arugula, avocado, apple salad with red onion, blue cheese, Marcona almonds & maple mustard vinaigrette

Even though new restaurants seem to be opening in Raleigh faster than ever these days, Poole’s Diner is still one of the most popular places in town. Chef & owner Ashley Christiansen doesn’t seem to be losing any steam herself…not with four restaurants+ one on the horizon, a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge & a newly earned James Beard Award under her belt.

arugula avocado apple salad

A while back, we went to Poole’s for Tom’s birthday & that night I ordered an awesome avocado salad with red onions, Pink Lady apples, buttermilk blue cheese & Marcona almonds with a maple mustard vinaigrette. The combination was sweet & salty & tangy & rich all at the same time…a combination we’ve recreated at home over & over again, adding peppery arugula as the salad base, to both bulk it up to main dish status & cut a little of the avocado’s richness.

maple mustard vinaigrette

This isn’t so much a recipe for the salad as it is for the dressing–we’ve finally gotten it just right & have taken the time to actually measure the ingredients & write them down! The salad itself is a different story. Each time we make it, we add different amounts of arugula, avocado, apple, etc. depending on what we have & what we feel like, so I’ll just list the ingredients below in order of quantity–largest first.


avocado, sliced
apples, Pink Lady if available, cored & thinly sliced
red onion, cut in half & very thinly sliced
blue cheese, crumbled
Marcona almonds, chopped
maple mustard vinaigrette, recipe below

Using the arugula as a bed, top with remaining ingredients & drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

makes about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons dark maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, & vinegar until combined. Continue whisking & slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until everything is smooth & emulsified. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

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