Fall Harvest Salad

4.82 from 11 votes

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With roasted butternut squash and crisp apples, this colorful harvest salad is just the way to welcome fall. For greens, it has a base of chopped kale with romaine mixed in. Then for nutty crunch and sweet bites, there are pecans, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. This is a salad that you can enjoy on any day of the week or serve it for Thanksgiving or another holiday. 

Salad with roasted butternut squash, apples, kale and romaine in a bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • You should have a big salad for every season. With roasted butternut squash, apples, cranberries and pecans, this recipe screams fall. Even though there is a chill in the air, you shouldn’t stop eating greens. Just make adjustments with heartier lettuces and both cooked and raw components.
  • It has fruit and vegetables. Nothing beats a salad that has mostly savory ingredients with touches of sweet here and there. That variety in taste and texture keeps you going back for more.
  • This is an everyday salad, but it’s also worthy of get-togethers and holidays like Thanksgiving. Since the lettuce for the salad is kale with some chopped romaine mixed in, it’s sturdy enough to stay crisp when it’s part of a full spread of food that sits out longer than usual. And more importantly, the salad looks beautiful, and it’s tasty.

What Makes A Great Fall Salad

It can be tough to say goodbye to summer, but there’s so much to get excited about when autumn arrives. And salads are the perfect way to get started with squash and apples. These ingredients are a lovely combination of both raw and roasted ingredients for salads with fresh flavors and bright acidic dressings. 

Also, don’t forget the crunchy additions that give greens more personality. For fall, include nuts and seeds like pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Sweet bites of dried fruit like cranberries go with anything nutty as well as roasted squash.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including kale, romaine, butternut squash, apples, pecans, goat cheese, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

This is what you need:

  • Butternut squash: You want to pick a squash that’s smaller in size, about 1-3/4 to 2 pounds. We all know that they can get very big. You can buy peeled and cubed butternut squash if you’re looking for a shortcut. Also, you can substitute with sweet potatoes. 
  • Apples: Go for varieties that are crisp such as Honeycrisp apples or Pink Lady. They are both slower to brown than other types, but you can toss the apples in lemon juice after you dice them if you want.
  • Kale & romaine: For lettuce, I use mostly chopped curly kale with one chopped romaine heart mixed in. I like that variety. It takes some of the bitterness away from the kale leaves.
  • Red onions: Finely chopped, these onions add sharpness to the salad greens.
  • Pecans are a great choice for fall salads.
  • Pumpkin seeds are the it seed of autumn. You can use raw or roasted ones.
  • Dried cranberries add sweet accents to the salad. You can substitute with pomegranate seeds for something fresh instead.
  • Goat cheese crumbled into the salad is creamy with its distinct flavor. If you prefer something saltier, you can use feta cheese instead.
  • Cornbread croutons: Once you toss the salad and put it into the serving dish or divide it onto plates, you can then top it with croutons made with cornbread.
  • Apple cider vinaigrette: The dressing is made with garlic, mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and, of course, apple cider vinegar. Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.

How To Make This Harvest Salad

1. Roast the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Spread it out in a single layer and roast the squash until it is tender and lightly browned, about 25-30 minutes.

2. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl.

Roasted butternut squash on a sheet pan. Apple cider vinaigrette whisked together in a bowl.

3. Assemble the salad. Combine the romaine, kale, butternut squash, apples, red onions, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and goat cheese in a large bowl.

4. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad. Toss to combine. Spoon the salad onto serving dishes and top with cornbread croutons.

Harvest salad assembled in a large bowl. Vinaigrette drizzled into salad and mixed together.


As mentioned, this would be a great choice for Thanksgiving. With roasted turkey and all the side dishes, you might forget about a salad. But having a fresh salad is a must for heavy holiday meals.

This salad is filling enough to for a main dish lunch or dinner. You can even add a protein like chicken, salmon or tofu if you want a little something more to finish it out.

Leftovers & Storage

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. As always with a salad, if you know you’re going to save some of it, do not toss all of it in the dressing. Since the lettuce is primarily kale, it will retain most of its texture, but it will be crispest and freshest if you only dress the amount you are going to eat at a specific time. Then keep the dressing separate in a mason jar or another container.

Fall harvest salad with roasted butternut and apples on a plate.

Recipe Tips

  • You can roast the butternut squash up to 2 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let it sit out at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, so it isn’t as cold as when you first take it out of the fridge.
  • Also, you can make the dressing up to 3 days ahead of time. Keep it in the fridge in a jar. Take it out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you’re going to toss it in the salad. Oil has a tendency to harden in cold temperatures. Also, stir it to turn it into liquid again.
  • Rather than tossing the cornbread croutons in the salad with the other ingredients, top the plated salad with them. Then they won’t get lost in the greens.
  • Make sure to pull apart the dried cranberries. They tend to stick together in the package. In order to measure them correctly and for them to be mixed throughout the salad, you don’t want any clumps.

Recipe FAQs

How do you make this salad vegan?

Leave out the cheese or use a plant-based substitute. For the cornbread croutons, either make them with vegan cornbread or use classic croutons made with crusty bread instead.

Is this salad gluten-free?

If you use gluten-free cornbread for the croutons, then the salad will not contain gluten.

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Fall Harvest Salad

4.82 from 11 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
With roasted butternut squash, apples, dried cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, kale and romaine, this harvest salad is perfect for fall meals including Thanksgiving.


For butternut squash

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 1-3/4 to 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For vinaigrette

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For salad

  • 4 cups chopped curly kale
  • 1 romaine heart, chopped
  • 2 Honeycrisp apples or Pink Lady apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1-2 cups cornbread croutons


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper on a sheet pan. Spread it in a single layer. Roast the squash until it is tender in the middle and lightly browned at the edges, about 25-30 minutes.
  • For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.
  • To assemble the salad, combine the kale, romaine, butternut squash, apples, red onions, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and goat cheese in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle the dressing into the salad. Toss to combine. 
  • Plate the salad and top with cornbread croutons.



You can use peeled and diced sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash.
If you want fresher sweetness, you can substitute pomegranate seeds for dried cranberries.
For saltier and stronger cheese, use feta instead of goat cheese.
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. If you are planning to save part of the salad to eat at another time, do not toss it in the vinaigrette and store the dressing in a separate container from the salad. You will need to let the vinaigrette sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before you toss it into the salad, because the oil will harden in the cold temperature of the fridge.


Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 518mg | Potassium: 877mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 22311IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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4.82 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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