Skip to Content

Autumn Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Vinaigrette

Save This Recipe!

Savor the crisp flavors of fall with our autumn harvest salad, featuring a delightful mix of fresh greens, crisp apples, and maple tahini vinaigrette. This vegetarian and gluten-free salad brings together the best of the season in a bowl that’s as satisfying as it is wholesome.

AUTUMN SALAD

I’m so excited to share this new recipe for autumn salad with you, it’s one I’ve been making without a recipe for years but I finally engineered it for the blog!

You’ll love how all the flavors of fall come together in one deliciously wholesome salad that is bursting with flavor and will leave you feeling full and energized for hours.

If you don’t love some of the ingredients, it’s super easy to swap them out! Check out the section below about substitutions so you can craft an autumn salad you’ll love.

WAIT! Don’t lose this post! Save this image on Pinterest

INGREDIENTS IN AUTUMN SALAD

One of my favorite fall salad recipes, this autumn salad is made with simple, real ingredients. Feel free to swap ingredients if there’s something you don’t like (more on that below)

FOR THE SALAD

  • kale, stems removed and chopped
  • roasted sweet potatoes (see below)
  • quinoa
  • canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • apple, cored and sliced thin or diced (I used honeycrisp apples)
  • red onion
  • dried cranberries
  • feta cheese (I love Boar’s Head, which is gluten-free)
  • toasted pecans, roughly chopped

FOR THE MAPLE TAHINI VINAIGRETTE

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • maple syrup, the real kind, not pancake syrup
  • apple cider vinegar
  • tahini
  • onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

  • sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • rosemary
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Looking for more fall recipes? Make it a meal with my Panera Bread 10 Vegetable Soup and Chewy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies!

HOW TO MAKE AUTUMN SALAD

It’s easy to prep the ingredients for this autumn apple salad beforehand for an easy grab-and-go lunch or dinner! Keep prepped ingredients separate and assemble just before serving.

Step 1: Roast Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and chop the sweet potato in 1/2 inch cubes. Toss in oil, sprinkle seasonings over the top and toss to coat.

Bake about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking. Allow to cool before adding to salad.

PRO TIP: Simplify this step by grabbing a bag of frozen, chopped sweet potatoes. You can roast them according to the instructions here or pop them in the microwave according to the package directions, then toss with oil and seasonings.

Step 2: Cook Quinoa

Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse your quinoa thoroughly under warm water until it runs clear.

Combine rinsed quinoa and water in a small saucepan and heat over high heat, uncovered, until it comes to boil.

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook 10-15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.

Cover saucepan with a lid and cook until all the water is absorbed.

Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

PRO TIP: Cooked quinoa freezes well, so I like to make a large batch and freeze in 1/2 cup portions to pull out as needed.

how to make tahini maple vinaigrette

Step 3: Make Salad Dressing

Add all dressing ingredients to a small mason jar, cover tightly with a lid and shake until all ingredients are combined. You can also whisk in a small bowl if that works better.

how to massage kale

Step 4: Massage Kale

Massaging kale might sound a bit odd, but it’s a game-changer for your salad. Kale can be a bit tough and bitter, but giving it a good massage helps break down the fibrous texture and mellows out the flavor.

When you’re ready to assemble the salad, add kale to a large bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of vinaigrette.

Massage the chopped leaves gently between your fingers for about 30 seconds until they soften a bit.

Step 5: Assemble Salad

  1. Place desired amount of kale, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and red onions in a bowl and toss gently.
  2. Top with apples, craisins, feta, and pecans.
  3. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

If you’re serving at a party or gathering where people will be dishing up on their own, serve the vinaigrette on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

SUBSTITUTIONS

One of the things I love most about this easy fall salad is how versatile it is. Consider swapping some of the ingredients for other options that you prefer, or to change it up for the holidays!

One piece of advice: Make sure the flavors you combine meld together well.

Here are a few ideas for how you can customize this autumn salad:

Instead of apples, try…

  • figs
  • pears
  • strawberries
  • blueberries

Instead of Craisins, try…

  • Pomegranate arils
  • slivered grapes

Instead of pecans, try…

  • roasted or candied walnuts
  • slivered or sliced almonds
  • honey roasted sunflower seeds
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Instead of feta cheese, try…

  • creamy goat cheese
  • blue cheese (make sure it’s gluten-free, sometimes it’s not)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instead of quinoa, try…

  • cooked sorghum
  • wild rice

Instead of sweet potatoes, try…

  • roasted butternut squash
  • roasted acorn squash
  • roasted delicata squash

Instead of kale, try…

  • baby spinach
  • arugula
  • spring mix

Instead of tahini, try…

  • dijon mustard

Make a Protein Bowl:

Add shredded rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast to make this a main dish!

autumn harvest salad in a stoneware bowl

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS

Always wait to assemble until just before serving, and try to assembly only what you’re going to consume.

You can store individual ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge for several days (wait to massage the kale until serving)

Store prepared salad in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 24 hours.

MORE HEALTHY RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

Panera Bread 10 Vegetable Soup

Cranberry Kale Salad

Black Bean Brownie Batter

Egg Free Keto Breakfast Ideas

Gluten Free Bran Muffins

Wonder Bread Chaffle Recipe

Grain Free Pumpkin Donuts

Quinoa Chili

Flaxseed Muffins

Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

Chocolate Brownie Protein Balls

Strawberry Lassi

If you’re looking to add more greens to your diet, this Spring Mix salad is a delicious way to do it!

Autumn Harvest Salad Pinterest Image

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I don’t like one of the ingredients, can I swap for something else?

Absolutely! See my list of suggested swaps above for ideas.

Let’s connect! You can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook

We would love to see what you create! Snap a photo and tag @LifeAfterWheat on social media!

AUTUMN SALAD RECIPE

autumn harvest salad drizzled with maple vinaigrette

Autumn Salad (gluten free)

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

A delicious salad packed with fall flavors like tart apples, leafy greens, and crunchy pecans. Drizzled in a sweet and tangy tahini maple vinaigrette, it's the perfect side dish on your holiday table or as a full weeknight meal.

Ingredients

Autumn Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped kale leaves, packed (2-3 leaves)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ⅓ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium apple, cored and sliced thin or diced (I used honeycrisp)
  • Red onion
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup feta cheese (I love Boar’s Head!)
  • ¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped

Autumn Dressing Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil (can also use avocado oil or a blend)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Roast Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potato in 1/2 inch cubes. Toss in oil, sprinkle seasonings over the top and toss to coat.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking. Allow to cool before adding to salad.

PRO TIP: Simplify this step by grabbing a bag of frozen, chopped sweet potatoes. You can roast them according to the instructions here or pop them in the microwave according to the package directions, then toss with oil and seasonings.

Cook Quinoa

  1. Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse your quinoa thoroughly under warm water until it runs clear.
  2. Combine rinsed quinoa and water in a small saucepan and heat over high heat, uncovered, until it comes to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook 10-15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
  4. Cover saucepan with a lid and cook until all the water is absorbed.
  5. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

PRO TIP: Cooked quinoa freezes well, so I like to make a large batch and freeze in 1/2 cup portions to pull out as needed.

Make Tahini Maple Vinaigrette

  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a small mason jar, cover tightly with a lid and shake until all ingredients are combined. You can also whisk in a small bowl if that works better.

Step 4: Massage Kale

  1. Massaging kale might sound a bit odd, but it's a game-changer for your salad. Kale can be a bit tough and bitter, but giving it a good massage helps break down the fibrous texture and mellows out the flavor.
  2. When you're ready to assemble the salad, add kale to a large bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of vinaigrette and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Massage the chopped leaves gently between your fingers for about 30 seconds until they soften a bit.

Step 5: Assemble Salad (just before serving)

  1. Place desired amount of kale, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and red onions in a bowl and toss gently.
  2. Top with apples, Craisins, feta, and pecans.
  3. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

PRO TIP: If you're serving at a party or gathering where people will be dishing up on their own, serve the vinaigrette on the side so the salad doesn't get soggy

Notes

  • Feel free to substitute a similar item for one you don't like. For example, swap pears for apples, baby spinach for kale, or parmesan for feta cheese.
  • Always wait to assemble until just before serving, and try to combine only what you're going to consume.
  • If serving to guests, set out a create-your-own salad bar with the ingredients in separate bowls, or assemble the salad but serve the dressing on the side for guests to drizzle on just before eating.
  • You can store individual ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge for several days (wait to massage the kale until serving)
  • Store prepared salad in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 24 hours.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 347Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 254mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 18gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Save This Recipe!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe