This Fall Harvest Salad with Cranberry Dressing will become your favorite fall and winter salad. A bed of arugula and spinach topped with roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, red onions, pepitas, cucumbers and keto candied pecans. Top it all off with a sugar free cranberry dressing, which creates a beautiful to look at masterpiece that tastes amazing, and is healthy for you too! Perfect for low carb diets this holiday season.
If you need a hearty side dish or salad to serve with a variety of fall or winter dinner recipes, this salad is sure to satisfy. Perfect as show stopping holiday salad, or for any weeknight to level up your cooler weather dinners!
Get into some seasonal produce and wonderful flavors. Feel free to skip to the recipe card if you'd like to get started. If you have questions, make sure to read the whole post as we answer many questions and talk about substitutions. This post is also available as a Google Web Story.
- Stovetop keto candied pecans - Can be made up to 2 weeks in advance (but we can guarantee they won't last that long 😂) and they're so easy! It adds the perfect crunch and sweetness to this salad, you're gonna love these keto candied pecans. If you prefer, you can use regular pecans instead.
- Cranberry salad dressing - Can be made up to 1 week in advance, and it adds such a lovely flavor to this delicious salad. It's also sugar free! Grab the recipe for his cranberry salad dressing.
- Butternut squash - Cut into bite sized chunks to be roasted.
- Seasoning - kosher salt, black pepper, and dried sage
- Unsalted butter - To roast the butternut squash with!
- Arugula and spinach mix
- Persian cucumbers - These baby cucumbers are sweet and tasty, with soft skin that doesn't need to be peeled. Easy peasy!
- Red onion - Cut into very thin strips, and soaked in a bowl of water to cut down the "bite".
- Pepitas - For a lovely fall crunch, added for flavor, texture, and color. It's the perfect crunchy seasonal topping.
- Goat cheese - Crumbled up for a creamy, delicious bite that complements these flavors so well.
How To Make a Harvest Salad:
Step 1: Prepare Your Dressing & Candied Pecans
Step 2: Roast The Butternut Squash
Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Peel and cut up a small to medium sized butternut squash and cut it into bite sized pieces.
Melt butter in a separate bowl, add salt, pepper and dried sage. Mix to combine.
Drizzle butter mixture over butternut squash, and toss with a rubber spatula, then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pieces are golden brown.
Step 3: Toss Part of the Salad
We start by tossing part of the salad (the part that will be on bottom) and then layering on top! This ensures a perfect bite every time, and ensures the salad will be a show stopping beauty.
Step 4: Layer on the Salad Ingredients
Start by adding more greens to the base of the salad, followed by red onions.
Add candied pecans and cucumbers to the salad.
Sprinkle on some pepitas, followed by the roasted butternut squash.
Step 5: Dress the Salad & Serve!
Now, drizzle on your cranberry salad dressing, followed by the goat cheese and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
No, you don't if you don't want to! While we truly LOVE our cranberry dressing and think it complements the salad so well, we do have a couple of other homemade salad dressing recipes that you might like better instead.
This honey lemon vinaigrette is a staple in our house. It's vibrant and zingy, but a little more neutral and less sweet that the cranberry dressing, so it goes well on a variety of salads.
Fan of balsamic flavors? Try this creamy balsamic dressing instead.
Otherwise, you could also dress the salad lightly with extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh lemon juice and some apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, plus a crack of salt and pepper if you're feeling less enthusiastic about making homemade dressing.
Yes, absolutely. To tell you the truth, this recipe was originally developed when cleaning out the fridge with Thanksgiving or Christmas leftovers. I had lots of sides, bits and bobs that happened to work really well together, so the salad was born. With that being said, there's definitely some flexibility.
Try these maple roasted carrots, or air fryer sweet potatoes in place of the squash.
Don't like goat cheese? Try swapping it for feta! You can use crumbled feta cheese if you like, but the kind that comes soaked in brine is hands down your best option.
You can quick pickle your onions to tone down the bite of the red onion flavor.
Add some dried cranberries or cherries for an extra pop of sweetness and flavor.
Sunflower seeds or hemp hearts instead of pepitas work great too!
If you don't have candied pecans leftover (no worries, this is a common occurrence!) just replace with your favorite raw or roasted nut. Our top choices would be walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts. We've made similar salad recipes with our homemade trail mix and loved it.
The key to a delicious Harvest Salad is a variety in flavor, texture and temperature of the ingredients added. There are a few steps involved to make this salad, but we promise, the end result will have you wanting to eat this salad everyday.
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More Recipes To Try:
- Keto Candied Butternut Squash
- Chicken and Butternut Squash Recipe with Parmesan Sauce
- Sirloin Steak Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Roasted Vegetables
Please let us know if you guys give this Harvest Salad recipe a try, and be sure to share with us on Instagram @afullliving so we can share your creations! We hope you enjoy how we combined some of our favorite holiday recipes.
If you love this recipe, please consider sharing it with a friend and also leaving a rating and comment so others can find this recipe. Thank you for your support!
Until next time,
Briana & Chamere
Harvest Salad Recipe with Cranberry Dressing
- 4 servings stovetop low carb candied pecans (about 160 grams )
- 432 grams butternut squash, cut into pieces (roughly 2 cups, about half of a large squash, or 1 medium squash)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- 8 ounces arugula and spinach mix
- 2 whole Persian cucumbers, sliced into rounds
- ½ medium red onion (about 75 grams)
- 1 ounce pepitas (raw or roasted)
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 5 servings cranberry salad dressing (or to taste, about 5 ounces)
Make the Cranberry Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:
- Prepare your sugar free cranberry lemon vinaigrette if you haven’t already. It can be prepared up to a week ahead of time. It comes together in less than 5 minutes in the food processor or blender, but it tastes best if chilled. So make that first, so you can keep it in the fridge while the rest of the salad comes together.
Roast the Butternut Squash:
- First, preheat your oven to 425°F. While your oven is preheating, peel and cut up a small to medium sized butternut squash and cut it into bite sized pieces. Place the squash in a large bowl, then melt your butter and combine it with salt, pepper and dried sage, then drizzle it over the squash. Toss with a rubber spatula, then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pieces are golden brown.
Make the Candied Pecans:
- Next, you will want to prepare your candied pecans, if you haven’t already. You can prepare them up to 10 days ahead of time. They take just 15 minutes to prepare in total, and 10 of those minutes are spent resting. Once they come out of the skillet, set them aside while you put the rest of the salad together.
Put the Harvest Salad together:
- If desired, you can toss part of salad and layer it on the bottom of your salad bowl or serving plate. Then, layer the rest of the ingredients on top. Start with the greens, followed by red onions, candied pecans, cucumbers, pepitas, and butternut squash. Drizzle with dressing, then add goat cheese.
- This salad will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. If anticipating leftovers, SKIP dressing the salad! Dress only when it's time to eat.
- We made our own dressing and candied pecans, and the nutrition facts reflect this. Please be aware that if you alter the ingredients, this will impact the nutrition facts.
- Traditional pecans can be used in place of candied pecans.
- To take the "bite" off of red onions, soak them in a bowl of water, then rinse before serving.
- If preparing ahead of time or you plan to have leftovers, DON'T add the dressing, and instead only add dressing right before serving.