The College Housewife » Recipes » Salad » Fall Harvest Salad

Fall Harvest Salad

This Fall Harvest Salad is like autumn in a bowlcrisp apple, tender sweet potato, smoky bacon, tangy blue cheese, sweet cranberries and crunchy pecans – tossed with an apple cider vinaigrette. It’s healthy enough for meal prepped lunch yet gorgeous enough to serve throughout the holiday season!

overhead of fall salad recipe with two spoons

Why you’ll love this autumn harvest salad

Sweet and savory! This is one of those easy salad recipes that hits all the right flavor notes – sweet, savory, smoky, crunchy, crisp, refreshing. And if I can get all the cozy feels while eating a salad, then that’s reason enough to eat more greens.

Perfect for meal prep! The beauty of this salad – besides all those gorgeous colors – is that you can prep all the components ahead of time and store them in separate containers in the fridge. Come eating time, I have all the ingredients prepped and ready, all I have to do is assemble the salad and toss to salad perfection.

Gorgeous for the holidays! Since this salad packs in so much flavor and celebrates the bounty of the season, I like to think of it as the perfect salad recipe to bring to all the holiday festivities and potluck parties throughout the cold weather months. I even serve it as the centerpiece to my Thanksgiving table. If you are traveling or going to a family or friend’s house, just make sure to keep the dressing separate from the salad and toss right before serving.

two spoons tossing salad greens, apples, pecans, blue cheese and cranberries in bowl

Ingredients for apple harvest salad

The ingredient list for this one is broken up into two parts – the harvest salad and the fall salad dressing. Here’s a breakdown of what we need:

Harvest salad

  • Sweet potato
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Field or mixed greens
  • Bacon
  • Honeycrisp apple
  • Dried cranberries
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Pecans

bacon, diced sweet potato, pecans, craisins, mustard, rosemary, maple syrup, salad greens

Harvest salad dressing

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

olive oil, rosemary, garlic, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, white bowl, whisk

How to make healthy harvest salad

  1. Roast sweet potato: Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a small sheet pan, add diced sweet potato and drizzle with a light coating of olive oil. Season evenly with kosher salt, cracked black pepper and minced rosemary. Mix together and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the sweet potato is golden and caramelized. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary, kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Whisk until dressing is smooth and emulsified. Transfer to a mason jar or air-tight container and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, arrange the greens evenly. Top with bacon, apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, chopped pecans and cooled sweet potato. 
  4. Toss with dressing: Drizzle the salad with dressing before serving and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

pouring olive oil into apple vinaigrette dressing

Make it your own

This is one of those fall salad recipes that is customizable since you can mix and match different ingredients to suit your needs. Here are some of my favorite ingredient swaps to truly make it your own.

  • Squash: Sub out the sweet potato for butternut or acorn squash. Or, go for super sweet honeynut squash when in season.
  • Greens: Try baby arugula, baby spinach or even curly kale that has been massaged for two minutes with the dressing.
  • Fruit: Slice up a pear or fresh figs in replace of the apple.
  • Dried berries: Use dried cherries or even raisins.
  • Cheese: Crumble some fresh feta or goat cheese instead.
  • Nuts: Go for toasted buttery walnuts or sliced almonds.
  • Vegan: Omit the cheese and bacon.

two spoons tossing salad greens, apples, pecans, blue cheese and cranberries in bowl

Serving suggestions

This salad is best served immediately once tossed with the dressing. It adds a wonderful color palette to any holiday spread. Some of my favorite holiday recipes to pair it with include herb apple stuffing, green bean casserole, and garlic mashed potatoes.

Make ahead and storage tips

If you want to prepare the salad in advance, either for meal prep throughout the week or just to get ahead on your holiday prepping, here are my best tips:

  • Sweet Potato: Roast as instructed and cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Salad Greens: Wash and spin dry, then transfer to an airtight container with a strip of paper towel to soak up any moisture. Greens should hold up for 5-7 days.
  • Mix-Ins: Store the bacon and blue cheese crumbles in separate containers in the fridge. Leave the apple whole and slice just upon serving. Feel free to store the cranberries and pecans in separate containers right on the kitchen counter.
  • Dressing: Mix the dressing just as instructed. Store in a mason jar for up to 1 week.

two spoons tossing salad greens, apples, pecans, blue cheese and cranberries in bowl

Looking for more salad recipes? Check these out!

If you make this Fall Harvest Salad recipe, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

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overhead of fall salad recipe with two spoons

Fall Harvest Salad

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Fall Harvest Salad is like autumn in a bowlcrisp apple, tender sweet potato, smoky bacon, tangy blue cheese, sweet cranberries and crunchy pecans – tossed with an apple cider vinaigrette. It’s healthy enough for meal prepped lunch yet gorgeous enough to serve throughout the holiday season!


Ingredients

Scale

Fall Harvest Salad:

1 small sweet potato, 1/2 inch diced

olive oil

kosher salt

freshly cracked black pepper

2 tsp minced rosemary

8 cups field greens

8 oz bacon, cooked and chopped

1 small Honeycrisp apple, sliced

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup blue cheese crumbles

½ cup chopped pecans

Fall Salad Dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp minced rosemary

kosher salt, to taste

cracked black pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Roast sweet potato: Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a small sheet pan, add diced sweet potato and drizzle with a light coating of olive oil. Season evenly with kosher salt, cracked black pepper and minced rosemary. Mix together and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the sweet potato is golden and caramelized. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary, kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Whisk until dressing is smooth and emulsified. Transfer to a mason jar or air-tight container and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, arrange the greens evenly. Top with bacon, apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, chopped pecans and cooled sweet potato. 
  4. Toss with dressing: Drizzle the salad with dressing before serving and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes

Make-Ahead: Store all components of the salad in separate containers in the fridge (dried cranberries and pecans can be stored on the countertop). Toss with the dressing just before serving.

Keywords: easy, Thanksgiving, healthy

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