Sure, soups are “in trend” for fall but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy seasonal saladsalso!
The balanced and healthy salad is perfect for a weekday lunch, even during the colder months.
I’m a simple girl when it comes to lunch, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want my food to be lacking in texture, taste, or nutrition. Cue this healthy & festive fall salad!
When certain ingredients come into season, I like to get creative with my usual recipes. Most days, I eat a large salad for lunch, so this experiment has made its way into my October-November rotation!
On a bed of vegetables, I added roasted butternut squash, roasted pecans, diced green apples, goat cheese crumbs, and grilled chicken. For kicks, I whipped up an easy maple mustard vinaigrette that takes less than 5 minutes to make.
There are many ingredient swaps for this recipe:
- Instead of butternut squash, add roasted sweet potatoes.
- Swap pecans for toasted walnuts.
- Sliced fresh pears make a fine alternative to green apples.
- Feta or crumbled blue cheese (especially with pears!) can be swapped for goat cheese. However, this recipe is still delicious if you go dairy free!
- Smoked turkey makes a flavorful source of protein, but you can always double up on the beans for vegan or vegetarian eaters!
- The honey will go into the sauce if you don’t have pure maple syrup
I recommend not mixing your dressing into the salad until you are about to eat it, otherwise the leaves and pecans will get soggy. I have made this mistake when I was preparing a salad and it is disgusting! Trust me, it’s worth the extra step (& plate) to store the sauce in its own airtight container.
Also, I live #apartmentlife & don’t have a grill, so I buy my roast chicken in Publix’s deli section. Yep, that’s an upcharge! Next time, I’ll slow-cook the chicken first, shred it, and mix it into the salad to save a few bucks.
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Festive Autumn Salad
- 2 grilled chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup roasted butternut squash, diced
- 1/2-1 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
- 5 ounces greens (I use spring mix)
- 1/3 cup green apple, diced
- 1/4 cup pecans, halved
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Bake the chicken first.
- Pre-heat oven to 425’F. Dice the butternut squash and add your choice of cooking oil (avocado or coconut oil work best). Sprinkle salt to taste. Bake on a single layer baking sheet for 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, set the skillet over medium-low heat. Add a little cooking spray or olive oil. Add pecans and let toast, about 3-5 minutes.
- Gather the remaining salad ingredients.
- In a high-powered food processor or blender, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
- Drizzle over the salad and enjoy!
Explosion! The perfect combo of macro, micro and flavvaaaaa!!!
If you make this salad – or any variation – flaunt your healthy masterpiece on Instagram! Follow & tag us @nutrition.awareness so we can ooh & ahh at your workplace.
Kait Richardson is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, FL. She is a partner in a private practice, Nutrition Awareness, where she helps frustrated yo-yo dieters achieve their health goals using 1:1 nutrition coaching. She is the co-host of the Nutrition Awareness Podcast.