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This is one of my favorite fall salads. It captures the best seasonal flavors in every bite; and like most of my recipes, includes easy swaps for the picky eaters in the household. Jack and I enjoyed this salad for a few meals and each time we devoured it. Sometimes (okay almost always) salad gets soggy after sitting in the fridge for a day. This Seasonal Harvest Salad incorporates simple grains that absorb the delicious homemade dressing. It’s perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish, the main course, and also individual servings.
Ingredients in this Seasonal Harvest Salad
- Seasonal ingredients: this salad has so many playful, harvest flavors that pair really nicely together. Pink lady apple, red onion, roasted butternut squash, holiday grapes, as well as organic celery and spinach. Cheese is optional but if you include it, I highly recommend a festive goat cheese. The apricot cherry & cranberry goat cheese log from Trader Joe’s is incredible.
- grains, nuts & seeds: couscous or quinoa, dried cranberries, and seasoned pumpkin seeds. I recommend using a grain that absorbs liquid – the flavor of all the fresh produce seeps into the grain after cooking and it’s the tastiest thing! I used farro for one test and thought the texture was better with couscous & quinoa.
How to make this Seasonal Harvest Salad
- Start by preparing the grain according to it’s box directions. Trader Joe’s couscous is my favorite and that’s what I used in this recipe. I’m rather bad at cooking grains properly so this couscous is pretty ‘fool-proof’ some might say. Once the couscous is done, let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Peel and dice a butternut squash. Remove seeds prior to dicing. 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 the squash cool for 10-15 minutes. Roasted sweet potatoes can easily be included here instead of butternut squash.
- Roasting the butternut squash and cooking the grain takes the longest in this recipe preparation. By starting with steps 1 & 2, it allows time to prep the other ingredients and dressing while the longest two steps cook.
- Slice the apple, halve the grapes, chop the celery into small pieces, 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 will be added into the salad bowl. Stir all ingredients together.
- Fold in chopped spinach (or desired green) and choice of goat cheese. Again, I love the pairing of harvest flavors with a creamy, sweet goat cheese, like Trader Joe’s apricot cheery & cranberry goat cheese or Costco’s bundle of honey, blueberry & fig goat cheese (can you tell I enjoy goat’s milk cheese?)
- In a measuring cup, combine all dressing ingredients together. Whisk for 20-30 seconds until all ingredients are fully integrated. Drizzle over the salad and toss together. Want to use a pre-made dressing? I recommend Panera Bread’s Fuji Apple dressing or a sweet onion vinaigrette.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving. This allows for all of the ingredients to absorb the dressing & makes it incredibly flavorful.
Want to switch it up? Customize it!
- Interchange the ingredients: this recipe is so easy to swap ingredients without taking away the delicious flavor. Have a nut allergy? omit the seeds. Use white onion instead of red onion or roasted sweet potatoes opposed to butternut squash.
- Want this dish to be lower carb: serve the ingredients on a bed of greens opposed to grains and use 1/2 of the total measurement of apples and roasted butternut squash.
Seasonal Harvest Salad
- Mixing Bowl
- sheet pan
- serving spoon
- Chef's Knife
- Measuring cup
- 1 1/3 cup cooked grain: couscous, quinoa, or farro
- 1 honeycrisp apple
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash, or sweet potatoes
- 1 cup holiday grapes, chopped
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup diced celery, ~ 2-3 stalks
- 1/2 cup seasonal goat cheese, honey / blueberry goat cheese
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 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!