So, here’s the thing.
You, like me, have probably heard 56 different salads referred to as an “autumn harvest salad.” It is a very overused description, but I must say, that is exactly what today’s salad is! It’s like an autumn harvest! In a bowl! With greens! You’ll see.
If you go into a restaurant or even a fast food chain anytime after September 1st, there is often a version of a autumn/fall/harvest salad on the menu. Said salad usually involves something similar to what I am sharing today. Squash. Dried fruit. Apple slices. A fun vinaigrette. You know what I am talking about.
So, while you have probably been inundated with this type of meal, I am sharing this recipe anyway. Because it’s good. Damn good. It felt criminal to keep this one all to myself. I think you’ll forgive my redundancy when all is said and done.
We’ve got roasted butternut squash, a true fall staple in my house. We’ve got the most addictive cornbread croutons. Dried cranberries. Crisp apples. Loads of fresh sage. Slices of tender chicken breast. Pomegranate arils. You see now why the title of this recipe/post is so appropriate? It’s accurate, to say the least.
I am a huge fan of fall salads. It seems kind of counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Fall is usually the time we all begin our hunkering down process for the colder months to come, loading our plates and bowls with warm and cozy things while saying “sayonara!” to the lighter fare of summer. And while this is totally true for me (hello, soup addict here!), I love a good fall salad. The reason?
Roasted squash! Apples! Pomegranate! CORNBREAD CROUTONS. I am having a serious love affair with the cornbread croutons. I discovered them last year when I decided to put them on soup. Heavenly. I don’t want to make any other type of crouton ever for the rest of time. They’re so yummy. Both savory and a touch sweet with the best crunchy texture.
All of these ingredients just scream “AUTUMN!” and I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love this season. So no brainer, right?
The thing that’s so great about this salad, aside from how tasty and appropriately seasonal it is, is how HEARTY and satisfying it ends up being. A lot of times, I have to talk myself into eating a salad as my meal. Not that I dislike salads, but I definitely have to work myself up to eat them from time to time. Sometimes, the cheeseburger just sounds better. I know you know what I’m talking about.
My over-hungry self is usually saying something like “ugh, a salad?! But I’m soooo hungrrryyyyyy. I want a sandwich. Not a measly salad.”
Well. Hungry Me can be dumb sometimes. Because THIS salad definitely fills me up and quells any cheeseburger cravings I may have had pre meal. Well, almost. Cheeseburger cravings never completely go away for me, if I’m being completely honest. But my point is this: this salad totally counts as a full-blown MEAL. It’s chock-full of veggies, fruit, protein, and carbs.
All while being blanketed in a creamy parmesan-sage dressing. Swoon. I could pour this stuff on everything. It’s kind of like a sage-y Caesar dressing. Kind of. It’s peppery and spicy from the fresh sage and loads savory from the cheese and anchovies. It’s lovely. One word of warning, though: you must be a fan of fresh sage to enjoy this dressing. It’s potent! If you aren’t sure if you like sage enough to put in the dressing, just leave it out. Creamy parmesan cheese dressing never hurt anyone, after all.
So, join me. Make this redundant AUTUMN HARVEST SALAD. And love it.
I know you will.
1 small butternut squash
1 loaf store-bought (or homemade!) cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
2 fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups baby kale (or leafy greens of choice)
1½ cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
The roasted squash
1 large apple, cored and sliced/chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pomegranate arils
The cornbread croutons
Parmesan shavings, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with foil.
Carefully cut the outer skin off of the squash with a sharp knife. Remove the seeds and then dice the squash into bite-sized chunks. Place on one of the baking sheets.
Drizzle the squash with oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until softened and caramelized in spots.
To the other prepared baking sheet, add the cubed cornbread and drizzle with a little oil, salt, and pepper.
Toss to evenly coat and add to the same oven as the squash for 10-12 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden.
Place all the ingredients except the olive oil into a blender. Blend until well combined and smooth.
With the machine running, stream in the olive oil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve (the longer it hangs out, the better. I often make this dressing a few hours or days ahead).
Combine the greens, chicken, squash, apples, cranberries, pomegranate arils, and croutons in a large bowl. Add desired amount of dressing and toss well to combine.
Transfer the salad to serving dishes and garnish with parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.