This post first appeared on Noshing With The Nolands where I am a contributor.
A fall harvest salad to celebrate all things fall. Loaded with the best fall ingredients like butternut squash, brussels sprouts, crispy quinoa, blue cheese, roasted beets and and topped with the best champagne apple cider vinaigrette!
The best Fall Harvest Salad
This Fall Harvest Salad With Champagne Apple Cider Vinaigrette just screams fall! It’s cozy, filling, and just downright GORGEOUS. I’ll be serving this as a side dish at every dinner party this year.
The roasted beets will start to dye everything they touch in the salad especially the butternut squash and I love it so much, it’s like a beautiful fall rainbow!
It combines all the best flavors and textures like brussels sprouts, butternut squash, beets, apples, pecans, blue cheese, and crispy quinoa.
If you haven’t had crispy quinoa before, you’re in for a real treat! The Quinoa gets cooked as usual, then crisped in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. I love adding it to salads in place of croutons.
There’s tons of crunch happening in this salad. I’m real big on texture I don’t want a sad and soggy salad, I want a bad and bougie salad! And this salad is just that.
The champagne apple cider vinaigrette is made in less than 5 minutes. All the ingredients are combined in a food processor, so it’s super easy.
Fall harvest salad ingredients
We’ve got all the delicious fall ingredients in this salad, like brussels sprouts, beets, squash, and apples. It’s a light salad but still hearty enough to leave you feeling full and satisfied.
How to make a fall harvest salad
Some people associate roasting vegetables with lots of time, but since we’re cubing the veggies to 1 inch pieces, they won’t be roasting very long! While they roast, we prep the rest of the salad and in my house, we also clean up any mess we’ve made while waiting for things to cook.
This makes it so much easier when we are finished with dinner and just want to relax.
- Roast the vegetables. Start by peeling the beets and squash, and cutting them into 1 inch cubes. Add them to a foiled sheet pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss and bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes or until they’re tender enough to poke with a fork.
- Make the crispy quinoa. While the veggies are roasting, cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Then heat a medium non-stick pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the quinoa, season with salt and pepper, and arrange it in a flat layer. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes before tossing again. When the bottom has turned golden brown, toss the quinoa and arrange it in a flat layer for 3-5 minutes.
- Prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. While the veggies are roasting and the quinoa is cooking, I like to prepare everything else. Cut the apples into 1 inch cubes, roughly chop the pecans, and shave the brussels sprouts.
- Make the vinaigrette. Chop half an apple and 2 cloves of garlic. Add them to a food processor and blend until the pieces are finely chopped. Then add the remaining vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Put it all together. Add the shaved brussels sprouts to a large bowl and mix with half the dressing. Then add the rest of the salad ingredients and the other half of the dressing, gently toss until combined.
Champagne apple cider vinaigrette
To make the vinaigrette, chop half an apple and 2 cloves of garlic, add them to a food processor and blend until the pieces are finely chopped. Then add the remaining vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
Other ingredients you can use
One of the best things about this salad is that you can switch up the produce based on what’s in season and local to you. Here are a few ingredients that I use pretty interchangeably in this salad:
- pomegranate seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- acorn squash
- delicata squash
Sometimes I like to use honey roasted pecan salad toppers that I find in my local grocery store. They’re already chopped and have some extra flavor, so they make preparing this salad even easier. You can use pretty much any nut you prefer, or leave the nuts out all together if you have an allergy.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
You can absolutely make this fall harvest salad ahead of time. In fact, I think it tastes better when made ahead of time. The longer the brussels sprouts marinate in the champagne apple cider vinaigrette, the more tender and flavorful they will become.
Unlike lettuce which would become soggy, the shaved brussels sprouts will remain crisp even the next day!
Tips for making it ahead of time:
- Add the cheese right before serving
- Make a fresh batch of crispy quinoa before serving, or store it in an airtight container
I made this salad ahead of time but made a fresh batch of crispy quinoa before serving so it would be nice and crispy. All I did was cook the quinoa ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Then I crisped it in the pan in about 5 minutes right before serving.
This fall harvest salad makes about 8 servings, so it’s perfect for a crowd and also a great work lunch if you have leftovers.
What to serve with it
My favorite dishes to pair with this salad are Pistachio Crusted Salmon and Blackened Shrimp. But you really can’t go wrong with a pairing for this salad, there’s almost nothing it doesn’t taste great with! Here are a few other ideas:
- Creamy Tuscan Kale Campanelle With Lemony Panko Bread Crumbs
- Sesame Ginger Chicken With Lime
- Tomato Ricotta Pesto Pasta With Balsamic Burst Cherry Tomatoes And Lemony Panko
Most people would say summer is their favorite season for salads, but I love the fall produce so much and am always craving a hearty salad! Fortunately, this salad is great no matter what season you’re in, it’s a light salad that still screams fall.
This brussels sprouts salad is fairly easy to make and of course, I’m in love with it.
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Fall Harvest Salad With Champagne Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 2 dozen brussels sprouts
- 3 small beets
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 apples
- 1/2 cup blue cheese
- 1/2 cup pecans
- olive oil for cooking
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a sheet pan with foil. Peel the beets and the squash, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Place them on the sheet pan and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, toss, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place them in the oven for 10-15 minutes (tossing halfway through) or until tender enough to poke with a fork.
- To make the crispy quinoa, cook it according to the package instructions, then heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the quinoa to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and arrange it in a flat layer. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes then give it a good toss and arrange it back in a flat layer, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until crispy.
- While the vegetables are roasting and the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other salad ingredients and the vinaigrette. Cut the apples into 1-inch cubes, roughly chop the pecans, and shave the brussels sprouts*.
- To make the vinaigrette, chop half of an apple and 2 cloves of garlic. Add them to a food processor and blend until the pieces are finely chopped. Add the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add the shaved brussels sprouts to a large salad bowl, mix in half the dressing, then add the rest of the salad ingredients, the rest of the dressing, and combine.