Fall Harvest Salad
This Fall harvest salad is something I’ve been eating on repeat in between all those loaves of pumpkin bread and holiday recipe testing, because if I’m going to make it through the next three months without having to buy pants 3 sizes up, I’m going to need a solid dose of vegetables on the regular. Sorry, the ones laden with delicious bacon, brown sugar, and butter, don’t count. It’s all about balance, and this colorful and vibrant salad is going to be my lifeline through January.
It has a little bit of everything- a mix of tender and bitter greens, roasted delicata squash, crisp Asian pear, jammy figs (which are SO GOOD right now!), beets, tangy pickled red onion, the creamiest dreamiest blue cheese, candied pecans, and a simple blood orange vinaigrette. It’s perfection, and a hearty but light meal, which is exactly what my body needs right now. So let’s celebrate Fall’s magnificent bounty, because the season is ever so fleeting.
Fall Harvest Salad
1 delicata squash
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C raw pecan halves
1/4 C maple syrup
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
2 tsp rosemary, minced
1 C sliced red onion
1/2 C distilled white vinegar
4 C tender lettuces (I used a mix of frisee, and baby red and green lettuce)
1 C radicchio, thinly sliced
1/3 C Asian pear, thinly sliced
5 figs, halved
1/3 C beets, cut into wedges
1/3 C blue cheese, sliced (Point Reyes is the best around if you can find it)
1/4 C blood orange juice
Maldon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice delicata squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and cut into 1/2”-1” slices. Place cut squash on a large baking sheet. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat, and spread out in an even layer. Roast squash in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. The squash should be tender and slightly caramelized on the outside.
Make the pickled onions. In a small bowl combine red onion, vinegar, and 1 tsp kosher salt. Stir until salt has dissolved. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. If making ahead, store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the candied pecans. In a nonstick frying pan combine the pecans, maple syrup, butter, 1/2 tsp salt, chipotle powder, and rosemary. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until the syrup and butter mixture comes to a gentle boil. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until foamy and sticky. Transfer nuts to a parchment lined baking sheet to cool.
Make salad dressing. In a small jar, combine blood orange juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Seal lid tightly and shake until the dressing is emulsified.
Assemble salad in a large bowl. Toss the salad greens and radicchio, and layer 1/2 C roasted delicata squash, 1/4 C pickled red onions, Asian pears, figs, beets, and blue cheese. Top with a handful of candied nuts and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Spoon over dressing and gently toss to combine.
Note: Don’t sweat it if you can’t find blood orange, substitute fresh squeezed orange juice instead. No Asian pears where you are? No problem! A tart crisp apple would make a great swap.