August 4, 2021

Autumn Harvest Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

This colorful salad is a celebration of the flavors and textures of the autumn season. Tender squash, crisp apples, tart cranberries, and crunchy toasted nuts and seeds marry with a Maple Vinaigrette that is just the right balance of tangy and sweet. Enjoy this salad for dinner, and then think about making a place for it on your Thanksgiving table!

I grew delicata squash in my garden this year, and I’m thrilled to have an endless supply of it. I love delicata squash because it requires next to no work - they are easy to cut, don’t have many seeds to remove, and they do not have to be peeled. Plus, I love the colorful streaks of green and orange.

Once you make this Maple Vinaigrette, you’ll want to pour it on every vegetable for the next month. It’s a light salad dressing, but it also pairs well with roasted vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, or other squash varieties. This recipe makes more than you’ll need for this salad, so you’ll get to find other ways to use it! This also makes a fairly large salad, making it good for a weekly meal prep session, or to take to a holiday gathering to share.

Woven basket with lots of delicata squash
Delicata squash were abundant in my garden this year!

Maple Vinaigrette ingredients layered in a Mason jar
I love making salad dressings such as this Maple Vinaigrette in Mason jars - easy to prep and easy to store!

Maple Vinaigrette shaken in a Mason jar
Just give all your ingredients in the jar a good shake to combine!

Two hands scooping out seeds from a delicata squash
Delicata squash are easy to work with. Cut them in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds, and cut as desired.

Large diced delicata squash on a baking sheet
For this salad, I like bite-sized pieces of squash. Toss your squash pieces with avocado oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet.

Pecans and pepitas toasting in a skillet on the stove
While squash is roasting, toast the pecans and pepitas in a skillet on the stove.

Autumn Harvest Salad in a large green bowl
Assemble your salad, and serve with extra dressing and extra nuts and seeds on the side.

Original publication date: October 19, 2020

Autumn Harvest Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

This colorful salad is a celebration of the flavors and textures of autumn: tender squash, crisp apples, tart cranberries, and crunchy toasted nuts and seeds with a Maple Vinaigrette.


Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful











For Maple Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

For Autumn Harvest Salad:

2 large or 3 small delicata squash

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 medium-sized apples

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 lbs. mixed salad greens


  1. Start by roasting the delicata squash. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place squash pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss with avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, until tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside to cool a little.
  2. While squash is roasting, toast pecans and pepitas. Place nuts and seeds in a small frying pan on the stove over medium heat, and toast until just turning color, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer nuts and seeds to a plate to cool.
  3. While squash and toasted nut-seed mixture is cooling, make the vinaigrette. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk, or in a pint-sized Mason jar and shake, to combine. Set aside.
  4. Prepare other salad components. Wash and dry salad greens, and place in a large bowl. Toss greens with 1/3 of the vinaigrette to dress them lightly.
  5. Wash apples, remove cores, and chop into medium-dice. Add diced apples to bowl with salad greens. Scatter dried cranberries on top of greens and apples.
  6. Once nut-seed mixture is fully cooled, and squash is still slightly warm, add half of the nuts and seeds and all of the roasted squash to the rest of the salad ingredients in the bowl. Pour an additional 1/3 of the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss lightly to coat ingredients.
  7. Serve salad with extra toasted nut-seed mixture and vinaigrette on the side (optional - for the people who like extra crunch or extra dressing!). To make this a meal, serve the salad with a protein such as grilled chicken, salmon, or tempeh, and/or with cooked whole grains such as wild rice or barley.
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