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Our Fall Harvest Salad combines crisp salad greens with sweet apples, tart dried cranberries, toasted pecans and pepitos, crispy prosciutto, and Gorgonzola cheese, all tossed with a cider maple pomegranate dressing.
Jack and I are still on a salad kick these days – and this Fall Harvest Salad is inspired by a big bowl of honey crisp apples sitting on our table after a trip to the apple orchard last weekend.
We love combining fresh salad greens with fruit. Then adding all kinds of delicious toppings – creamy cheese, crunchy nuts and seeds, salty meats – the options are endless.
Why you’ll love this Fall Harvest Salad
- It’s filling and delicious and loaded with all sorts of ingredients that will make your taste buds sing!
- You can enjoy this salad as a meal – perhaps with some nice, crusty bread on the side, or as a side dish with roasted or grilled meats.
- It’s as pretty to look at as it is satisfying to eat.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Fresh Salad Greens – We used a mix of chopped romaine, Little Leaf greens, and baby arugula in our salad, but any of your favorite salad greens can work in this recipe.
- Honey Crisp Apples – We love the sweet, slightly tart, super crisp texture of honey crisp’s but just about any apple you like can be added to this salad.
- Toasted Pecans – Pecans add a mild flavor and crunch to salads, especially when toasted. Pistachios would be another great option for this salad.
- Raw Pepitas – Also known as no-shell pumpkin seeds, we dry roasted them in a skillet for this recipe, then added a touch of sugar to the pan to add sweetness. They add a nice, sweet crunch to this salad.
- Prosciutto – Buy the imported prosciutto di parma if you can, and ask your deli to slice it very thin. You’ll be crisping it up in a pan before adding to the salad.
- Gorgonzola Cheese – We love the tangy-creamy flavor of Gorgonzola cheese as a contrast to the sweet and salty flavors of this salad. You can also use bleu cheese or Stilton instead, or goat cheese or queso fresco if you don’t like the veined cheeses.
- Dried Cranberries – These add a sweet-tart, chewy texture to your salad. You can swap in raisins or other dried fruits such as dates or apricots.
- Dressing Ingredients – Keeping with the Fall theme, we combined apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and a cranberry pomegranate juice with Dijon mustard, dried herbs, and olive oil to make a zesty homemade salad dressing that perfectly complements the flavors of this salad.
How do I make Fall Harvest Salad?
- Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together and set aside while you prep the rest of the salad. This will give the dried herbs time to rehydrate before serving.
- Toast the pepitas in the same skillet until lightly toasted. Sprinkle some sugar in the pan, stirring constantly until the sugar melts and coats the toasted seeds. Set aside to cool.
- Toast the pecans in a dry, hot skillet until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- Cut each strip of prosciutto into bite-sized pieces, then fry in a hot skillet until crisp. Set aside.
- Half and core each apple, then thinly slice. Place the apples in a bowl of cranberry or pomegranate juice to stop them from turning brown.
- Chop the lettuce (as needed), then combine with other salad greens in a large bowl or on a platter. Toss with a little bit of the prepared salad dressing.
- Assemble the salad by nestling the sliced apples in the greens, then sprinkle pecans and pepitas over the top. Place crispy prosciutto around the salad bowl or platter.
- Crumble the Gorgonzola cheese over the top.
- Serve immediately with more salad dressing on the side.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I make this salad ahead of time? You can mix the salad dressing and prep the individual ingredients ahead of time, but assemble and dress the salad just before eating.
How do I store leftovers? Since dressed salads get soggy, try to only make as much salad as you plan to eat so you don’t have leftovers. If you do have leftovers, store covered in the refrigerator.
You may enjoy these other salad recipes:
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice, or cranberry/pomegranate blend
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dry thyme
¼ teaspoon dry sage
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ cup pecan halves
¼ pound sliced prosciutto, cut into two-inch pieces
¼ cup pomegranate juice
1 large or two small honey crisp apples
2 cups arugula
8 cups mixed greens (we used Little Leaf lettuce and chopped romaine)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper, thyme and sage. While whisking, slowly add olive oil. Set the dressing aside so the dry herbs can rehydrate and flavor the dressing.
In a small saute pan over medium heat, add the pumpkin seeds and toss and cook until toasted and crunchy, about five minutes. Add the sugar and cook until it melts and coats the seeds. Set aside.
In the same pan, toast the pecan halves over medium heat until slightly browned, about five minutes. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan such as a steel skillet, carbon fiber or cast-iron pan, over medium high heat, crisp the prosciutto by placing in the hot pan a few pieces at a time and crisp on both sides, about 1-2 minutes total. Set aside.
Pour a little of the pomegranate juice in a medium bowl. This will be used to stop the cut apples from oxidizing.
Core the apple or apples and cut in half from top to bottom. Immediately place cut down into the juice then back onto your cutting board, cut side down.
With a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice thin slices from one side to the other of each apple half. As each apple half is sliced, place in the juice and drizzle some more juice over the tops as you fan the apples, again to stop them from oxidizing. But, keep the slices together in the shape of the apple half. Remove from the juice and set aside. Discard the juice.
In a large bowl, place arugula and mixed greens and toss with two tablespoons of the dressing, just enough to coat. Pour out onto your serving platter or large bowl and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted pecan halves, crispy prosciutto, sliced apple halves, dried cranberries and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.
Serve with extra dressing on the side.
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