Candied Walnut Cranberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This recipe is written so that you can prepare the candied walnuts and dressing the day before you serve the salad. My guests beg for it every time they come to visit, and most go back for seconds and thirds.

Since the holidays are coming up I thought I would share the salad that all of my guests rave about. You will find three recipes below: Candied Walnuts, Balsamic Dressing and how to arrange this all together with baby greens or spring greens; and top it all off with dried cranberries and optional feta cheese. This recipe can be made with sugar or agave syrup. I have used both successfully, notice no difference, and they both taste excellent! – and so easy to make! Enjoy this candied walnut salad, along with your guests.

Candied Walnut Cranberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing


Yield: Makes 12 servings

Candied Walnut Cranberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing

A winning salad every time! Your guest will rave about it and ask you for the recipe.


    For the Candied Walnuts:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • For the Dressing:
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons gluten-free Dijon or prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • For the Salad:
  • 2 bags Spring Mix Salad or Baby Greens
  • Dried cranberries
  • Feta cheese (optional)


    To Make the Candied Walnuts:
  1. In a non-stick frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. (Be careful not to place the heat too high when using butter or it may burn).
  2. Add the sugar and vinegar; stir well. Cook until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add walnuts and stir. Cook 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer walnuts to a sheet of aluminum foil or silicone baking sheets until completely cool.
  5. Place a paper towel inside a resealable storage bag or covered container to absorb moisture. Layer the nuts on top of the paper towel. Store in a cool place.
  6. To Make the Dressing:
  7. Add all of the dressing ingredients except the pepper in a measuring cup or other container. Whisk together thoroughly. Set aside overnight, in an air-tight container, at room temperature. Strain out garlic, if desired. Season with pepper and salt, and stir. Store in refrigerator or use immediately.
  8. To Make the Salad:
  9. Add 2 tablespoons of dressing to a large salad bowl. Add bags of salad. Sparingly, add additional dressing, to taste. Top with candied walnuts and dried cranberries. If desired, crumble feta cheese on top. Have additional freshly ground pepper available for those who desire more. If serving individual plates, be sure to distribute the walnuts and cranberries on top of each serving.


The walnuts should be made in advance and stored to make your cooking day a breeze.

6 Replies to “Candied Walnut Cranberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing”

  1. I’m just curious how many does this salad serve? I am going to make it for a wedding shower of about 25 and need to know if I should double the recipe?


    1. Hi Amanda,

      I have made this and it fed 8 people with 3 or 4 people going back for seconds; then again for about 22 people (potluck) and had to make another half recipe, but only about 2 other people went back for seconds because there was so much food at that gathering. It really depends upon what else is served.

    1. Great to hear, Denise! I really wanted to add flax seed to mine, but I hear from some with celiac disease that they are not up for flax seeds yet. Ground flax seeds are a compliment as well, and I recently learned, work well with oats.

  2. I just made these candied walnuts. I added a little brown sugar to the sauce before adding the walnuts. They are the best I ever tasted! I can’t stop eating them.

    1. Oh good, Denise. Glad you are enjoying them! I used to use brown sugar, but found they dry better with white. I use white sugar when I have guests. They stick together a little more with agave, but for my own personal use I find it healthier. Happy new year!

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