Autumn Harvest Salad with Sweet Dijon Vinaigrette
Fall on a salad plate! An Autumn harvest salad with a sweet dijon vinaigrette thats hearty and filling. Loaded with crisp, sweet apples, cranberries, and pecans. Chicken and eggs pack on the protein so it’s a healthy and filling meal!
I have been itching for a good, hearty autumn salad for weeks now. And my body thanks me for it since i’ve been feeding it this, this and this lately.The idea of chopped chicken, pecans, cranberries, and a sweet dijon vinaigrette has been tormenting me. For weeks this harvest salad has been pushed back again and again. For whatever reason, this little guy just wouldn’t get made!
So (finally!!) today I bring you my new favorite meal – this autumn harvest salad. It’s packed with protein from the eggs and chicken, bursting with flavor from my delicious sweet dijon vinaigrette, loaded with sweet and tart apples, a lot of dried cranberries, and some seriously nutty pecans. This salad will keep you full for hours!
This salad is perfect for a light dinner and even better for weekday lunches. The first time I had a harvest salad, it kept me full for 6 hours while I baked and cooked in the kitchen.
You guys already know too much about my
weekly (excuse me, i’m still in a little bit of denial) daily trips to the grocery store. We’ve talked about how I have to visit a grocery store at least once a day. It’s normal, right? Grocery stores are like the highlight of my day. Can you tell I live on the edge? Some people spend their leisure time shopping for shoes/clothes at the mall (and though I do that too 😉 ), the most fun I have is buying all kinds of chocolates (err.. um… I mean veggies) at the store.
I love going down the aisles at the grocery store where they have all the bulk items. Something about just loading scoops full of goodies and scribbling PLU codes. I went a little bulk-sale happy the other day and came home with a few pounds of cranberries (okay, 4 pounds to be exact). Guess this harvest salad is going to be on my lunch menu for the next few weeks. Not that I mind at all or anything 😉
What I love most about this meal is that there are so many flavors having a party on your plate. And even though this is a ‘lettuce salad’ there are so many other ingredients making this salad packed with both flavor and nutrition.
I used a spring mix and a couple cups full of baby spinach for the base of this salad. Spinach provides the much iron and adds a bit more nutrition than just lettuce. I love spinach because it’s such a versatile ingredient. When i’m not adding it to salads, I love using it for pastas, pesto, and my minestrone soup. Just had that minestrone soup again for dinner last week – it’s so simple and makes tons of leftovers.
A lot of this harvest salad flavor comes from the sweet dijon vinaigrette. It’s a few simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry. I used whole grain dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, a hint of garlic powder, italian seasoning, a few tablespoons of honey and red wine vinegar, and olive oil. You don’t even have to whisk like you do for traditional vinaigrettes. Just toss everything into a mason jar and give it a few good shakes.
This recipe made enough for Anees and I to enjoy for dinner as a main course. For salad sized portions, it could easily feed 4. Or become leftovers for lunch the next day. I make a double batch of the dijon vinaigrette and keep a jar handy in the fridge, the rest is pretty much just assembling the ingredients.
This harvest salad is totally versatile. If you’ve got extra fruits and veggies sitting around in the crisper drawer, just toss them in. I bet onions, grapes, walnuts, and even pepitas are fall ingredients that would take this salad to a new level.
And since it’s all about balance, how about a little of this for dessert? Fall festive and healthy, I like how that worked out! 🙂
For the Salad:
- 4 cups lettuce or spring mix
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast*
- 1 cup fuji apples, chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2/3 cup pecan halves or pieces
For the Sweet Dijon Vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
To make the salad:
- Place the eggs in a saucepan and fill with water until the eggs are completely submerged. Set over high heat. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid. If you're using an electric stove, remove the saucepan from the burner. Leave the eggs covered for 10-11 minutes. Remove eggs from saucepan with slotted soon, tap the eggs gently against the countertop to just crack the shell. Place the eggs in an ice water bath for 2 minutes. Peel and dice.
To make the dijon vinaigrette:
- Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar, screw the lid on tight and give it a few good shakes until the all the ingredients are mixed and the dressing thickens just slightly.
- In a large bowl combine all the salad ingredients listed. Toss in the dressing just before serving.
- Grilled, poached, or rotisserie chicken are all fine for this recipe