to my TG menu! I love this beautiful little salad. Perfect fall flavors. Love the cooking of the apples with the skins and fennel. Ingenious. I SO appreciate all your additions to the TG LinkUp! So many people will be delighted to find them for their menu! Toni

    • Reply Viviane November 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Dear, dear Toni! You are so kind… I create recipes for Food & Style because of my love of seasonal ingredients. It all comes from my heart… It is so rewarding when it’s received in the same way. Thank you! It was my great pleasure to share some of my recipes with your wonderful blog http://www.boulderlocavore.com/ You are doing great work there! Wishing you and yours a beautiful and delicious holiday.

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