Enjoy a harvest salad filled with fresh, seasonal ingredients like butternut squash, apples, arugula, pecans, and more! Healthy, vibrant, and filling, this flavorful dish is perfect to serve alongside your favorite fall and winter meals.
What is a harvest salad?
A harvest salad incorporates all of the most delicious fruits and vegetables that are in their current peak season. This salad includes fall season crops like butternut squash and green apples, which are fresh, wholesome, and hearty.
Garnished with candied pecans, dried cranberries, and my Maple Dijon Vinaigrette, each bite is full of sweet, tart, and rich flavors. It’s a recipe the whole family will enjoy!
Are harvest salads vegan?
Since there are so many ways a fall harvest salad can be served, it’s not a simple “yes” or “no” answer. The majority of harvest salad recipes utilize vegan-friendly ingredients, but I always recommend checking the dressing and any added protein to ensure they’re vegan as well!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Butternut squash: There is nothing more fall-inspired than roasted butternut squash, especially served in a harvest salad like this! If you don’t have access to any, try a different winter squash or garnet sweet potatoes.
- Apples: I love the sourness of green apples, but the autumn season brings with it so many options. Try Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, or whichever your go-to crispy variety is.
- Baby arugula: One of the peak harvest seasons of arugula is fall, so it makes a perfect base for this salad. You can use other late-season crops such as spinach, kale, endive, or radicchio in combination with the arugula.
- Pecans: For a sweet, rich, and buttery crunch in each bite. I highly recommend adding candied pecans to this salad, but regular pecans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds work too.
- Cherries/cranberries: In addition to candied pecans, the tart taste of dried cranberries or cherries adds another mouthwatering element to this recipe. You could also try raisins for an equally delicious addition.
- Dressing: The Maple Dijon Vinaigrette or Maple Balsamic Dressing are perfect for autumn salads. But you can always substitute with your favorite store bought dressing.
- Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Step 2: Toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive or walnut oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the squash to the prepared baking sheet, and roast it for 30 to 35 minutes. You’ll know the squash is done when the edges are turning golden brown.
- Step 3: Place the baby arugula in a large serving bowl and toss it with the dressing. Top the tossed baby arugula with roasted butternut squash cubes, apples, dried cherries/cranberries, and candid pecans.
What to serve with a fall harvest salad
Enjoy your harvest salad as a light lunch or main, or on the side of some of these dishes:
For any extra salad or dressing, follow these storage instructions:
- Fridge: While fresh is best, the undressed salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I strongly recommend storing it without any dressing because the arugula will turn soggy. As for the dressing, it will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- Freezer: I don’t suggest freezing the salad or dressing for this recipe.
- Prep ahead: Make the dressing up to 2 weeks in advance. You can also prep the salad the night before serving it.
Note: If the dressing thickens up when it’s stored in the fridge. If you want to thin it out, simply add a few teaspoons of water and give it a good whisk.
- Protein: For an extra boost of protein, add tofu, tempeh, or chickpeas on top.
- Seasonings: Test out different spice combinations in the dressing such as cumin, coriander, or cayenne. Try adding cinnamon to the butternut squash for an extra boost of autumn flavors.
- Different greens: Instead of arugula, add kale for heartier, more earthy flavors.
- Oil-free: Skip the oil and add extra walnuts or cashews to the dressing for an oil-free option.
- Fruit: Instead of apples, add pears for a milder taste and a slightly softer texture.
- Cheese: Garnish this harvest salad with a sprinkle of vegan feta, vegan goat cheese, or nutritional yeast to pack in the umami flavors.
- Let the squash cool. To avoid wilted arugula, let the roasted butternut squash cool for a few minutes before adding it to the salad.
- Don’t use all of the dressing. This recipe makes more dressing than is necessary for one salad, so add small amounts to the arugula, toss it, then add more if needed.
- Use a high-speed blender. For the dressing, I recommend a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, Blendtec, or Ninja for the dressing.
Yes, this version of a fall harvest salad is gluten-free. If you add more ingredients, you’ll need to double-check that they are also free of gluten.
More vegan recipes to try
If you enjoyed this fall harvest salad, be sure to check out some more of my favorite lunch and dinner recipes:
- Vegan bowl: A healthy grain bowl filled with tofu, kale, and edamame.
- Vegan ramen noodles: A flavorful noodle bowl featuring tofu and a lemongrass broth.
- Moong masoor dal: A protein-packed dish with flavors inspired by India.
- Lemon orzo salad: Orzo pasta salad filled with Mediterranean flavors.
- 1 ½ cup butternut squash chopped, oven roasted
- ½ cup green apples chopped in cubes
- 4 cups baby arugula
- ¾ cup pecans candied
- ¼ cup cherries/cranberries dried
- ¼ cup Maple Dijon Vinaigrette or per taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of walnut oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast 30 to 35 minutes until the edges of the butternut squash are golden brown, tossing halfway through.
- Place the baby arugula in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Then top off the tossed baby arugula with the roasted butternut squash and apples. Garnish with some dried cherries/cranberries and candid pecans.