This Mexican Christmas apple salad is one of the most popular side dishes to serve during the holidays in Mexico. This creamy and well-balanced salad combines fresh apples, celery, raisins, pecans, and mayo for a delicious side dish or dessert. Learn how to make it for your next holiday meal; your whole family will love it.
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Are you looking for a delicious salad to serve at your holiday dinner? Then, you should try making this Mexican version of Waldorf salad: apple pecan salad!
Every year around this time, I share some traditional Christmas dinner recipes. Some are known all over Mexico, and others, like this Christmas apple pecan salad, are better known in the central states of Mexico.
People have changed and updated this classic recipe many times since the 1940s. It used to be made with homemade mayonnaise and served with lettuce leaves, but nowadays, it looks more like a dessert than a simple salad.
Today’s cooks add canned pineapple chunks, shredded coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, and mini marshmallows, and use sweet cream instead of mayonnaise!
Mexican Apple Salad vs. Waldorf Salad
You must think it looks a lot like a Waldorf salad, and indeed it does. It was adopted into our gastronomy with a few variations. There are even Christmas recipe books that include this recipe way back from the 1940s as a "Christmas salad".
Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad that usually includes green apples, green grapes or seedless red grapes, and walnuts covered in a mayonnaise dressing. Waldorf salad sometimes is made with chicken and served in crispy lettuce.
The Mexican apple salad is similar, but It uses pecans instead of walnuts and raisins instead of grapes, and it has a tangy addition of Mexican cream or sour cream and can serve with or without the lettuce.
They are both honestly delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions About Apple Pecan Salad
Before I share my salad recipe, here are a few questions I’ve been asked about homemade Christmas apple salad.
What’s the best apple for a salad?
I suggest using sweet red apples for this Mexican apple salad recipe. My favorite varieties are Red Delicious or Gala. However, there are many other excellent choices for an apple salad, like pink lady, fuji apples, and golden delicious. If you prefer tart apples with a crunch, try granny smith apples.
What can I use instead of pecans?
Even though pecans are the traditional choice, you can use chopped or sliced walnuts or cashews instead.
What vegetables go with apples?
You can also add some thin-sliced carrots and mini marshmallows to this Mexican Christmas salad. People also pair apples with celery, cranberries, pears, red onions, and sometimes jicama.
Can I make this salad ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator?
This salad only lasts for a short time in the refrigerator. I suggest making it and serving it immediately. You could store it in an airtight container for a few hours ahead of time, but I would only keep it for a day.
How to make mexican apple pecan salad (Ensalada Navideña)
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make this dish…
- Lime Juice
- Red Apples
- Mexican Cream (or Sour Cream)
- Parsley springs
Please note: For exact measurements of the ingredients listed above, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
How To Make Mexican Christmas Apple Salad: Step-By-Step Tutorial
To make things easier for you, I will break down the directions for this recipe into sections.
Prepare Apples In Lime Water
- In a large bowl, pour 1 cup of water, the lime juice, and whisk. You can use lemon juice in case you don't find limes.
- Dice the apples. As you dice the apples, place them in the bowl with the lime water to keep them from becoming brown.
- Once you finish dicing the apples, toss them with the lime water and then drain them.
Mix The Fruit and Nuts
- Place diced apples, chopped celery, raisins, and pecans in a medium bowl and mix well.
Mixing the dressing and fruit
- In a small bowl, mix the cream with the mayonnaise. Pour over the chopped fruit and stir.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Serve The Mexican Apple Salad
- You can either serve it on small plates over small lettuce leaves or in small glass cups, garnished with cherries and curly parsley sprigs!
Note: The great things about this salad are it's quick and easy and that you can swap ingredients according to your family's taste.
What To Serve With Apple Pecan Salad
Serve this delicious salad with many other traditional Mexican holiday recipes!
A very popular Christmas dish is Pork Roasted Leg or Turkey. If you want something different try the "Tamal en Cazuela". It's a casserole that will feed a large family. For the drink, make some ponche Navideño Mexicano. Or an Orange Atole, a warm drink with the bright taste of oranges.
On the side, make some deviled sausages. Make extras because they make the perfect snack too!
More Authentic Mexican Recipes To Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe for Mexican apple salad, take a look at some of these other authentic Christmas Mexican recipes:
I hope you make this apple pecan salad! If this recipe was of any help to you, come back to let me know your experience. Please leave us a comment below and tell us all about it!
Mexican Christmas Apple Pecan Salad
- ½ lime juice or 2 tsps. of lime juice
- 1 Pound red apples About 2 large apples
- ⅔ cup celery finely chopped
- ⅔ cups raisins
- ½ cup Mexican cream or sour cream
- ⅔ cups pecans chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
- 8 Cherries for garnish
- 6 Curly parsley sprigs for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare Apples In Lime Water
- In a large bowl, pour 1 cup of water and the lime juice and stir.
- Dice the apples. As you’re dicing the apples, place them in the bowl with the lime water to keep them from becoming brown. Once you finish dicing the apples, make sure to toss them well with the lime water and then drain the water.
Mix The Fruit and Nuts
- Place diced apples chopped celery, raisins, and pecans in a large bowl and mix well.
Combine Ingredients With The Dressing
- In a small bowl, mix the cream with the mayonnaise. (If you want to add other ingredients, like diced pineapple, shredded coconut, and small marshmallows, do so in this step.) Pour over the chopped fruit and stir, season with salt and pepper.
Serve The Salad
- You can either serve it on small plates over small lettuce leaves or in small glass cups, garnished with cherries and curly parsley sprigs.