This hearty vegetarian salad is filled with all the colours of the coming autumn, and the best seasonal flavours come through in sweet roasted butternut pumpkin, tart cranberries, salty feta, and crunchy pecans. First of all I would like to say thank you to everyone for leaving such kind words on my last post. That’s one of the things I love about blogging. When you expose your innermost feelings, and share your truth, people come out to support you, and raise you up out of your sadness. Thank you all.
For me, autumn is always a time of reflection. I’m an autumn baby, so I think that triggers it too. As the days cool down and the nights grow longer I find myself searching for what I would like to work on while I hibernate over the winter. This year I’m getting back into half marathons again. I’ll be training through the winter for the Brisbane Half Marathon in August. I’m also working on trying out recipes from all the cookbooks I have accumulated over the last year and not had time to dive into – inspiration lies ahead! I’m also drawing inspiration from the bountiful autumn harvest that is showing up at the farmers markets every weekend. Tables are filled with new season butternut squash and myriad varieties of early autumn apples. I love the sweetness this season brings. This salad is a hearty start to new healthy, seasonal recipes that are going to be coming out of the Thoroughly Nourished Life kitchen. I built my Autumn Harvest Salad on a base of chunks of roasted butternut pumpkin and chickpeas with a baby lettuce mix to bring in the greens. You could use kale instead if you love it. Then, for the best part of the salad – the mix ins! Autumn to me means sprinkles of salty feta, a handful of tart-sweet cranberries, roasted pecans for a little crunch factor, and some slices of sweet apple! This is a classic combination because it works so well! Topping off this salad is an easy balsamic and honey dressing. Bring this salad to your next potluck gathering, pack it up in your lunchbox for a healthy meal that will make all of your colleagues jealous, or enjoy it for a light dinner as our nights grow longer. Here’s to a colourful autumn coming our way!
Autumn Harvest Salad
gluten free | vegetarian | serves 3-4
note: if you aren’t serving this immediately reserve the dressing in a container and pour over until you are ready to serve.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 400 gram tin chickpeas
- 1 medium apple
- 8 cups baby lettuce mix (about a 150 gram bag)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- 100 grams feta
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
- Chop butternut squash in half, remove seeds, peel and then chop into cubes about 1 inch / 2 cm cubed. Place on prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until soft in the middle when poked with a fork.
- Once the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas.
- Cut apple into thin slices.
- To prepare the salad place the baby lettuce mix into a large bowl, add the pumpkin, chickpeas, apple slices, and pecan pieces. Crumble feta over the salad.
- Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour dressing over the salad and serve immediately (see note).