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Simple Salmon Apple Salad

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4 (7 ounce) packages ready cook gemelli pasta
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/4 cup honey mustard
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
6 stalks celery, sliced
2 cups cubed Colby or Cheddar cheese
1 (14 ounce) can red sockeye salmon, drained

Simple Salmon Apple Salad

Flavorful, fresh, and easy Simple Salmon Apple Salad is perfect for any weeknight dinner.

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Sometimes, when you want something wonderful to eat, you see a recipe that looks perfect, but the ingredient list is long and the whole idea just seems overwhelming. My recipe for Salmon Pecan Apple Salad can seem like that. It is a wonderful salad, but this recipe, for Simple Salmon Apple Salad, is much easier and just as delicious.

First of all, this recipe starts with canned salmon, which eliminates an entire step. Keep a can of red sockeye salmon in your pantry, along with some Granny Smith apples and pasta, and you’re halfway there.

There is something about the combination of tart and sweet apples with the spicy tang of mustard and horseradish that is so refreshing. Add some nutty and rich salmon along with tender pasta, and you have a wonderful meal that doesn’t take long to prepare.

In fact, I even buy the precooked Barilla gemelli pasta that you just heat in the microwave oven to make things even easier. Who wants to lug around a huge pot of boiling water when you’re tired? Just knead the pouch, tear the vent, and microwave until tender. Voila!

This is a one dish meal, so you do not need to serve one more thing. If you feel a little better after this salad is chilling in the fridge, make some Cheesy Toasted Bread Sticks. But you can serve crackers, muffins from the bakery, or nothing at all. This salad can stand on its own.

How to make the best Simple Salmon Apple Salad

  • As always, when making a pasta salad, make the dressing first. The salad will always be so much better if the hot pasta is added to the sauce. The pasta will absorb the dressing’s flavor and be much more tender.
  • Drain the salmon, remove the backbone and skin, and flake into large chunks. When you add the salmon, don’t stir too much or you’ll break up the salmon.
  • I think Granny Smith apples are best in this recipe, since thy have such a wonderful tart flavor and they don’t brown easily. But use your favorite variety.

Why this recipe works

  • The tart and sweet apples, the flavorful, tangy salad dressing, the rich salmon, and the tender pasta combine to make a refreshing salad that is very satisfying.

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In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, horseradish, and honey mustard and mix well.


Prepare the pasta as directed on the package. If you like, you can use a 1 pound package of regular gemelli pasta and cook it in a big pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain well.


Drain the pasta and add it, while hot, to the salad dressing and stir to coat.


Prepare the apples. As you work, drop them into the salad and stir to coat to stop browning. Add the celery, cheese, and salmon and stir to coat.


Cover and refrigerate the salad for 1 to 3 hours before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator up to four days.


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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