Temp your tastebuds with this scrumptious Fall Harvest Salad! You'll love the warm, sweet-savory autumn flavors in this easy recipe, which is loaded with tasty fruits, veggies, nut, and cheese. It's the perfect addition to any fall meal!
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I love cooking at this time of year! Markets are full of fresh produce, perfect for making fresh dishes (like this salad) that pair well with the heartier favorites I start to crave as the temperature dips.
If you're looking for a delicious way to celebrate autumn's bounty, then you're going to love this fruit and veggie-packed Harvest Salad! This gorgeous salad features a mouthwatering blend of sweet and savory flavors that is guaranteed to have you coming back for seconds.
We're talking tasty roasted sweet potatoes, crisp, juicy apples, crunchy nuts, tart cranberries, and rich, creamy cheese. All tossed together with tender kale leaves dressed with a crave-worthy maple dressing. Yum! It's the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
You can serve this hearty Fall Salad with any autumn meal, either as a side dish or main course. It's lovely for parties and special occasions, like Thanksgiving, too. You'll be sure to impress all your guests, even though it's so simple to make!
Ready to dig in? Then keep reading for all the details!
This tasty recipe uses basic, easy to find ingredients! Here's what you'll need:
- Sweet Potatoes - Roasted sweet potatoes add tons of flavor to this salad, while also adding a hearty element that helps keep you full.
- Kale - Healthy kale forms the backbone of the salad. You can use either flat or curly kale, and you'll massage the leaves with a little oil and salt to tenderize them.
- Apples - Crunchy apples add a pop of juicy flavor that's so delish. I'd recommend using a crisp variety with a good balance of tart and sweet flavors, like Fuji, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Gala.
- Cranberries - Dried cranberries lend a tasty tart-sweet flavor, and they add a wonderful chewy texture, too.
- Nuts - Toasted pecans give the salad a great nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
- Cheese - A little crumbled goat cheese pairs perfectly with the salad's sweet-savory ingredients. If you're not a fan of goat cheese, check out the Variations section below for substitutes.
- Vinaigrette - You'll dress this salad with my favorite homemade Maple Vinaigrette. This dressing is super simple to make with a just a few ingredients: olive oil, maple syrup, shallot, and apple cider vinegar.
This Fall Salad is easy to customize depending on your tastes and ingredients on hand ... check out the Variations section below for ideas. It's also naturally vegetarian and gluten free! You can easily make it vegan / dairy free by leaving out the cheese or using a vegan alternative.
You'll Also Need
To make this recipe, you'll need a sheet pan (these baking sheets are my fave) to roast the sweet potato, a small jar (mason jars work great) or bowl to make the salad dressing, a small frying pan to toast the nuts, and a large bowl to mix everything together.
How to Make a Harvest Salad
This delicious Fall Salad is super simple to make! You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Roast sweet potato. Start by cubing the sweet potato, than toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until tender and browned, flipping halfway through cooking.
- Make vinaigrette. Next you'll make the salad dressing. Combine the shallot and vinegar in a small jar or bowl, then let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Later, add the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to shallot. Cover the jar and shake the ingredients together (or whisk the ingredients in a bowl) until well blended. Tip: Combining the shallot and vinegar before adding the other ingredients tenderizes and starts to pickle the shallot, giving the dressing extra flavor.
- Toast nuts. Place the nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook until toasted, stirring frequently. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board, then roughly chop.
- Prep kale. Chop the kale, then add it to a large bowl, along with a little olive oil and salt. Use your hands to massage the oil and salt into the kale to tenderize the greens. Tip: As you massage the leaves, they will turn dark green and reduce in volume.
- Combine ingredients. When everything is ready, add the sweet potato and nuts, along with a chopped apple and dried cranberries, and to the kale. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, then toss the salad together.
- Season to taste + add cheese. Once you've tossed everything together, taste the salad, then add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Gently mix in the goat cheese, then serve.
And that's all there is to it ... your beautiful Fall Harvest Salad is ready to eat! You are going to love this scrumptious salad. It's the perfect combination of warm, sweet, and savory autumn flavors.
Consider this Autumn Harvest Salad a template that you can easily customize to taste, or depending what ingredients you have on hand! Here are some ideas to try:
- Fruit - Feel free to swap out the apple for another fall fruit. Pears would be especially delicious, as would persimmons, pomegranate seeds, or figs. You could also replace the dried cranberries with another dried fruit, such as golden raisins, apricots, or figs.
- Squash - Swap out the roasted sweet potato for winter squash, such as butternut, pumpkin, acorn, or delicata squash. For extra flavor, you could also toss the veggies with warm spices before roasting, such as cinnamon, ginger, or cumin, or a blend like curry or pumpkin spice.
- Cheese - If you're not a goat cheese fan, you could use feta instead, gorgonzola (or another blue cheese), or even fried halloumi. Aged cheeses, like parmesan or gouda, would also be delish.
- Nuts - Other nuts, like walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, would make a great substitute for the pecans.
- Greens - For a lighter salad substitute tender greens (such as green lettuce, romaine, arugula, or baby lettuce / another blend) for the kale. Just keep in mind that you may need to use less dressing ... add just enough to lightly coat the salad.
- Grains - Make your salad extra hearty by mixing in a nutritious grain, such as quinoa, wheat berries, or farro. Couscous would also work great.
- Protein - Another way to add heft to the salad is by adding protein, such as chickpeas. Roasted tofu would also work great.
- Vegan / Dairy Free - To make this recipe vegan and dairy free, simply skip the goat cheese or use a nondairy substitute.
- Nut Free - If you'd like to make the recipe nut free, simply leave out the pecans. You could also substitute seeds, like sunflower seeds, pepitas, or roasted pumpkin seeds).
This easy Fall Kale Salad makes a wonderful lunch, and it's perfect for serving with any autumn meal, as well as for special occasions, like a Halloween feast or a memorable Thanksgiving dinner!
Pair it with pasta (like this Roasted Tomato Pasta or this Homemade Alfredo) or soup (such as Roasted Pumpkin Soup or this Veggie Stew), plus Garlic Bread, for an easy dinner. For a special occasion serve it with lasagna (try this Cheese Lasagna or this Butternut Squash Lasagna) or another festive recipe (like this Stuffed Delicata Squash or this Vegetable Wellington). Yum!
If you have any leftover salad, store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It will taste best when eaten within a day.
Looking for more hearty salad ideas? Try on of these yummy recipes next:
- Warm Kale Farro Salad
- Kale Cranberry Salad
- Pumpkin Couscous Salad
- Arugula and Wild Rice Salad
- Pomegranate Salad
- Roasted Veggie and Wheat Berry Salad
- Winter Kale Salad
- Roasted Pumpkin Salad
- Kale Quinoa Salad
For Sweet Potatoes:
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup pecan halves
- 1 large bunch (14-ounces / 400 grams) kale, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large apple, chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 4 ounces (113 grams) crumbled goat cheese (about 1 cup)
Prepare Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Roast potatoes for 15 minutes. Flip, then continue roasting for 15 minutes more, or until tender and browned.
- Set aside until ready to use.
- While sweet potatoes roast, combine shallot and vinegar in a small jar (or bowl). Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Add olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to shallot, then cover jar and shake ingredients together (or whisk) until well blended.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook until toasted, watching closely and stirring frequently.
- Transfer pecans to a cutting board, then roughly chop. Set aside.
- Place chopped kale in a large bowl, along with 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using your hands, massage kale for a couple minutes or until it's reduced in volume and is tender.
- Top kale with sweet potatoes, pecans, apple, and cranberries. Drizzle with vinaigrette, then toss salad together. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Add goat cheese to salad, then mix in gently.
- Serve salad immediately. Enjoy!