Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad

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Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad is fresh, sweet, and nutty – the perfect light bite to add to any meal. Make this delicious copycat recipe at home!

Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad

I don’t get fast food often, but when I do, I always go for Wendy’s apple pecan chicken salad! The way that the tangy vinaigrette contrasts the sweet fruit and savory meat is almost intoxicating.

We’re working with a lot of strong tastes here: between the apples, chicken, cheese, and vinaigrette, it’s like a burst of flavor in every bite! Balance the ingredients in the way that you like best and make this recipe totally your own.

I’ve also replicated Applebee’s delicious queso blanco dip! Creamy with a kick, this is a great game day appetizer that everyone will love. You can also check out my copycat recipe for their savory spinach artichoke dip.

And while this dish is almost a main course on its own, it’s also great served as a side. Since we have chicken in our recipe, go for a main dish without protein. I recommend my homemade ravioli – it’s easier and even tastier than you think!

wendy's apple pecan salad on a fork

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Swap out the blue cheese. I know that not everyone is a fan of blue cheese, so I recommend feta, goat, or aged cheddar as a substitute. These options will have a similar sharpness and texture. 
  • Achieve perfectly balanced flavors. Use 100% pomegranate juice, which you can find in the refrigerated juice section of your grocery store. Don’t skip it! You need its sweetness to offset the vinegar in your dressing.
  • Make ahead tip: You can prepare the dressing ahead of time. Just give it a good shake before pouring it over your Wendy’s apple pecan chicken salad.
apple pecan salad ingredients

Serving Suggestions

I recommend serving this dish immediately while everything is crisp and fresh. Don’t add the dressing until just before serving time!

As for your garnish, you can use fresh chives, cilantro, or basil if parsley is hard to come by.

Your homemade Wendy’s apple pecan salad will stay good in the fridge for 3 to 5 days untossed. Once tossed in the dressing, I wouldn’t save your leftovers for any longer than a day.

apple pecan salad ingredients in a bowl

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apple pecan salad dressing in a bowl

FAQ – Common Recipe Questions

What is the purpose of the lemon juice in this recipe?

The lemon juice is used to coat the apples and keep them from browning. A pro-tip that you can use for any salad with apple slices in the future!

Can I use extra virgin olive oil in the vinaigrette?

Extra virgin olive oil would overpower your dressing. To keep your Wendy’s apple pecan salad light, tangy, and refreshing, use a very light olive oil or vegetable oil.

What is a good substitute for white wine vinegar?

Red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and unseasoned rice vinegar are all good alternatives! But do not use regular vinegar – the flavor profiles of the two are totally different.

apple pecan salad in a bowl

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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apple pecan salad closeup

Wendy's apple pecan salad

Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad

Donna Elick
Wendy’s apple pecan salad is fresh, sweet, and nutty – the perfect light bite to add to any meal. Make this delicious copycat recipe at home!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

  • 6 cups diced romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups spring mix/baby greens
  • 1/2 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/2 large Braeburn apple, chopped (or other sweet red apple)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 8 ounces grilled chicken pieces
  • 4 ounces candied pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ounces blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place the romaine and spring mix lettuces in a large salad bowl.
  • Chop the apples and coat the pieces with lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
  • Add the apples, chicken, pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese crumbles to the lettuces and toss to combine.
  • Prepare the salad dressing by whisking together the lemon zest, salt, pepper, minced garlic, pomegranate and orange juices, and vinegar.
  • While whisking vigorously, slowly drizzle the oil into the juice mixture. Whisk continuously to emulsify the salad dressing.
  • Pour the salad dressing (you may not use all of it) over the salad and toss to combine. Add more salad dressing as desired and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

Donna’s Notes

Extra virgin olive oil would be overpowering in this vinaigrette. We want to keep the dressing light and tangy – this is why we recommend a very light olive oil, or preferably, vegetable oil.
Use 100% pure pomegranate juice – it is available in the refrigerated juice section. Orange juice also adds some tang with a bit of sweetness to the vinaigrette, but sugar is needed to offset the vinegar.
Lemon juice keeps the apples from discoloring. Squeeze about a tablespoon or so over the diced apples and toss them around so the lemon juice coats all the sides of the apple pieces.
The salad dressing can be prepared in advance – shake well before tossing with the salad. The salad should not be prepared until ready to serve.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 290cal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 313mg | Sugar: 17g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Wendy's apple pecan salad

Originally published  February 2022

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2 Comments

  1. Great job, Donna! But quickly want to point out that sugar is in the ingredients but not in the directions! I realized it was missing when I took my first bite but remedied it immediately. I do LOVE that I can now MAKE IT MYSELF, thanks to you! Convenient as well as money saving – thank you so much! Keep up the good work!!

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe, Donna! Having it regularly now. Please add the SUGAR in the directions as well as the ingredients so no one misses it in the prep process as I did the first time. This has become my FAVORITE recipe and I have passed it on to others as well. The beauty of making it yourself is that you can increase ingredients (like blue cheese!) to your liking! After all, it's YOUR salad. Thanks again!

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