This is my all-time favorite salad. It’s a great side dish or a complete meal. This is a super easy salad to put together with a versatile dressing and glazed walnuts that have a spicy kick.
If you want to go the extra mile, I’m giving you my Italian Dressing recipe as well as my recipe for making your own Candied Spiced Walnuts for this Italian Salad. But, if you’re short on time, I’ll give you my best store-bought substitutes for those ingredients.
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Salads are easiest when starting with a bag of pre-washed greens. My local grocery store sells a 10 oz. organic “Italian Salad” that has the perfect mix of romaine lettuce, organic frisee and organic raddicchio. So, look for one that has a romaine lettuce as it’s main ingredient, such as this italian bagged salad.
Next, you’ll want to make your candied walnuts, or you can opt to buy glazed walnuts which work just fine. You can add a pinch of cinnamon and allspice to the bag of glazed walnuts. Shake the bag and you can then use them in this salad. I like to make my own to control the ingredients going into my salad. Start with plain walnuts.
To make the candied walnuts, pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees F.
On medium-low heat in a large sauce pan, simply combine butter and sucanat (or brown sugar) until melted.
Then stir in honey, cinnamon and all-spice. (you can sub pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon & all-spice)
Pour the mixture over the walnuts and stir them gently to coat.
Next, spread them on a large silpat- or parchment-lined baking pan in one layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
Let cool on the pan.
Break apart the walnuts by hand.
Store any leftovers (or for snacks) in an airtight container.
Chop up the green apple. Don’t substitute the apple! Using the green apple adds the perfect tart flavor. In a large bowl, place the diced apples, lettuce greens, dried cranberries, crumbled gorgonzola, and candied spiced walnuts. Now, toss it all with my homemade dressing.
For the dressing, I mix up extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and these spices: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dried parsley, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, and celery seed. I store this dressing in my pantry in a pint size mason jar. If you are short on time or ingredients, then you can substitute an italian oil and vinegar dressing like this one, from Paul Newman.
BONUS TIP: You can use this dressing to make delicious Italian sub sandwiches too! Just mix 3 tablespoons of this dressing with 1 cup of mayonnaise for a delightful creamy Italian mayo to spread on bread. Or dress a mix of shredded iceberg lettuce and chopped black olives with it to add to your sandwiches. YUM!
This salad pairs really well with any italian pasta dish. I’ve got my own Shrimp Fettucine Marinara Recipe that I make with roasted cherry tomatoes that I’ll be posting soon that goes really well with this salad.
Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Speaking of recipes…get those recipes organized with our digital recipe planner on the store.
A delightful salad for a side dish or complete meal. Tart green apples, sweet cranberries, spiced candied walnuts, and bold gorgonzola on a bed of italian romaine with oil and vinegar dressing. Sure to please your family and friends!
CANDIED SPICED WALNUTS
- 7 oz. walnuts
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch ground allspice
ITALIAN SALAD DRESSING
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- pinch celery seed can sub celery flakes
- 10 oz. bag of pre-washed italian greens romaine, frisee, raddicchio
- 2 large green apples diced
- 8 oz. candied spiced walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 4 oz. gorgonzola cheese crumbled
- 1/4 cup italian oil and vinegar dressing
CANDIED SPICED WALNUTS**
**If using store-bought glazed walnuts, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and pinch of allspice into the bag and shake. Then use in the salad.
Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F.
To make your own candied spiced walnuts, melt butter and sucanat in saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir until melted and combined.
Add honey, cinnamon and allspice. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.
Pour the mixture over the walnuts and stir them gently to coat. Next, spread them on a large silpat- or parchment-lined baking pan in one layer. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
Let cool in pan. Break apart nuts by hand. Store leftovers in airtight container.
ITALIAN SALAD DRESSING**
**If using store-bought dressing, choose one that has vinegar and oil as main ingredients with italian spices. I like Paul Newmans Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing.
To make your own dressing, mix up extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and the spices: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dried parsley, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, and celery seed in a pint mason jar. Shake to mix it up. Store in pantry.
APPLE WALNUT CRANBERRY GORGONZOLA SALAD
Toss lettuce greens, diced green apple, candied spiced walnuts, dried cranberries, and crumbled gorgonzola in large bowl with 1/4 cup of the italian oil and vinegar dressing.