A Fall Harvest Salad that is full of sliced apples, roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans, and is tossed in a delicious maple apple cider vinegar dressing. Use kale or spinach to make an easy, healthy, and vegan salad recipe for a dinner party or Thanksgiving meal.
Want a few other healthy salad recipe ideas? You might also enjoy this Chopped Kale Salad with Cranberries, Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado, Arugula Fig Salad, and this Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese.
Recently we have been on a HUGE butternut squash kick.
And after I learned how easy it is to peel and cut butternut squash, it was game on!
This Maple Roasted Butternut Squash recipe has been my recent obsession. It makes such a great side dish to many meals or tastes incredible when added to this Fall harvest salad!
Yes! Roasted vegetables mixed with greens are SO incredibly good and a great way to make your dish feel even more filling.
The BEST Fall Harvest Salad with Apples
Salads are traditionally thought of as more of a Spring or Summer food.
But with a little bit of roasted squash, some toasted pecans, and slices of crisp apples – you can transform this warm-weather fare into the perfect Autumn or Thanksgiving dish!
And I can’t forget to mention the BEST part of this Fall recipe… the apple cider vinegar dressing that it all gets tossed in with hints of fresh rosemary and pure maple syrup.
Seriously… it’s a lick-your-plate-worthy dressing that is PERFECT for a spinach or kale salad.
While the ingredients you will need for this Fall harvest salad are relatively easy-to-find, there may be a few substitutions you would like to make.
- Maple Roasted Butternut Squash – This recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can also make these Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes if you have a hard time finding butternut squash in your grocery store.
- Pecans – Toasted pecans give a beautiful autumn flare to this dish. If you’re not a fan of pecans, toasted walnuts or toasted almonds can be substituted.
- Bell Pepper – A red or yellow bell pepper are best to use since they have a natural sweetness to them.
- Red Onion – While the purple of the onion adds a beautiful color, you might want to use a sweet onion if you do not like too much of an onion punch in your salads.
- Apple – Read more below to determine what types are best for salads. Learn about how to cut an apple.
- Pumpkin Seeds – These add a nice crunch along with the pecans.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing – Read more below about how to make this easy vinaigrette dressing.
Types of Greens
There are quite a few different types of greens you can use in this recipe. A few that I have personally tried and enjoyed include:
- Mixed Greens – This is probably the easiest and quickest to use if you are in a rush for a holiday gathering or dinner party.
- Kale – This leafy green packs the most nutritional punch. Make sure you finely chop the kale so it is not tough and bitter.
- Spinach – Also relatively easy to use and prepare when you purchase the big box of spinach found in your produce section.
- Spinach and Kale Mix – This is how I make the majority of my salads since kale and spinach have loads of nutritional value!
Best Apples to Use
You will want to opt for a slightly sweeter and less tart apple for this Fall harvest salad.
Also, red apples look beautiful when paired with the green color of this recipe.
A few varieties that will work well include:
Making homemade salad dressings is the best way to take this recipe to the next level.
Not only are they made with healthy oils and nutritious ingredients, but they taste incredibly fresh and add a vibrancy to what might normally be a boring ole’ salad.
To make Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing:
- Add oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, fresh rosemary, and salt to a high-speed blender, such as a Nutribullet, or in a mini-prep food processor.
- Blend dressing for 20-30 seconds or until it begins to emulsify.
- Use salad dressing immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Cook’s Tip: You can always whisk the dressing together if you do not have one of the kitchen appliances mentioned above. However, the apple cider vinaigrette will not get the same, thick, emulsified consistency that it will when blended at high speeds.
How to Make
There are a few simple steps you will need to take to make an autumn salad with apples:
- Prepare maple roasted butternut squash or roasted sweet potato cubes.
- Toast pecans in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Blend apple cider vinaigrette dressing in a high-speed blender.
- Toss greens and dressing in a large bowl until greens are completely coated.
- Top with bell pepper, onion, apple, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and butternut squash.* For an added crunch, you can throw in some homemade croutons, as well.
Cook’s Tip: Do not cut apples until just before serving. Apples start oxidizing and will brown if cut too soon before serving.
This Fall salad does require quite a bit of preparation ahead of time.
There are a few steps that you can easily meal prep before the big Thanksgiving or Christmas meal or dinner party to make the day-of serving a breeze:
- Make the apple cider vinaigrette dressing. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week until ready to use.
- Roast the butternut squash or sweet potato cubes. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days before serving.
- Toast the pecans up to 48 hours in advance. Store in a ziplock bag at room temperature.
- Slice bell pepper and onion. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days before serving.
Other Healthy Recipes
Fall Harvest Salad with Apples
A Fall Harvest Salad that is full of sliced apples, roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans, and is tossed in a delicious maple apple cider vinegar dressing.
Maple Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup*
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped
- ¼ tsp. salt to taste
- Honey or agave nectar can be substituted for the maple syrup but will affect the flavor profile slightly.
- You can choose to serve the butternut squash and pecans slightly warm over the salad or at room temperature.