This salad was inspired by an apple, walnut, and goat’s cheese salad I tasted in France a few years ago. I was at a complete loss for finding a vegan meal so decided to come off the wagon for the weekend I was there. But my slip-up is now your gain, as I immediately came up with a vegan alternative! The avocado certainly holds its own as a substitute for goat’s cheese, although I’d understand if you wanted to use a vegan cheese alternative.
I like using Braeburn apples in this recipe, as they’re a good balance of both fresh and sweet, but feel free to substitute other apples depending on your tastes.
(Serves 2-3 as a main, or 4-6 as a side)
2 cups of rocket (arugula)
1 cup fusilli pasta, cooked
1 small white onion, diced
1 apple, cut into large chunks
1 avocado, cut into large chunks
½ cup walnut pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt and pepper
Warm a skillet over a medium heat
Add the walnuts and toast for 5 minutes, adding the rosemary 1 minute before the end. Set aside on a plate to cool
Add a little oil to the pan, add the diced onions, mustard seeds, and cumin. Sautee for 10 minutes until soft
Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and stir through, then remove from heat
Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl
Season to taste, and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar just before serving
This salad is great warm or cold; if the pasta is freshly cooked and you keep the onions and walnuts warm, the cold of the apple and avocado offer a great temperature contrast.
If you do serve it warm, keep in mind the rocket will wilt a little bit, So if you’re saving some for the next day it may look a little sad and wilted. It won’t affect the taste though!
This is a light, fresh little dish with a great flavour palette, making it perfect for entertaining guests. And even ones that aren’t so entertaining (I’m sorry, I can’t miss a pun).