Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette is full of the flavors of fall! It’s made with apples, walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin – all of the foods I love the most in the autumn months. Enjoy it as a main dish for lunch or side dish for dinner. It’s the perfect starter for Thanksgiving, too! This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Fall Harvest Salad
Fall usually means giving up cooling salads in favor of heartier, warming meals like soups and stews. But with this recipe you can have your salad and eat it too.
This Harvest Salad is based on a dish that I used to order at Salad Works in the fall months, many years ago. The menu item contained meat, but I would ask to get it with mushrooms, instead. It was a sad day in December when I went in for lunch and found that they only served it in September, October, and November. Rather than sulk about it, I went to the store, bought ingredients, and made my own salad at home!
Pumpkin Vinaigrette Dressing
This salad is full of all of the flavors of autumn — apples, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and pecans — but the real star is the pumpkin vinaigrette dressing! Made with pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil, it can be used as a marinade for tofu and tempeh, or a dressing for roasted vegetables, in addition to being poured all over salads.
When buying pumpkin for this recipe, make sure you get puree, not pumpkin pie filling, which is made with cinnamon and nutmeg and would taste kind of weird here.
How to Make Harvest Salad
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make!
- First you toss together all of the salad ingredients.
- Then you mix together all of the dressing ingredients.
- Finally, you toss everything together!
How to Toast Nuts
This salad would taste really great with pecans and pumpkin seeds straight out of the package, but toasting them really kicks the flavor up a notch. It’s super easy to do, too. You can toast your nuts one of two ways:
- To toast your pecans on the stovetop, place a large, dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the nuts and cook, stirring frequently until they are golden brown. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes.
- To toast your nuts in the oven, preheat it to 400°F degrees. Spread the pecans out in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake them for 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them, because they can go from not-yet-done to burnt-to-a-crisp in the blink of an eye.
How to Customize Your Harvest Salad
Feel free to play with your salad ingredients and make it your own.
- You can use any type of lettuce or even kale.
- Sliced pears can be used instead of apples.
- Just about any type of nut can be used instead of pecans.
- To make it nut free, you can use sunflower seeds instead of pecans.
- If you’d like a to use a different dressing, give my Maple Mustard Dressing a try.
Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette
For the Salad
- 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped
- 2 carrots shredded or julienned
- 4 to 6 mushrooms sliced
- 1 apple sliced
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds toasted
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans chopped
For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water or vegetable stock
- 3 or 4 fresh sage leaves
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.
Other Fall Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
- Holiday Kale Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing
- Farro Salad with Apples and Pecans
- Apple-Pecan Tempeh Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing