When the leaves start to turn and there’s a crispness in the air, our culinary desires shift towards the warm, hearty, and comforting. Yet, there’s an in-between space that calls for something refreshing yet season-appropriate.
Fall salads are the perfect solution. They bridge the gap between the lightness of summer fare and the rich foods of winter, utilizing the best produce of the season. This weekend, why not delve into the world of fall salads with these delightful recipes?
Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad
The mellow sweetness of butternut squash paired with the burst of tartness from pomegranate seeds makes for a salad that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. Start by peeling and cubing a medium butternut squash.
Toss it with olive oil, a touch of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of salt and cinnamon. Roast until tender and slightly caramelized.
In a large bowl, combine mixed greens—perhaps a blend of arugula for pepperiness and spinach for a smooth counterbalance. Add in thinly sliced red onion and toasted walnuts for a crunch that contrasts the yielding squash.
Toss this base with a dressing made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a dash of Dijon mustard, and a smidge of garlic, emulsified into a vinaigrette.
To assemble, lay down your greens, top with warm squash, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, and, for a final touch, crumble over some goat cheese. The creaminess of the cheese melds all the flavors together into a harmonious dish that brings comfort and refreshment in each bite.
Apple, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Salad with Maple Dressing
There’s something undeniably autumnal about the combination of apples and nuts. These fall salad recipes celebrate that pairing and add the sophisticated tang of blue cheese. Begin by selecting a crisp apple variety—something that holds its shape and provides a fresh crunch. Slice the apples thinly and toss them in lemon juice to prevent browning.
On a bed of endive and radicchio, the bitterness of the leaves offering a counterpoint to the sweetness of the apples, scatter your apple slices and add toasted walnuts for warmth and crunch. Crumble over a generous helping of blue cheese, allowing its creamy, sharp character to punctuate the salad.
The dressing is simple yet sublime. Whisk together real maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, a little mayonnaise for creaminess, and some neutral oil until it comes together into a glossy, luxurious dressing.
Drizzle it over your salad just before serving for a glistening, flavor-packed dish that will make your taste buds dance with the joy of fall.
Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Feta
Lentils are an excellent way to add substance to a salad, making it suitable as a main dish. For this warm salad, you’ll want to use green or brown lentils, which hold their shape after cooking. Simmer them in vegetable stock until just tender, then drain and set aside to keep warm.
Roast a medley of fall vegetables—think chunks of carrot, parsnip, and beetroot, all of which sweeten and intensify in flavor as they roast. You could also add some Brussels sprouts, halved and tossed in olive oil, which will come out of the oven with crispy edges and tender centers.
Combine the warm lentils and vegetables in a large bowl. Add in some roughly chopped parsley for freshness and cubes of feta cheese for a salty tang that will bring the earthy flavors to life. For the dressing, go for a simple lemon vinaigrette—a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and a hint of honey to balance the acidity.
This warm salad is both grounding and invigorating, a substantial offering that’s perfect for a cool fall evening.
Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Pecans
The delicate sweetness of pears is a perfect match for the strong flavor of gorgonzola cheese. When you add candied pecans to the mix, you get a play of flavors and textures that are absolutely irresistible. Slice ripe but firm pears and toss them with lemon juice to maintain their color.
Layer these slices over a mix of baby spinach and butter lettuce for a soft, mellow base. The cheese should be crumbled over in generous amounts, its creaminess melting into the nooks and crannies of the leaves.
Candy your pecans by toasting them lightly in a pan and then adding a mixture of brown sugar and a hint of butter, cooking until they’re coated in a shiny glaze. Once they’re cooled and hardened, break them into pieces and sprinkle over the salad. A dressing made from olive oil, white wine vinegar, a touch of mustard, and a whisper of honey complements the salad without overpowering the delicate pears and cheese.
Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Beetroots have a deep, earthy sweetness that is wonderfully offset by the tangy punch of goat cheese. For this salad, roast whole beetroots wrapped in foil until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Once cooled, peel and slice them into wedges.
Arrange the beetroot slices on a platter over a bed of mixed greens—perhaps some peppery arugula, crisp romaine, or tender baby spinach. Dot the platter with chunks of creamy goat cheese and a scattering of toasted pine nuts for a nutty crunch.
Whisk together a vinaigrette of orange juice, a splash of lemon juice, olive oil, and a drop of honey for sweetness. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the salad just before serving. The citrus dressing will bring a bright, zesty flavor that cuts through the richness of the beetroots and cheese, resulting in a beautifully balanced dish.
When preparing these salads, the focus should be on the freshness of the ingredients and the joy of combining flavors and textures that speak of abundance and harvest. The colors alone will brighten any table, and the tastes will have everyone asking for seconds.
Enjoy the process of creation and the pleasure of sharing these vibrant, delicious salads with friends and family this weekend.