This Apple Cranberry Frisée Salad is so fresh and flavorful. Tossed together with apples, carrots, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and a homemade apple balsamic vinaigrette, it’s a salad fit for the holidays. Dairy free and vegan.

Swap the boring green salad at Thanksgiving for this festive Apple Cranberry Frisée Salad! It’s a great fit for fall and winter meals as it’s layered with seasonal goodies like frisée, apples, carrots, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Tossed together in a homemade apple balsamic vinaigrette, the flavors are so merry and bright!

You can feel good about bringing this simple frisée salad to any event or enjoying it for lunch because it’s naturally vegan, dairy free, and gluten free. Dress it up or down depending on you or your guest’s taste buds – there’s lots of room for customizations! Serve it along with my Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Rustic Apple Sausage Stuffing, Simple Carrot Soup, and Roasted Squash for a meal worth celebrating.

What kind of lettuce is frisée?

What sets this apple cranberry salad apart from the rest is the crisp, fresh frisée “lettuce.”

However, frisée isn’t lettuce. The rich green leaves, pale centers, and crisp, lacy edges certainly look like a leafy green, but it’s actually a type of endive in the chicory family. 

The bitter frisée leaves are perfect as the base for salads with sweet ingredients. That said, it pairs perfectly with apples and cranberries in this delicious dish! Enjoy!

What goes in apple cranberry salad?

  • Frisée lettuce – This is a smaller version of curly endive. The leaves are green and tender with crunchy ruffles that offer a slightly bitter taste. It has a sturdy texture that holds up well with dressing. 
  • Heirloom apples – These have a broader range of flavors than any other apple. They range in taste from sweet and bright to tangy and crisp. If heirlooms are not available, use your favorite sweet and crunchy apple. Fuji, gala, honey crisp, golden delicious, Braeburn, and pink lady are all great options. 
  • Carrots – For a pleasant crunch in this fall-inspired salad. 
  • Dried cranberries – This classic holiday garnish offers bursts of tart flavors and a contrasting texture. 
  • Pumpkin seeds – For added crunch and flavor, not to mention lots of antioxidants and iron!
  • Apple balsamic vinaigrette – This easy homemade salad dressing brings oil, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper together to create bold, bright, and fruity flavors. Make extra, store it in a jar, and use it on more holiday salads, like this Kale Pomegranate Salad.

How to make apple cranberry frisée salad

You only need a few minutes to put this cranberry apple salad together. The dressing and salad toppings are easy to prepare in advance as well, so there’s no need to stress on the day! It all comes together in a few easy steps:

Step 1: To start, gather your salad ingredients. Give the lettuce a rough chop, chop or slice the apples and lastly, julienne and chop the carrots. You can go ahead and press the garlic for the dressing as well.

Step 2: Toss the frisée, apples, carrots, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds together in a large salad bowl.

Step 3: Add the oil, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper to a glass container with a lid or a wide-mouthed jar. Seal the lid and shake the jar vigorously (or use an immersion blender to emulsify the dressing). Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed and adjust the vinegar to your liking. 
Step 4: If serving right away, pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Enjoy!

What else can you put in a healthy frisée salad?

Frisée is perfect for salads because the thick leaves hold up to heavy ingredients and dressing. Any of these mix-ins would be delicious with the hearty leaves and seasonal toppings:

  • Veggies – Like chopped kale, shredded cabbage, shredded brussels sprouts, and shaved fennel. 
  • Fruit – Pears and grapefruit are great in fall salads. 
  • Nuts and seeds – Walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc. 
  • Cheese – After tossing your salad in dressing, sprinkle soft cheeses over top. You could use blue cheese, feta cheese, or crumbled goat cheese. 

Serving suggestions

Make it a complete holiday feast and serve the apple cranberry frisée salad with more festive dishes, like apple sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, and stuffed delicata squash. Want to keep things simple? Enjoy the salad next to a cozy bowl of mushroom wild rice soup, spicy lentil soup, or butternut squash soup instead. For dessert be sure to try this baked cinnamon apple made with coconut sugar.

Frequently asked questions

Can you make this salad or dressing ahead of time?

This recipe is great to prep in advance and enjoy the next day. If you aren’t serving the salad right away, follow the recipe as written but leave out the apples and dressing. Store the dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for 1 or 2 weeks.

The apples will start to brown if you add them to the salad right away. If you’re traveling with the salad, toss the chopped apples in a bowl with a little lemon juice first to prevent them from browning as quickly.

How do you store leftover frisée salad?

If the salad is tossed in dressing, keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 3 to 5 days. The dressing will begin to wilt the frisée the longer it sits. 

What is similar to frisée?

This vegetable is most similar in taste and texture to escarole. Bon Appetit describes escarole as sharp in flavor but leafier than kale. If it’s the peppery flavor you’re craving, kale and arugula have a similar taste and would both be suitable as substitutions to frisée or escarole.

 Hungry for more fall and winter salads?

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apple cranberry frisée salad
5 from 1 vote

Apple Cranberry Frisée Salad

by Silvia Dunnirvine
This Apple Cranberry Frisée Salad is tossed together with apples, carrots, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and a homemade apple balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a crisp and bright fall salad you can bring to holiday celebrations or enjoy as a healthy lunch!
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 head frisée lettuce
  • 2 heirloom apples, chopped and/or sliced
  • 2 carrots, Julienne cut, then chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


  • Add all salad ingredients to a big bowl and toss.
  • In a small glass mix salad dressing ingredients. Feel free to adjust the seasoning and/or balsamic vinegar to your liking.
  • Pour dressing on to the salad and toss to coat just before serving


Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Keyword: Apple Salad, Fall Recipes, Fall Salads
Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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  1. This looks like my kind of salad. I prefer fruit in my salads more than the stand tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. I just wish you had shown what a “head” of frisée looks like. I have never saw one before in any grocery stores I go to.

    1. Hi Colleen, it is nice having fruit in salads! Google frisée and you can see what the whole looks like, but of course you can use other types of green or mix them up too!