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Salmon Pecan Apple Salad

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1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
1-1/2 cups creamy honey mustard salad dressing
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 (16 ounce) box rotini or gemelli pasta
3 Granny Smith apples, chopped
2 cups whole pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese
4 (8 ounce) cooked salmon fillets, broken into pieces

Salmon Pecan Apple Salad

I love making this beautiful salad with sweet apples, crunchy nuts, tender salmon, and a flavorful dressing.

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Pasta salads are my mainstay during the hot summer months. I don’t like to grill when it’s hot outside, because I think that standing in front of a 500°F grill when it’s 100°F isn’t pleasant. I will grill if I have to, but it’s about my fourth choice when it comes to making food in the summer. That’s why I love this recipe for Salmon Pecan Apple Salad.

Besides, pasta salads are easy to make, good for you, cool, delicious, and they last for a couple of days. There are so many variations on this type of recipe, and you can use all of your favorite fruits and veggies and cheeses and meats.

This particular recipe for Salmon Pecan Apple Salad is made with leftover cooked salmon fillets, or you can cook the salmon just for this salad. It’s filled with pasta, crunchy apples, sweet dried cranberries, and pecans, in a cool and creamy lemon and mustard dressing.

I always use Granny Smith apples in this recipe because I like their tartness and how they don’t turn brown as fast as other varieties, but you can use other apple type you’d like. The Cheddar cheese is a fabulous contrast of flavor and texture and adds a pop of color.

I always use the Newman’s Own brand of honey mustard salad dressing in any pasta salad recipe. It’s perfectly creamy and perfectly seasoned and very delicious.

Tips for the best Salmon Pecan Apple Salad:

  • Don’t use chopped pecans in this salad. Choose small whole pecans. They are essential for the variation in texture.
  • I prefer using Granny Smith apples because they don’t turn brown as fast as other varieties, and because their super tart taste is the perfect contrast to the sweet cranberries and nutty salmon.
  • Cook the pasta to the proper al dente consistency.

Why this recipe for Salmon Pecan Apple Salad works:

  • The combination of apples, pecans, and dried cranberries is the perfect mixture of sweet, crunchy, and chewy.
  • The pasta absorbs some of the sauce when you add it while it’s hot, absorbing the flavor.
  • This recipe can be made with cooked cubed chicken breast if you’d like.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.


In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, salad dressing, lemon juice, horseradish, mustard, and honey and mix well with a wire whisk.


Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Drain well and add to the dressing in the bowl.


Add the apples, pecans, dried cranberries, and salmon to the salad and mix well. Cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours before serving.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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