As the leaves turn brilliant shades of red and gold and the air becomes crisp and invigorating, it's the perfect time to embrace the flavors of autumn with a delightful "Autumn Harvest Salad." This vibrant salad captures the essence of the season, combining a medley of fresh, wholesome ingredients that are both delicious and nutritious. Whether you're seeking a light lunch or a side dish for a cozy dinner, this salad is sure to satisfy your autumn cravings.
For the Salad:
- 4 cups of mixed salad greens (such as spinach, arugula, and kale)
- 1 cup of butternut squash, cubed and roasted
- 1 cup of apples, thinly sliced (choose your favorite variety)
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup of pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup of red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese (optional, for added creaminess)
For the Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Prepare the Roasted Butternut Squash:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Peel and cube the butternut squash.
- Toss the cubed squash with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Let it cool.
2. Prepare the Dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Assemble the Salad:
- In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, roasted butternut squash, sliced apples, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and red onion.
- If desired, sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top for an extra layer of flavor.
4. Drizzle with Dressing:
- Just before serving, drizzle the prepared dressing over the salad. Toss gently to ensure all ingredients are coated evenly.
5. Serve and Enjoy:
- Divide the salad into individual plates or bowls.
- Garnish with additional pecans or dried cranberries, if desired.
- Serve your Autumn Harvest Salad as a light meal or alongside your favorite fall-inspired dishes.
This Autumn Harvest Salad is not only a feast for the eyes but also a celebration of seasonal ingredients that nourish the body and delight the palate. With its vibrant colors and harmonious flavors, it's a perfect addition to your autumn menu. Enjoy the crisp, refreshing taste of fall with each bite!