Recipe: Apple Manchego Salad (Café Lurcat Copycat)

Salad Recipes, Side Dish Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

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By: Chris Freytag, CPT

This simple, 5-ingredient apple manchego salad is the perfect combination of savory and sweet. The perfect apple salad to accompany just about any protein you have on your menu for dinner.

This apple Manchego salad is so simple to make, crunchy and super refreshing. It uses only 5 simple ingredients and is a perfect everyday salad! The crunchy apples, sharp cheese and spicy chives are such a perfect combination. You’ll want to make this salad again and again.

If you live in the Minneapolis area, like us, you may recognize this recipe. Cafe Lurcat is a tried and true local favorite restaurant serving New American fare and their apple, cheese and chive salad is famous. This copycat recipe is inspired by that one for good reason – it’s one of our favorite salads.

Try even more delicious salads with my favorite healthy salad recipes you can eat for any meal!


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    Apple Manchego Salad Ingredients

    This apple Manchego salad is full of fresh, bright ingredients for a healthy and delicious meal!

    raw ingredients for apple manchego salad
    • Apples: We like to use both green apple as well as red apple for the beautiful color and added flavor. Our favorite red apple is Minnesota’s own Honeycrisp apple variety for their sweetness and crunch, but you can use any of your favorite varieties as long as they are crunchy! 
    • Manchego Cheese: Manchego cheese is a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk, is salty, nutty and slightly sweet. It is a little more expensive than other cheese varieties, but it is worth it for this fall salad. You’ll need about 6 ounces manchego cheese. We can find it at our regular grocery store, but in a bind, you can also use a sharp white cheddar or even swiss cheese.
    • Lemon: the primary purpose of the lemon in this recipe is to help prevent the apples from browning. However, it does also add a bit of zesty lemon flavor too. 
    • Olive Oil: since there are so few ingredients in this salad, make sure to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil since it will have the best flavor.
    • Chives: to finish the salad, you’ll add some finely chopped chives which add a delicate flavor but also color to this simple apple salad.

    Variations and Substitutions

    Add nuts: although the apples add some crunch to this salad, it would also be great with some chopped nuts. We suggest crunchy almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans. 

    Add dried fruit: if you want a sweeter salad, add some dried fruit like golden raisins or dried cranberries. 

    Switch up the cheese: you can try replacing either half or all of the manchego cheese in this simple apple salad with either sharp white cheddar, swiss, or smoked gouda. 

    Add fennel: the mild anise (or licorice) flavor of fennel pairs really well with apple and cheese. Thinly slice the fennel with a chef’s knife or mandoline for this apple salad.

    How to Cut Apples into Matchsticks

    Follow these three simple steps to prep your apples for this delicious salad.

    steps cutting apples into matchsticks
    1. Slice the apple away from the core in 4 large pieces.
    2. Cut vertically into 1/4-inch thin slices.
    3. Lay slices on top of one another and again, cut into 1/4 inch matchsticks.

    How to Make Apple Manchego Salad

    The key to making this distinct recipe is in the chopping. Cafe Lurcat serves this salad as pictured with the crisp apples and cheese cut into thin matchsticks. When combined, you won’t really be able to see if you’re eating apples or cheese, but luckily you’ll be getting each in every bite!

    steps preparing apple manchego salad

    After cutting your apples into matchsticks, place the apple slices into a large bowl. We like to squeeze a little lemon juice onto the matchstick apples in between cutting each apple to prevent browning. Then toss with tongs to make sure they are all covered.

    Cut your cheese into matchsticks, chop your chives and toss it all together in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil. It’s okay if the cheese breaks a bit into smaller pieces when tossing – Manchego cheese can tend to crumble, but it will still be perfectly delicious!

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    What to Serve with Apple Manchego Salad

    We love to serve this apple Manchego salad to guests as everyone raves about it. Using super simple ingredients, it’s easy to make and super healthy too! It makes a great side dish for any main dishes or protein you may have on the menu. Here are a few of our favorite mains to serve with this salad:

    You can easily half this recipe if you’re just making it for a few people. We like to make the full version when serving to company but if we’re just making it for ourselves at home, 1 of each apple works great and feeds about 4 as a healthy side dish or snack.


    We recommend preparing this apple cheese salad right before serving or at most keeping it a few hours in a fridge to keep the apple nice and fresh. This salad does not freeze well.

    healthy apple manchego cheese salad

    Other Favorite Salad Recipes

    Total Time: 15 minutes

    Yield: 6 serving(s)


    • 2 honeycrisp apples, cut thinly into matchsticks
    • 2 granny smith apples, cut thinly into matchsticks
    • 1 small lemon, juiced
    • 6 oz. manchego cheese (can also use sharp white cheddar or swiss)
    • 2-3 tablespoons chives, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil


    1. Combine chopped apples and lemon juice in a bowl and mix together to prevent browning.
    2. Add all other ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
    3. 3. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours until serving.

    Nutrition Information Per Serving

    Calories: 205

    Protein: 7 gram(s)

    Fat: 13 gram(s)

    Carbohydrates: 17 gram(s)

    Fiber: 3 gram(s)

    Sugar: 13 gram(s)

    From the kitchen of:

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