Festive Simple Fall Salad – Nutrition Awareness

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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Grilled chicken on a bed of greens topped with goat cheese, diced apple, pecans and butternut squash.

Festive Autumn Salad

Portion: 2



  • 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


  1. Bake the chicken first.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Gather the remaining salad ingredients.
  5. In a high-powered food processor or blender, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
  6. 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.