This Seasonal Harvest Salad is truly the taste of fall! Made with hearty butternut squash, tart Pink Lady apple chunks, juicy grapes, sweet dried cranberries, and more, it's fresh, nutritious, and the perfect representation of all there is to love about this time of year.
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a delicious holiday salad
This Seasonal Harvest Salad is one of my favorite fall salads! It surely captures the best seasonal flavors in each bite. With hearty butternut squash, tart Pink Lady apple chunks, juicy grapes, sweet dried cranberries, and more, it's fresh, nutritious, and the perfect representation of all there is to love about this time of year. It's always devoured so quickly in our home!
Like most of my recipes, this salad also includes easy swaps for picky eaters. So, if there is an ingredient you know someone won't like, you can simply try something else or leave it out completely. I provide plenty of alternative ideas later on in this post.
Make this Seasonal Harvest Salad to enjoy for lunch or dinner alongside a protein of your choice like chicken or steak. It's also an incredible Thanksgiving side dish. It'll taste great with the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and roasted veggies also on your plate!
Ingredients in this Seasonal Harvest Salad
Apples: I used a Pink Lady apple for to add some tart flavor to this salad.
Onion: I used a red onion for some bitterness.
Butternut Squash: Literally fall in a bite! Plus, this vegetable is also full of vitamins and nutrients to help fuel your body.
Grapes: I highly recommend using Holiday Grapes. They're big, beautiful, and super sweet!
Celery: Adds a great crunchy texture.
Spinach: I chose this green for the base of this Seasonal Harvest Salad because it's lighter than romaine or kale. It allows the other ingredients to have their time in the spotlight while still providing great nutritional value.
Cheese: I think a goat cheese tastes great here, especially a festive one. Try the Apricot, Cherry, and Cranberry Goat Cheese log from Trader Joe's. You won't regret it!
Quinoa: This grain adds some fiber to this salad. It also helps absorb some of the moisture in this salad to keep it from getting soggy. (Who likes a soggy salad?) You could also use couscous if you wanted to switch things up. I don't recommend you use farro, however. Tried it, didn't like it!
Dried Cranberries: Sweet and chewy, these bring great flavor and texture.
Pumpkin Seeds: I bet you didn't know that pumpkin seeds have decent protein content! They're also a good source of healthy fat. And they surely add great texture to salads too.
This recipe features a homemade dressing. You'll need just a few pantry staples to whip it up:
Olive Oil: This will be the base of the dressing.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Helps balance our sweet and tart flavors.
Honey: For some sweetness. The thick consistency will also help thicken our dressing a bit.
Lemon Juice: Provides some acidity which will taste great altogether with our salad ingredients.
Salt + Pepper: Add to taste.
tools you'll need
How to make this Seasonal Harvest Salad
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel and dice butternut squash into ¼” cubes. Coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished, let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- While the squash roasts, prepare quinoa or desired grain according to package instructions. Once cooked, let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Start to chop the other ingredients while butternut squash and quinoa are cooking. Slice the apple, halve the grapes, chop the celery, and dice the onion, all into small pieces. You'll want to get little pieces in each bite of your salad for optimal taste.
- Then we'll assemble the salad. Add spinach, quinoa, butternut squash, and sliced produce to a large mixing bowl. Then, add pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and cheese.
- In a measuring cup, combine dressing ingredients and whisk until fully integrated. Drizzle over salad and toss. P.S. - If homemade dressings aren't your thing, I recommend Ken's Sweet White Vidalia Onion dressing or Panera's Fuji Apple and Poppyseed dressing. They're super tasty and would also work great with this salad!
- Refrigerate 30 minutes prior to serving. This will help the ingredients absorb the dressing and make this salad super flavorful!
- Then, enjoy!
Want to switch it up? Customize it!
If you don't like an ingredient in this salad, I have great news. You can surely switch it out with something you DO like or just omit it. Here are some of my favorite swaps:
- Grains: Try couscous, orzo, or even cauliflower rice if you want to keep this salad low carb. You could also use regular brown rice.
- Butternut Squash: Swap with sweet potato, acorn or delicata squash, or roasted carrots.
- Grapes: I recommend blackberries or blueberries.
- Spinach: You could surely use kale or mixed greens.
- Goat Cheese: Parmesan has a similar taste while feta has a similar texture.
- Dried Cranberries: You may like golden raisins here instead.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Swap in some slivered almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds.
- Homemade Dressing: Use a store-bought vinaigrette for convenience, however the homemade dressing is *chefs kiss*.
Questions about this Seasonal Harvest Salad
How do I store this salad?
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, however I think it is best served fresh.
Any tips for success?
Use fresh ingredients! They surely have more flavor and will really bring this delicious salad to life.
Can I make this salad dairy free?
Of course! You'll need to omit the cheese or use a dairy-free substitute.
What's the best time to dress this salad?
I recommend dressing and tossing at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This allows the ingredients to absorb the flavors in the dressing.
I'm in a rush! Do I need to wait for the squash and grains to cool?
I highly recommend letting your cooked ingredients cool before assembling. If they are warm, the spinach will wilt and you'll end up with a soggy salad base. If you know you'll be short on time, I highly recommend cooking these ingredients in advance so they're ready for assembly when you need them.
Is this salad best served warm or cold?
Even though some of the ingredients are cooked, this salad is meant to be served cold.
Other seasonal recipes on the blog
Seasonal Harvest Salad Recipe
- Serving bowl
- Baking sheet
- serving spoon
- Chef's Knife
- Cutting Board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Vegetable peeler
- 1 ⅓ cup quinoa
- 1 Pink Lady apple
- 1 cup butternut squash
- 1 cup holiday grapes, halved
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- 3 cups spinach
- ½ cup celery, diced
- ½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch salt + pepper
- In a sauce pan, cook the couscous or quinoa (or desired grain) according to box intructions. Once completed cooking, let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Peel and dice a butternut squash. Coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once completed cooking, let squash cook for 10-15 minutes.
- While the grain & roasted butternut squash is cooking, get to chopping. Slice the apple, halve the grapes, chop the celery, and dice the onion. Add all of the ingredients into a salad bowl. Fold in chopped dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.After the butternut squash and couscous has cooled, it gets added into the salad bowl. Stir together.
- Fold in chopped spinach and desired goat cheese (if any).
- In a measuring cup, combine all dressing ingredients together. Whisk for 20-30 seconds until fully integrated. Drizzle over salad and toss together.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving. This allows the all of the ingredients to absorb the dressing. It makes it super flavorful!!
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It's my passion to create dishes that can be shared with others. Tell me something you loved, something that you think it might need, or just say hi!
Looking for this in MyFitnessPal?
If you're using MyFitnessPal, search 'A Paige Of Positivity' and find Seasonal Harvest Salad
1 serving (with dressing): 24 grams Carbs | 8 grams Fat | 4 grams Protein
**Disclaimer: for most accurate macronutrients and caloric breakdown, it is recommended that you input each ingredient into your MyFitnessPal food diary.
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