This delicious fall harvest salad recipe features seasonal ingredients like apple, beet and squash and is topped with creamy maple tahini dressing.

Whether you make this for a healthy meal prep, family dinners or bring it along to a holiday gathering, it’s a standout salad that’s sure to be a hit during the fall season or any time of year.

Bowl of kale salad with squash, beets, brussels sprouts, walnuts and pomegranate.

Introduction

This colorful salad features favorite fall ingredients like hearty kale, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, butternut squash, beet and sweet apples. Crunchy pecans or walnuts make a great addition too.

This delicious combination is even better drizzled with the sweet and tangy maple tahini dressing.

For more fall salad recipes, this Wild Rice Salad, Sweetgreen Copycat Harvest Bowl, Vegan Roasted Beet Salad and Roasted Cauliflower Salad are all great choices as well.

Recipe Highlights

  • Vegan.
  • Gluten-free.
  • Perfect Thanksgiving salad.
  • Nutritious.
  • Can be a main course or side dish.
  • Versatile dressing you can use with other dishes.
  • Easy to customize.

Ingredient Notes

Various ingredients for in bowls for making a Fall salad, labelled with text overlay.

Salad Ingredients

  • Squash: Use any variety of squash such as butternut squash or acorn squash. You can use frozen butternut squash as well. Sweet potatoes work well as a substitute.
  • Oil: You’ll need just a little oil of choice to roast the veggies. You can use extra virgin olive oil or any other cooking oil you like.
  • Kale: Any variety of kale works. Lacinato, or Tuscan kale is my preference for salads but any kind works! You can substitute baby spinach for the kale. You do not need to massage spinach if using.
  • Apple: Use crisp apples like pink lady, fuji, granny smith or honeycrisp apple works well but you can use any apple. You may want to leave this off until serving if you’re making the salad in advance.
  • Walnuts: Use plain raw walnuts with no added oil or salt. You can substitute other nuts, or pumpkin or sunflower seeds for nut-free.
  • Cranberries: Use fruit-juice sweetened if you can, otherwise any dried cranberries work. Substitute raisins, dried cherries or chopped dates.
  • Pomegranate: If you’re missing this ingredient, don’t worry too much. Pomegranate seeds are delicious and add yummy flavour and texture but not absolutely necessary!

Dressing Ingredients

  • Tahini: Good tahini (sesame seed paste) is smooth, pale in colour, not overly bitter and has a nearly runny consistency. I like Soom or Arz Fine Foods.
  • Maple Syrup: You can substitute honey or agave syrup.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: White wine vinegar would be a suitable substitute.
  • Garlic: Use raw garlic or substitute 1 tsp garlic powder.

Please note the full ingredient list with amounts is located in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Variations & Additions

  • Sweet & Tart: Cranberry, apple and pomegranate all provide the same sweet, tart flavour to the salad so don’t worry if you’re missing one. Substitutions that work for these ingredients are mandarine segments, raisins or dried cherries.
  • Cheese: Sprinkle the finished salad with tange feta cheese, creamy goat cheese or blue cheese.
  • Nuts & Seeds: Instead of walnuts try almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
  • Add 1-2 cups cooked wild rice or quinoa for a hearty salad.
  • Use any variety of squash or substitute roasted sweet potato for the squash.
  • If you’re missing squash, beet or Brussels sprouts, simply add a bit more of the others to make up the difference. The amounts don’t have to be exact! Red onions also works well as a substitute or addition.
  • Oil-Free Option: Toss vegetables with 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth and a pinch of salt and pepper before roasting. A dash of balsamic vinegar and/or maple syrup is yummy too!
  • Nut-Free Option: Replace walnut with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  • Alternative Dressings: This salad can also be made with Cilantro Tahini Dressing, Miso Tahini Sauce, Dijon Maple Dressing the balsamic vinaigrette from this quinoa kale salad recipe or the apple cider vinaigrette from this butternut squash quinoa salad recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Roast the Brussels sprouts, squash and beets.

Chopped bussels sprouts, beets and squash on a roasting pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut into halves (if very large, cut into quarters).
  • Peel and dice the squash.
  • Peel and dice the beet.
  • Add 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and mix it all up.

Roast the veggies on a large baking sheet in a single layer (you may need two baking sheets) for 30-45 minutes until they’re all fork tender.

Quick Tip: For oil-free roasted vegetables, omit the olive oil and toss on the pan 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth instead!

Step 2. Make the dressing by blending the ingredients until smooth and creamy.

No blender? Grate the garlic so it’s smoother or substitute 1 tsp garlic powder and whisk everything together in a bowl or shake in a mason jar until smooth.

Jar of creamy sauce with a spoon in it.

Step 4. Prepare the kale by washing it well then removing the leaves from the thick stems and finely chopping.

Chopped kale in a bowl

You’ll also need to:

  • dice the apple
  • get the walnuts and cranberries ready
  • prepare the pomegranate arils

Quick Tip: To prepare the pomegranate, cut it in half so you have the top and bottom halves. Hold each half over a bowl and tap around the edges and top with a wooden spoon (don’t be shy). The arils will fall out. Keep squeezing and tapping until they all come out.

You may want to do this in the sink because the juice will spatter a bit!

Assemble the salad starting with a bed of kale then adding the rest of the ingredients and topping with the dressing. You can also just mix everything up in a large serving bowl.

Drizzling a spoon of sauce over a salad with roasted vegetables and kale.

Recipe FAQs

Is this a warm salad or cold salad?

This salad can be served warm or cold. Typically it’s served as a warm salad right after roasting the veggies. Leftover salad can be served cold or gently warmed in the microwave.

Can I make this in advance?

The tahini dressing can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. If it’s too thick after storing, stir in a little water.

The vegetables can be roasted in advance. Let them cool then store in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to prepare the salad.

Can I freeze this salad?

This recipe is not suitable for freezing.

How long do salad leftovers last?

The assembled salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days though I’d recommend leaving the dressing off until just before serving.

Colourful Fall salad with kale, roasted vegetables and tahini sauce on a plate.

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Drizzling a spoon of sauce over a salad with roasted vegetables and kale.

Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 24 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

This vibrant fall harvest salad features the best autumn flavors: squash, apple, kale, brussel sprouts, beets, pomegranate and cranberries. All that topped off with tahini maple dressing? Fall salad perfection.


Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 4 cups halved brussel sprouts
  • 4 cups peeled and diced, butternut or acorn squash
  • 4 small beets, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil for roasting
  • 2 cups tightly packed, finely chopped kale
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils

For the Tahini Maple Dressing

  • 5 tbsp (75 g) tahini
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 46 tbsp water, to reach desired consistency
  • pinch of salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper (you may need two trays).
  2. Cut the ends off the brussels sprouts and cut each in half. If there are any large-sized ones, cut them into quarters. 
  3. There are a few ways you can roast the squash. I like to de-seed it, slice into large chunks then roast and remove the skin and dice after roasting. You can easily peel the skin off after it cools a bit. Alternatively, cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast face down on a pan until you can pierce with a fork. Let cool until you can handle, then remove the skin and dice. And lastly, remove the seeds, peel and dice and roast on the pan with the brussels sprouts. 
  4. For the beets, you can peel, dice and roast with the brussels sprouts and squash. Dice on the smaller side since they take a bit longer to cook then the other vegetables. Alternatively, they can be be cut into chunks and boiled or steamed stovetop until you can easily pierce with a fork. After they’re tender, run under cool water and slice for the salad.
  5. Add all the chopped veggies (if you’re roasting everything) to a large sheet pan in an even layer (you may need 2 pans), add 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until everything is tender. 
  6. Wash the kale and remove the leaves from the thick stems. Finely chop and add to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Blend all the dressing ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
  8. Once the vegetables are roasted, add all ingredients to the bowl with the kale. Top with the dressing and mix well. Serve immediately.

Notes

Oil-Free Option: Toss vegetables with 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth and a pinch of salt and pepper before roasting. A dash of balsamic vinegar and/or maple syrup is yummy too!

Nut-Free Option: Replace walnuts with sunflower seeds or pepitas. Pecans also work, though not nut-free.

Storing: Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Make in Advance: Tahini sauce can be prepared up to 6 days in advance – thin with water if it’s too thick after storing. Vegetables can be roasted up to 4 days in advance. Let cool then store in a sealed container until ready to prepare the salad.


    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
    • Calories: 482
    • Sugar: 38 g
    • Sodium: 100 g
    • Fat: 21 g
    • Carbohydrates: 73 g
    • Fiber: 14 g
    • Protein: 12 g

    Originally published on November 15, 2017. Updated with new photos and text on October 2, 2020.