Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

September 7, 2021

Say goodbye to boring salads, and hello to my Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing. This is THE ultimate salad for fall, loaded with tons of vibrant, fresh veggies, crisp fruit, and a little cheese. Oh, and not to mention, my maple tahini dressing that is absolutely to die for. If you’ve been looking for a good salad recipe, then look no further: you’ve found it!

One of the only places that I actually enjoy salads from is Sweetgreen, and their Harvest Bowl is my go-to. However, as much as I love their salads from time-to-time, spending $14 on a single salad every day isn’t always feasible. So, I set out to create something that was similar… but also different. Think of this as the essence of the Harvest Bowl, rolled into something that I think is even better.

Why is this salad better, you may ask? Well, for starters, this salad is both vegetarian and grain-free, two things that the Harvest Bowl isn’t. Second, we’re loading this salad up with pomegranate arils for a boost of antioxidants, pepitas for protein and for healthy hormones, and roasted butternut squash for potassium, fiber, and loads of flavor. YUM!

Oh, and did I mention, the dressing is homemade? While making a homemade dressing may sound complicated, I promise, it’s super easy and totally worth the extra steps. Keep reading and see just how easy it actually is!

What You Need to Make this Fall Harvest Salad

  • Butternut Squash: Butternut squash is the quintessential fall ingredient for me (aside from pumpkin, of course). I love it in this recipe; you can buy it whole and cut it yourself, or use a pre-cut version as well- Trader Joe’s has a good one! Just make sure it’s fresh, NOT frozen.
  • Olive Oil: This is one of those recipes, where you can taste the quality of the olive oil that you use. So if you have a nice bottle, bust it out and use it in this recipe. Your dressing will be out of this world. But again, just use what you have, it will still be amazing.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon gives our butternut squash a slightly sweet flavor that pairs really well in this salad.
  • Salt: Of course, what would a salad be without salt?!
  • Lacinato (Dino) Kale: I love lacinato (or Dino) kale because it’s tender, curly, and in my opinion, less bitter than regular kale.
  • Apples: Honey Crisp apples are my favorite in this recipe, and I highly recommend them!
  • Pomegranate Arils: Aka pomegranate seeds. These are absolutely delicious, packed with heart-healthy vitamins and antioxidants, and add a nice bite to this salad.
  • Feta Cheese: Feta cheese pairs perfectly with the fruit in this salad and adds a briney, creamy, yet surprisingly light flavor.
  • Pepitas: Pepitas, also known as pumpkin seeds, add a slightly smoky, salty, and earthy flavor. Don’t knock ’em till you try ’em!

What You Need to Make the Maple Tahini Dressing

  • Tahini: To make this dressing, you need one of my favorite ingredients: tahini! My favorite tahini is this one by Soom Foods.
  • Maple Syrup: And what would a maple dressing be without maple syrup?! While this may sound weird, it adds the perfect amount of sweetness, to compliment the saltiness of the tahini.
  • Lemon Juice: I recommend using a real lemon, vs lemon from concentrate. It just tastes better!
  • Olive Oil: I also recommend using a high-quality olive oil, if possible. You’ll really taste the flavor!
  • Red Wine Vinegar: I love the flavor of red wine vinegar, so if you have it on hand, make sure to use it!
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is essential in any good salad dressing!
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper: Because obviously, you need salt and pepper! 

 

How to Make This Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

  1. First, prepare the butternut squash. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place your butternut squash on the baking sheet, and coat evenly with the olive oil, salt, and cinnamon. Place in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once, or until squash is golden brown and fork tender. Don’t overcook it or it will get mushy.
  2. Next, prepare the dressing. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl, or add to a mason jar, and cover, and shake well. You can open the jar, taste, and adjust the seasonings to your liking, if needed.
  3. Now, let’s get started on the salad, beginning with the kale.
  4. Remove the kale leaves from the stems (the stems are bitter, so feel free to compost them or save them for a veggie stock). Fold up the kale leaves tightly and chop them pretty thin, into about ¼-½ inch pieces.
  5. Add the kale to a large bowl. Then add a pinch of salt and use your hands to massage the kale VERY WELL, until the leaves begin to wilt; this will help the kale soften and take on less of a bitter flavor.
  6. Add the cooked butternut squash, sliced apples, pomegranate, pepitas, and feta to the bowl.
  7. Next, add the dressing and coat the salad well.
  8. Plate and garnish with more toppings as desired, such as more apples, pepitas, or cheese. Toss again, and enjoy!

Looking For a Boost of Protein? Try These!

While this salad is perfectly hearty and filling on its own, if you’re looking to get in more protein, here are some different options you can try!

  • Add 1 cup of roasted chickpeas or cooked quinoa, to keep this salad vegetarian.
  • My Sheet Pan Bruschetta Chicken Breasts would go great with this salad!
  • A grilled or baked salmon would also go great here.

Meal Prepping? Here are a Few Tips!

If you’re including this salad in your meal prep for the week, I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe, so you have enough for a week’s worth of salads! You can store your dressing in a mason jar in the fridge, and your salad mixture in an airtight container in the fridge as well. Store for up to one week, but it’s the freshest within 3-5 days.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating below! And of course, since I practically live on Instagram, tag me in your creations so I can see them and repost on my IG stories! Enjoy! xx

Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

Author: Nicole Modic of @KALEJUNKIE

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
SERVES 4
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Say goodbye to boring salads, and hello00 to my Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing. This is THE ultimate salad for fall, loaded with tons of vibrant, fresh veggies, crisp fruit, and a little cheese. Oh, and not to mention, my maple tahini dressing that is absolutely to die for. If you've been looking for a good salad recipe, then look no further: you've found it!

Ingredients

For the Butternut Squash

  • 2 1/2 Cups Cubed Butternut Squash about 1/2 inch thick pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 Bunches Lacinato Kale (aka Dino Kale) thinly chopped
  • 2 Honey Crisp Apples thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Pomegranate Arils
  • 3/4 Cup Feta Cheese crumbled
  • 1/3 Cup Pepitas

For the Dressing:

  • 3 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Clove Garlic mashed
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  • First, prepare the butternut squash. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place your butternut squash on the baking sheet, and coat evenly with the olive oil, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Place in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once, or until squash is golden brown and fork tender. Don’t overcook it or it will get mushy.
  • Next, prepare the dressing. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl, or add to a mason jar, and cover, and shake well. You can open the jar, taste, and adjust the seasonings to your liking, if needed.
  • Now, let’s get started on the salad, beginning with the kale.
  • Remove the kale leaves from the stems (the stems are bitter, so feel free to compost them or save them for a veggie stock). Fold up the kale leaves tightly and chop them pretty thin, into about ¼-½ inch pieces.
  • Add the kale to a large bowl. Then add a pinch of salt and use your hands to massage the kale VERY WELL, until the leaves begin to wilt; this will help the kale soften and take on less of a bitter flavor.
  • Add the cooked butternut squash, sliced apples, pomegranate, pepitas, and feta to the bowl.
  • Next, add the dressing and coat the salad well.
  • Plate and garnish with more toppings as desired, such as more apples, pepitas, or cheese. Toss again, and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made - tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. Loved the Harvest salad and dressing😍 served with grilled salmon was delicious! Oh hubby couldn’t get enough😍😍 Thanks again for all your delicious recipes and can’t wait for your book!!!

    • I love this salad with Salmond! Thanks so much for your review Barbara, and I can’t wait to share my book with you!!