Fennel-roasted apple & blue cheese salad with apple cider vinaigrette

Autumn harvest salad

Baked apples take this salad to a whole new level of deliciousness

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 get a whole new way to experience apples in a salad.

Crushed fennel seeds and Calvados seal the deal

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

Every bite of this apple salad is a celebration of fall’s bounty

The succulent fennel-roasted apples are paired with grapes, blue cheese (or feta!) and toasted hazelnuts, then tossed with a tangy apple-cider vinaigrette. The result? 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

Fennel-roasted apple & blue cheese salad with apple cider vinaigrette

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. medium (15″ x 10″ x 3″) (5.25QT) non-stick roasting pan

  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 the roasting pan 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.

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Autumn harvest salad

salad, apples, blue cheese, hazelnuts


  1. Mahee Ferlini

    Great recipe, adding the roasted apples it is a greates and orginal idea! Thank you for sharing!

  2. These fennel roasted apples were spectacular! Thank-you Viviane for your creative and unique food inspirations!

  3. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I want to make a fennel salad for the holidays and I absolutely LOVE this one. The roasted apple with the fennel sounds wonderful. Everything about this salad sounds wonderful.

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Thank you so much, Mj! Like you, I adore anything fennel! Wishing you and yours the most delicious holiday.

  4. Oh wow love the idea of roasted apples in a salad like this. And blue cheese, so good. You make the best salads!

  5. What a lovely autumn salad! Those roasted apple wedges make all the difference. Fantastic!

  6. This is a delicious salad much loved by our family and guests. Roasting the apples is brilliant. I have substituted home made ricotta salata for the cheese and added fresh fennel spears. Thank you!

  7. Elizabeth Gaeta

    Viviane, I found a new apple . I read about it in the The New York Times last year at the end of apple season and luckily found it only at our local Farmer’s Market. Crowley Farms carried it and still does, but they are the only ones
    to do so. I also found it at our new Whole Foods Market in Closter, N. J.

    It’s called Snapdragon and it’s similar to Honey Crisp which is quite popular here. The only difference is that it is slightly sweeter…it’s crisp, hard, juicy, just like Honey Crisp and the same price. Enjoy! Elizabeth

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so much for your note and for this info. It is so lovely hearing from you! I love that farmers are now growing more and more heirloom apples. There’s a world of flavor to discover! I’ll have to look for the Snapdragon (the names is enticing!). Here in Sonoma County, the Gravenstein apple is queen… they are fabulous! Happy holidays to you and yours!

  8. wow, the roasted apple were just so gooood! They totally made the whole salad, yum and thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Sunanda, Thank you so much for your note! I am thrilled you loved the roasted apples… they’re indeed such a treat!

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  13. 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

    • 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.

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

  15. 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!

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  17. 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!

  18. 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 =)

  19. 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.

  20. Congrats on Foodbuzz top 9!

  21. Wonderful salad and your food pics are awesome 🙂

  22. Stunning photo and this salad looks awesome!

  23. 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!

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

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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).

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

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

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

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

  33. What a gorgeous salad, this looks perfect for Fall! 🙂

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

    • 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!

  36. 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 🙂

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